Reviewed by Vicky Hall-Newman
Since the 1930’s Butlin’s have been giving us great holidays in the UK for families, but did you know they also have adult only weekends? The Butlin’s Live Music Weekends are full of non-stop fun all weekend, because you can party until your heart is content! I was booked on to the Soul Weekender that ran from 6 March until 9 March and from the moment you arrive there you know you’re amongst friends. It doesn’t matter what you do in life, as everyone has come for the same reason, to forget themselves for a few days and let your hair down.
We arrived at the Bognor Regis Butlin’s resort and checked in to the apartment. Checking in was easy as we had our own little check in reception for the Gold accommodation that we were in. We were given wrist bands to wear, this ensured we got entry to the clubs throughout the stay and it also had the phone number for security and housekeeping on it, so we always had resort phone numbers with us in case of emergencies. It was a short walk to the apartment and luggage trolleys are provided to put all your suitcases on.
The apartments have all been refurbished over the winter and a lot of exterior work had been done, meaning some of the accommodations now have balconies too. The apartment was very clean and fresh and newly decorated, we had a 2 bedroom apartment in Catamaran Drive and it comes with a kitchen too for you to cook your own meals, if you wish. You can also take the option to pay extra and get your meals included (which we had). The premium dining experience is like something I have never seen before. It is a buffet and you can choose a 3 course meal or you can simply choose a main meal from one of the many options.
After dinner there is plenty of time to go and get ready for the night to come, many people dress up and there is a friendly rivalry over who has the best, funniest or biggest costume. And then everyone goes off to watch the live music. As we were there for a Soul Weekend there were many tribute bands like Soul Satisfaction as The Four Tops and Rats In The Kitchen as UB40 as well as bands like Jimmy James and the Vagabonds, Eddie Holman and Clem Curtis and the Foundations. You have the choice of listening to live bands in Centrestage or Reds. Both clubs are right next to each other so it’s easy to go (or stumble) from one to another.
The soul weekend bought out many fans and the music is easy to dance to. The drinks flow and you meet new people every night. The stages are easy to see and for those sitting at tables at the back of the room, there are TV screens to watch the show on too. There are 2 bars in each of the clubs, so you never really have to queue for a drink; the drinks are served in plastic glasses so there is no worry about them smashing on the floor if you drop it. At 11pm Jaks nightclub opens and you can party there until the real early hours of the morning. They don’t have live music, but instead play alternative music all night long. There is music through the day for you if you want to go to it too, Bar Rosso in the Pavillion is open and there was music from early afternoon. It’s a great place for people to meet up and chat whilst enjoying a drink. For the sports fans, there is Hotshots Bar, where you can watch sporting fixtures over the weekend.
There are plenty of different places to eat on the resort, you can choose from Turners Restaurant for hearty British meals, The Diner for burgers and hotdogs, The Beachcomber Inn for traditional pub food, Papa John’s for Pizza/Italian and they even offer a free delivery service to your chalet. Perfect for nursing a hangover! Burger King offering you fast food, especially handy on your way back to the apartment after a night of dancing. Once again there is also the dining option for you which offers a selection of meals, these need to be booked in advance.
In the daytime, if the weather is good, then the fair will open for a few hours a day and we all love going to the fair! There are Go-Karts for £5 a go and there is adventure golf, so there are plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy through the day time as well as other activities that you can book in advance. We took Precise Target Shooting lessons and learnt how to shoot an air rifle with Richie, the instructor. We also took archery lessons with Richie. He was very patient with us beginners and he had the funniest sense of humour. These lessons are a bargain at £5 each and I would really recommend them. I actually surprised myself at how I hit the bullseye!
You also have some great indoor activities through the day like the amusement arcades, the swimming pool, The Ocean Spa (situated in the Ocean hotel), ten pin bowling and pool. So you can never say you’re bored at Butlin’s.
Butlin’s offer many Live Music Weekends over the year from Ultimate 80s, Madness, Disco Inferno, Soul Weekenders and so many more. There are weekends for people with all music tastes. They are easy to book by going to www.bigweekends.com and all you need to do is choose which weekend you want to book, which resort you would like to stay at (Bognor, Skegness or Minehead) and then you choose your accommodation (ranging from budget to luxury as well as a choice of hotels). You can choose whether to add the food package when you book or have it added at a later date. The weekends vary in price but in my opinion, they are the best value as you get accommodation and live music for 3 nights over the weekend. Prices can start as low as £45pp for a weekend (price for 50s and 60s Rock and Roll experience at Skegness) or if you fancy experiencing the Soul Weekender yourself you could go to the event in Minehead on 15 May 2015 where it can cost you as little as £64 for 3 nights of pure partying.
For more information or to book your music weekend visit www.bigweekends.com.