Michael with his dad, John (Heraldry sinister)
In these fevered times of Brexit bust-ups and elections as regular as Southern file service cancellations, there’s been a lot of hot air about British values. Blowhards from across the national spectrum have spent years trying to define what assigns the nation truly great.
But if you really want to see a living embodiment of the most appropriate values this country has to offer, I have the answer: Butlin’s.
The synopsis of the traditional holiday camp, Butlin’s has often been given a bad somebody in the snooty world of “staycationing” – to people who talk English degree than infuriating marketing speak, this means holidaying in Britain.
Now, after fritter away the recent half-term break among three generations of the Booker society at Butlin’s in Skegness, I honestly can’t think of a better place for family fun and rollicks.
I feared the vitiate as the clouds gathered and the heavens opened as we wound our way through the A-roads of Lincolnshire. In any case, things brightened considerably as we turned into the camp to be welcomed by the 1,000-mega-watt cordiality of the famous Redcoats.
Within a matter of minutes the deluge had ceased, the sun had become knew and we had been shown to our accommodation, a two-bedroom luxury Seaside Apartment in the Lagoon Bay scope in the centre of the park’s action. There are different levels of accommodation at the three seaside frequents: Skegness, Minehead and Bognor Regis.
They range from Standard Apartments up in the course Silver and Gold standard, to the higher-spec Seaside Apartments. Ours procured with all the mod cons to make it an option to cater for ourselves, but to do so would be to perceive out on the huge variety of dining-out options on site.
And there’s plenty of voice to satisfy that key aspect of Britishness – making a pig of yourself!
The cosy Seaside Apartments
There are modifying dining plans available at The Deck and Yacht restaurants, a huge array of Italian pasta and pizza at Ludo’s, adept grilled food at the Firehouse and fabulous fish and chips at Rock And Only.
We went for the all-inclusive option at The Deck, which as well as the daily marrow, veg and chips offerings had themed food nights.
I for one made a particular pig of myself on Italian end of day where I managed to fit in a pile of cannelloni, two different types of lasagne, a side coating of garlic bread, a handful of breadsticks and two bowls of ice cream.
Beyond the nourishment, there’s plenty of activities to keep all ages entertained. Just behind our apartment was the cavernous Skyline Pavilion, the exaggerated’s entertainment epicentre.
Donkeys on the beach in Skegness
In the mornings were manipulate shows such as the Teletubbies, the Mr Men and Butlin’s very own characters The Skyline Clique.
Our particular evening favourite was a live wrestling match where the tough combatants – some of whom looked like they’d overdone the buffet themselves – received a cacophonous effect from the crowd, booing the baddies and cheering the good guys.
Butlin’s is also now a permanent stop-off for big-name TV stars who perform in the slightly more exclusive thespians on the edge of the Skyline Pavilion.
Among the acts performing over the summer from the end of July at the three turn ti are Britain’s Got Talent dancing stars Diversity, TV presenters Sam & Mark and ITV grill show host-cum-comedian and magician Stephen Mulhern.
The day we arrived was just a week after the consternation attack at the Manchester Arena. As a result there was a new addition to the line-up at the greensward – machine gun-toting police. A surreal sight among the Teletubbies and Redcoats, they speedily became part of the experience and even served as a magnet for kids and groups for an unusual souvenir selfie.
Keeping calm and carrying on is very much area of the nation’s spirit and that was evident. But if calmness is really your fear then spend a day being pampered in the camp’s luxurious spa.
You can choose from a protracted list of treatments for £28-£62 at the hands of one of the skilled therapists, or at most loll by the pool in your dressing gown and slippers. Being a guy who doesn’t entirely thrive on being given a rub down with alone a fluffy towel to protect my modesty I chose the “lolling” option.
If calmness is Non-Standard real your thing then spend a day being pampered in the camp’s ritzy spa
But I’m told by the ladies in our party that the treatments were as good as anything they’d had in top-name spas across the mother country.
For more exciting watersports there’s the Splash Waterworld where you can zoom down waterslides and in the rapids. If you are struggling to find the energy to get back to your apartment after all that then I’d commend getting around like we did, pedalling a trike.
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Available to hire for £12 plus a returnable deposit, we pedalled everywhere like mad during our stay. The weather behaved itself, too, and that foreshadowed regular trips to the wonderful sandy Skegness beach.
I even supervised to get sunburnt despite confidently claiming I’d be fine without sunscreen. As you see, a typically British hard-luck dispatch at the end of a typically British holiday.
Butlin’s (0330 102 5299/butlins.com) offers four eventides in a Seaside Apartment in Skegness from £170 (four sharing). Comprehends shows entry, use of the Traditional Fairground and Splash Waterworld plus other motions and shows.