On day 4 we decided the weather looked alright again and so decided to head out for the day to Fantasy Island which I was keen to go to as I loved it as a child.
We got ready, threw on our shorts for a sunny day and headed for breakfast whilst we decided how we would get there. After the bus issues the day before – we decided to drive.
We drove to Fantasy Island which was around 5 minutes away from Butlins and I felt a huge wave of nostalgia hit me. Even though it had gotten so much bigger in size and had tons more shops and cafes, so much of it was the same and I instantly recognised some of the rides as ones from my childhood. They still had the log flume I loved, the spinning ride my brother one fell out of, the magic carpet ride I used to go on with my dad and the indoor flume which stained mine and my cousins matching white trousers. Some rides, such as the indoor rollercoaster which seemed so big and fast when I was younger now seemed so tiny. It was at this moment that I realised I had now taken the place of my parents and was actually the adult – what a scary feeling!
We weren’t that bothered about going on the actual rides, and I was quite sore from pushing the pram which I grew to hate over the holiday so we didn’t go around all the shops and stalls – there were thousands there! We did pick up some good items though, such as wax tarts for our candle burner and most importantly – we found Eleanor the perfect Christening gown. My mum had wanted to go shopping for it with me and I’m sad that we didn’t get to have that experience but the second I saw the dress in the window I knew it was everything I was looking for. My mum really wanted to buy her dress so I called her and explained and she was happy to still buy the dress.Thankfully she loved it as much as I do when she saw it.
After a good look around, a few games in the amusements (I won a teddy on hook a duck!) and our dress purchase, it was time to feed Eleanor and so we popped into a diner where we decided to grab a dessert whilst we fed her. Adam settled on a jumbo ice cream (not realising the sheer size of it at the time) and as what I wanted was sold out I decided I’d just have a few spoons of his. Well I’m glad we shared because it was absolutely huge! It had numerous different flavours of ice cream, cream, sauce, wafers, flakes and even spiral wafers – Adam was sad he had to share.
After a slow walk back to the car we headed back to the site and back to our room to pick up swimming costumes. We headed to splash which was pretty quiet and had our last go in the swimming pools. We went on our favourite lazy river and found the wave pool for the first time which was fun and which Eleanor really enjoyed.
We went for dinner a little earlier than we were used to as we were hoping to head to the Aladdin Rocks show afterward which we heard would be busy. Busy was an understatement! We only JUST got in and there was no tables so I asked people for spare chairs so we could at least sit! The show was amazing and had just enough adventure and sparkle for the kids mixed with enough smutty jokes and puns for the parents. After the show we had our final few games in the arcades and headed back to make sure we were all set for the morning (Adam had already packed most of the clothes whilst me and Eleanor had an afternoon nap) so there wasn’t much to do. We’re the kinds of people who pack as we go so we don’t have loads to do at checking out time – that way we can be relaxed and we don’t leave stuff.
On the Friday we woke at our usual time and got little bear sorted with her morning bottle whilst we pottered around. We got ourselves dressed and started filling the car so we could leave after breakfast so we would hit her naptime as we were driving. We had our last breakfast and walk around the complex and even looked at prices for next year – I think we’d stay in an apartment next time for more space and so we had place to have drinks/food in the room.
Leaving Butlins was sad. That place holds so many precious childhood memories for me – it’s almost like a little piece of me is there. Butlins is where my family was happiest, and where me and cousins bonded and grew up together and where I started to hate UB40 (after dad continuously played it on a loop driving there/back. My parents have broken up now and so it was strange for me to go back to a place where we were such a “together” unit and such a typical family. I also have a grandad and another family member who I have so many fond memories of at Butlins.
As I walked around the park it was so bittersweet to remember the happy times, the people who we had loved and lost and the old memories following me around and mixing with the new memories I was making with my child. I was surreal to think of her taking it in for the first time as I had once taken in the excitement for the first time, but even more surreal that I wasn’t 5 years old anymore, I was 25 years old and the tiny child I had been pushing around all week was my own.
I definitely want to come back to Butlins and keep making memories with my family. For value for money, fun and entertainment I really rate Butlins. There’s always something going on for people of all ages and the staff are so kind and helpful and really make your trip worthwhile. I can’t wait to return.
Here’s to making memories.
& Eleanor x