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Did you go to a Butlins or Pontins holiday camp ?

(42 Posts)
Floradora9 Fri 01-Jul-22 15:54:46

I have been reading Mervyn Bragg's autobiography " Back in The Day " and he tells how he and his mum would go to Butlins in Ayr . When they visited he just loved it the whole bundle of competitions , mass singing the shows at night . We took our children to that camp plus Pontins in Blackpool and Southport and we all enjoyed it . I think my most abiding memories are of the cheer that went up when one of the servers dropped a plate. They carried things like big cake racks stacked with full plates. There was no choice of food but we ate it . On arriving at one chalet we discovered that a light bulb was blown . We told the office and when we returned to our chalet there was a large dirty footpring on a bed where someone had stood to replace the light bulb. We demanded a new sheet . We arranged swimming lessons for my DS and at the end of the week he still could not swim but his little sister could. Our next door neighbours took the competition to heart and took fancy dress costumes with them . They also took their little girl's music for the talent competition and someone stole it . We never left our children alone in the chalets despite there being patrols to keep an eye on them, " baby crying in challet 33 " would come over the tannoy in the theatre. The fact that we did not leave them meant that our evening's entertainment was curtailed because they wanted to go to bed. They were happy days .

halfpint1 Fri 01-Jul-22 17:38:26

Nope never went. My parents remained faithfull to
Blackpool and the lights and the ballroom dancing.
That was what the 'holiday money' was saved for.
Summer holidays were at my Gran's round the corner
and day trips to Scarborough.

Shandy57 Fri 01-Jul-22 17:42:39

My husband worked for Courage in London, and Butlins invited him and his team for a free weekend. We went with three of his team with their wives, unfortunately I've no memory of which one we went to. Fantastic for children, I remember the camel racing game!

Ashcombe Fri 01-Jul-22 17:45:30

In 1967, when I was 17, four of us from school went on holiday to Butlin's in Minehead and had a whale of a time! We met a group of four lads from St. Austell with whom we spent most evenings.

About 10 years later a teaching colleague showed me photos of her friend's wedding. The groom was the chap I'd dated on that holiday! Small world!

Shinamae Fri 01-Jul-22 17:51:15

In the 70s I worked at Butlins, 1972 I was a Redcoat at Butlins Filey,1975 I worked in minehead and 76 I worked in Pwhelli…. Had a fantastic time….(I remember drinking copious amounts of snakebite in the staff bar!!)… Oh yes my final season at Butlins was 77 the year Elvis died and that too was at Minehead..

Calendargirl Fri 01-Jul-22 17:59:39

Went with a girlfriend when I was 17.

Came 3rd in the Holiday Princess contest! Wore a ghastly burnt orange towelling bikini that didn’t fit very well over my flat chest.

We both ‘got off’ with lads who worked there, I was quite innocent and didn’t allow much hanky panky, thought he would dump me, but didn’t.

He even wrote to me after the holiday, he had beautiful handwriting, but I didn’t reply.

Very occasionally, wonder what happened to him.

Grandma70s Fri 01-Jul-22 19:05:58

My parents would never have gone to a holiday camp, but when I was in my late teens I went with a friend to one in Skerries (near Dublin) in Ireland. It was called Red Island, and I see it was closed in the late 1970s. We had a great time, not least because we were by far the youngest people there. The male members of staff made a great fuss of us. Lots of flirting, but nothing serious. The food was marvellous. We flew home - our first ever trip on a plane. This was in 1959.

Dottydots Fri 01-Jul-22 19:13:09

We took our two boys to Butlins. My husband won the Hairy Legs competition. His legs looked awful really but they did s good job of keeping my legs warm at night until we divorced.

