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The untold stories of our journey to Butlins

Here is the story of our journey to the magical place that we call "my Butlins" and what wonderful stories to show you all

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Ali Journey

Ali's Story of the journey to Butlins Skegness

When I was a child you could get a coach from my home town (Bury) all the way to Butlins. I wish they still did coaches as I hate getting the train. I would always have barley sugar for the journey. Either as a boiled sweet, or as a spiral stick like a small stick of rock. I think it was meant to help with my travel sickness. I always felt sick on the four hour coach ride. This wasn't helped by the fact that people were allowed to smoke on coaches in those days and both my parents were heavy smokers. Imagine being cooped up on a moving vehicle with no opening windows and every other adult puffing away. No wonder I felt sick! I remember knowing we were not far away when we drove past fields of yellow. We got a coach from Nottingham as an adult one year (due to train issues) and I still got excited seeing the yellow fields. They weren't as close as I remember though! The excitement rose when you got to Skegness itself when you drove past the beach. Approaching Butlins though and seeing the flags that were lined up outside was truly the magic moment. Once you saw those you knew you had arrived for a week of fun. I remember it feeling like hours that Mum queued up for the keys. Dad used to take me to the play area while she did it. I also remember a play area in the main reception. As I got older though I would go off to the fair or the arcades. I don't know how I ever knew where we were staying though in a time without mobile phones! I guess they just knew where to find me! I remember we usually stayed on yellow camp and I recall having to go to the toilet block for a bath or to use the loo. The smell of some pub toilets still takes me back to Butlins - but not in a good way!

Debbie Story

Debbie's Story of the journey to Butlins Minehead.

I can remember getting up at the crack of dawn to miss all of the traffic. It was hundreds of miles. I used to get really travel sick and can remember hating my dad as he wouldn’t let me open the windows. I couldn’t sleep. My sister would sit behind my dad with her feet up on the back of his seat. We used to have luggage in the footwell. I can remember the frequent stops and the dreaded spaghetti junction. Then once we got on the m5 who could see the first sign for Butlin’s. Miss those days xx

Daves Journey

Dave's journey to Butlins Minehead

I remember waking up and dad going to get the car, he would leave mum to do the packing while he washed it. Best off out of her way i expect 😁. We would finally get the car loaded with luggage, mum, dad, me and my sister's. It is a 110 mile journey so god knows what state my parents minds were in by the time we got there. Plenty of in car games and songs. We would stop at a pub called the Apple Tree near Glastonbury for a break before heading on to Minehead. Bridgewater had the smell of the cellophane factory yuk, then later the 2 radio masts meant we were getting close. Next was the first sightings of the chairlifts. Long journey in the Ford Consul MK2 and later a MK3 zephyr 4, but some of the best days of my life. I'd make a B line for the chairlifts then Monorail pretty much as soon as we got there lol.

Tony Story
Tony's journey to Butlins Minehead

My journey started with a interview in Dublin, they wanted staff for the new Irish bar. I  went home that day then had to travel up to the ferry terminal for the trip over only thing they sent us to the wrong one we ended up on the Stena truck ferry as it sailed out we got battered by high seas eventually got there and it was another 5 to 7 hours on a coach we got in to Minehead around 12 that night fair play to Butlins they put on tea coffee and sandwiches plus a few beers thrown in as well kyron Jessup was cm then it was a long day and I was knackered then .that was in 96.

Jim's Story

Jim's Journey to Butlins Minehead

We started to go to Butlins in 1975, we never really went on holidays before my dad did not really like to stay anywhere until we went to Skegness he loved it there.We used to get a coach from Barnet Hill and about 4 hours later we were there. We used to stay in the flatlets. I remember one year on the Friday before we were dueto leave my sister fell and badly sprained her ankle leaving her on crutchesand I remember her having to go and see the camp doctor

Joanne Story

Joanne's Journey to Butlins Bognor Regis

Leaving lowestoft about 6 in the morning arriving in Bognor about 9.30 am first visit was 1987 I think around 89 we started going on the coach mum use too get vouchers from the sun paper it was a long day x

