Holiday park’s special breaks for toddlers and young children are tots amazeballs

I have two vivid memories of childhood trips to Butlins1 in the late 1970s. In Clacton, the fried eggs were so rubbery they could have been a dog s toy. And in Bognor Regis I cried when I didn t win the fancy dress competition (it was clearly rigged). So even though I ve read all about the swish new 16million chalet development at Minehead complete with kids meals by children s uber-chef Annabel Karme I m still in need of some convincing when we arrive. We re here for a Just For Tots break, which has everything from entertainment and activities to mealtimes aimed at toddlers.2

And the new chalets in the West Lakes Village have been designed after consultation with Mumsnet users to make sure they re as child-friendly as possible.

<b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday Park's Special Breaks For Toddlers And Young Children Are Tots Amazeballs View: The new chalets at Butlins Minehead

Set around landscaped lakes, with geese and rabbits roaming about, they re also bright, spacious and stylish, with fully-equipped kitchens, a large screen TV and DVD player in the open-plan lounge, and bathrooms that wouldn t look out of place in a boutique hotel. Our two-year-old, Maia, couldn t care less about any of that (apart from the geese and rabbits), but it makes for a relaxing haven after a day spent running around after her. The rest of the resort follows the tried and tested Butlins formula, from the Skyline Pavilion, the giant big top-style marquee at the heart of the camp, to the free fairground.

And with shows and activities scheduled from first thing right through to the toddler disco at bedtime, we had no problem keeping Maia entertained. Highlights were an amusing Thomas The Tank Engine show, Custard the tale of a young baker with a dastardly boyfriend who s only interested in her secret custard recipe, and a talking dog. It s better than it sounds.

The other main highlight for Maia was the fairground. She was just over the height limit to be able to go on all of
the rides with an adult, but there is another indoor fairground suitable for smaller children. Maia would happily have spent the entire five days running around the resort, but we were eager to expand our horizons.

<b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday Park's Special Breaks For Toddlers And Young Children Are Tots Amazeballs Ride on: The funfair

Minehead, with its big sandy beach, is just a couple of minutes walk away. There s not a huge amount to see in the town, but the station is home to the glorious West Somerset Railway, with beautifully-restored steam trains running on a heritage line across the Quantock hills. Staffed by volunteers, the stations are like a step back in time, complete with period signs and ads, including a vintage Daily Mirror poster.

We took two trips. The first, a short hop to Watchet for excellent fish and chips and a pint in the Bell Inn, where staff and locals were equally friendly. The view over Watchet harbour is said to have inspired the Rime of The Ancient Mariner because poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge stayed at the pub with friend William Wordsworth in 1797. If history is your thing, then make sure to leave time to visit the compact but packed Market House museum, where the curator made Maia s day by letting her sound a deafening ship s bell.

<b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday Park's Special Breaks For Toddlers And Young Children Are Tots Amazeballs Family fun: Shiraz and Maia

On another day, we took a trip to the end of the line at Bishop Lydeard, before heading to the medieval village of Dunster on the way back to Minehead. With its castle and picture postcard high street, it attracts tourists by the coach load in summer but we only had time for a late lunch at the 15th-century Luttrell Arms. It exudes hushed luxury country house hotel vibes, and is the sort of place you d expect to turn away a potentially shouty toddler but they couldn t have been more welcoming, finding us a prime spot in the bar with plenty of pushchair space. The food was excellent too.

<b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday Park's Special Breaks For Toddlers And Young Children Are Tots Amazeballs History: Dunster Castle

It was our last day, so we made sure we got back to camp in plenty of time for a last spin round the fairground and the toddler disco. Butlins have nailed what families want with their new chalets, and kids will love the entertainment on offer. It s good value too, especially compared with Center Parcs.

But, was it all enough to banish my 70s memories? Absolutely. Although I m still bitter about that fancy dress contest

Get there

Butlins has 22 Just for Tots breaks at its three resorts in Bognor Regis, Minehead and Skegness in 2016.

Prices start at 54pp, based upon 4 sharing silver self-catering accommodation.

Butlins is within walking distance of Minehead town centre.

Taunton railway station is about 24 miles away with regular bus services.

Tourist info:

Best time to go: Big fun for little ones any time


  1. ^ Butlins (
  2. ^ aimed at toddlers. (
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