Purpledaffodil Fri 01-Jul-22 19:22:55

Never went as a child, too expensive! In the 80s eldest son won a day trip to Butlins Bognor in an Abbey National competition. DH and I were so grateful he didn’t win a week but the children enjoyed it.
Used to go to Warners though in their opening up for the season cheap prices. Fell in Easter holidays and a bargain with indoor swimming pool and Evening entertainment which DD insisted we went to. But happy memories of the days though ?

henetha Fri 01-Jul-22 19:27:24

My first Butlin's holiday was with a school friend when I was 17, in Clacton. We had a lovely little wooden chalet, and a fantastic time.
Later, when my children were about 9 or 10, we went to Butlin's at Minehead and the kids loved it.
So I have happy memories of Butlin's.

cornergran Fri 01-Jul-22 19:32:55

Twice as a teenager. The first time my friend and I had one chalet and my parents another. The next year we were allowed to be there on our own, well sort of, my parents were in a different holiday camp just along the road and checked in us daily grin. We felt really grown up and had a wonderful time. My friend has dementia now, I recently sent her a photo taken on that holiday which she was able to recall perfectly with a big smile.

We took our two to Butlins when they were about 6 and 8. They loved it, I remember it being jolly hard work keeping up with their enthusiasm to have a go at everything. They weren’t left to the mercies of the chalet patrol, I’d have been far too worried about them.

sodapop Fri 01-Jul-22 19:37:52

We went to Butlins in Minehead. Had to be towed in by the AA as our car broke down on the way. As we drove in I saw mattresses left outside to dry !! The AA man must have seen the expression on my face and said "I didn't think you would like it here" Luckily our accommodation was brand new, never been used. The holiday was enjoyable after a bad start, plenty of things to do on site until the car was repaired.

MissAdventure Fri 01-Jul-22 19:43:53

Our accommodation was absolutely spotless.
I was surprised at how lovely it was.
Snowy white sheets and bedding, too.
I think they must have upped their game.

Sofa Fri 01-Jul-22 19:58:12

I went once to Butlins as a child and loved it and spent 3 summers at Pontins when a student as a waitress.

Shelflife Fri 01-Jul-22 20:18:50

Floradora9 ,you have brought back memories. I never had a holiday at Butlins but worked one summer there as a nursery nurse. I was aged 19 ,
I had to use a bicycle and ride round a camp at night , it was dark and I must have been very vulnerable riding round between 7pm and midnight!!! In a nurses uniform. It was a lonely 5 hours! It took ages to do one circuit of the camp ,so you were very wise to stay in your chalet at night. I was not allowed into chalets but if I heard a child cry I had to cycle to a control room and report it- no radios I could use. Could have been half an hour or more before parents received the message , a horrifying thought ! One evening I heard a child call for help , I dismounted and went to the door , a child told me his baby brother had fallen through his cot. I disobeyed orders and persuaded the child to open the door. To my horror the base of the cot had slipped and the baby was stuck half on the floor and screaming!! I lifted the child laid him safely on the floor , secured the cot with a dressing gown belt and put the child back in his cot , reassured the eldest child that Mummy and Daddy would be back soon , put him into his bed , locked the chalet door and peddled as fast as I could to the control room to get the message out. It does' nt bear thinking about in todays health and safety culture. It was dangerous for the children and for the nursery nurses cycling alone round a dimly lit holiday camp. It was an experience I have never forgotten!!!

Floradora9 Fri 01-Jul-22 21:11:35

I had quite forgotten until I read this thread this evening . My mother and her sister , both retired nurses , decided to have a week in Butlins at Ayr. They were sitting in one of the bars one night when I young man came up to their table and said to my mum " I know you , you are nitty Nora " . she had been his school nurse.

Mallin Sun 14-Aug-22 15:10:31

My kids were forever on holiday as I was the organiser of a local group and got holiday free for taking over a certain number of people. They remember with great affection both Butlin’s and Pontins.
However, one recently took her 2 yr old granddaughter to Pontins at Brean Sands. It was terrible. The chalet was so filthy that when it was inspected the whole of the bedding had to be binned. The lavatory was disgustingly filthy, with even the basin cracked and the cooker and microwave still held stale food. The manager claimed it was due to temporary cleaning staff but as most of the so called advertised attractions were closed, it was just a dreary empty dirty place during the day and filled with drunks fighting in the evenings. She couldn’t get away quick enough. So for those wishing to relive childhood holidays, please, please read comments of people who have recently visit the venue. Pontins at Brean Sands would be closed down should anyone from the local Environmental Health Office make an unannounced visit. It will probably be closed down soon anyway.