Wonderwest World Bus

James S (A member of this website, click on his name to see his photos) Shared his story of the Journey to Butlins Wonderwest World on the bus shown above (click on the photo to see other photos)

Was on those buses many a time. Missing speeding up through the country road, on the front seat at the top. Uncut tree branches crashing off the front and sides of the bus. Seeing the sea on the right hand side, looking out for signs of the world of wonder that awaited ahead. Is that a chairlift pylon through those trees? Oh look the row of holiday world flags. The bus slows down, indicating to turn right. 2 big welcome to Wonderwest world signs tell me I’m here. Some red coats waving at the gate. Someone on a Butlins rain jacket jumps on the bus and quickly checks everyone has a pass to be on camp. Day visitors told to come off the bus and buy their tickets at the little cabin on the left. Finally, the barrier lifts and the bus proceeds down that hill, daffodils all waving in the breeze, welcoming us.

We turn the bend and we are here right in the heart of holiday heaven. On the left hand side we pass the bookmakers and Busbys teen club. On the right a small white building housing security and first aid. On the right a big hill with caravans on it and the chairlift pylons stretching up the hill. The excitement watching the chairlifts going over head. Buffalo Billy’s to the left hand side. We slowly turn the next bend with the massive Wondersplash ahead, with its flumes peaking out at the back cutting into the hillside. Can’t wait to have a shot. I can see Parade gift shop and the undercover glass pavilion (a tester for the skyline I believe). Oh there is the Piazza food court. I can smell the burgers as we pass. Wondersplash on the right and the old amusements in the old indoor pool. To the left the 2 storey 1960s building, showboat upstairs and downstairs lots of doors with exciting names on them such as Surf club, glen eagles, touchdown, glenshee etc all leading into different dining rooms. The bus makes its way into the massive car park and pulls up beside the massive reception building with its snooker and games rooms upstairs.

The bus stops and excited children all get off running ahead of their parents into the exciting world of freedom and wonder that awaits ahead. I look down toward the sea. Ahead rows and rows of 2 storey chalets reaching down the slight hill towards the beach and fairground. I can see the top of the looping star roller coaster looming over the chalets and hear it’s roars as it flies down from the starting hill into the upside down loop. Slightly to the right I see some posh looking single storey bungalow chalet rows and further to the right the posh county suites of the 1989 Burns Village apartments. One day I will be able to afford to stay there. Turning the corner at reception I stop and look along the main avenue ahead of me. To the left the door to the games hall, every days supermarket, photo call photo shop. To the right ends of chalet rows as far as the eye can see. Further to the left I can see the boulevard shops - tartan treasures, jokers wild, the holiday booking shop, boulevard news, captains table restaurant. After a gap I can see the piazza again with the cable cars going over the top like space age cars in the sky.

Straight ahead at the end of the avenue that 1960s 2 storey building of magic. Castaways (old beachcomber) on the ground floor with Sweeny Todd’s restaurant. Upstairs the magical wizzy’s world inside harlequins show bar ( the old Stuart ballroom). I can see the Wonderwest express road train parked up awaiting its next load of passengers. I know that down to the right I will be able to walk down past the chair lift and play crazy golf, go on ghost train, have a shot on the roller rink, go karts, bmx bikes, bumper boats, trampolines, play area. I will see the little white church underneath the heads of AYR as I make my way down towards the looping star and the big free funfair.Thanks for sharing this photo. It’s amazing how a photo of a bus brings back so many memories. Shame now it has all been replaced with a field of caravans, but hey, that’s progress apparently.

Minehead Butlins

Steve B, a member of Celebrating Butlins with memories, photos and collections  Shared his story of the Journey to Butlins Minehead

I have fantastic.memories of Butlins in the 70's. Dozing in the back of my dad's contina on the long drive from Manchester to Minehead over night, listening to the am radio fading in and out under the bridge. The excitement of arriving and opening the chalet.  The pool with the windows to the ballroom, the snooker club, the boating lake, the train, the chair planes.  I will always love Bullins and the memories gained, carried on the reading by taking my son, who now also loves Butlins.

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