The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Sarah Tetteh Headshot

Butlins to Berlin: A Glimpse at the Future of Affordable Family Entertainment and Travel‏

Posted: Updated:

I have to admit it - I've been a bit of a holiday snob. Up until having a baby.

Somehow sunning yourself on Miami beach doesn't sound as appealing with a sick cloth draped over your shoulder while burping your baby and mourning over the loss of your bikini bod.

Butlins in Bognor Regis I have to say kept us on our toes and our little man was skipping his naps to get in as much as possible of the entertainment.

With family budgets not being what they were, less people are going abroad and are now enjoying a holiday in the UK.

So here's my experience of a couple of the UK &Europe's family beauty spots this summer.

Whatever happened to the Redcoats of old? They got a makeover from Redcoats to Rastas during the just for tots schedule for 2 to 5-year-olds.

We warmed up with the clever music and movement classes with Wind the Bobbin up - a tot's classic - the equivalent of Agadoo in the kids' world these days, don't cha know.

The animated and energetic team kept kids on their toes rattling through hits Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, The Wheels on the Bus and more - then the kids were invited for free play which involved chasing the redcoats with brightly coloured scarfs - which had the little ones in hysterics.
It was easy to cool down in the waterpark and the spa, burn some energy playing safely in the soft play area in vivo barefoots, as well as the a beach themed playground.

2014-07-23-image2use.jpg

From Redcoats to Rasta: The tots flocked to have pictures with the Skyline gang - all singing - all dancing and quintessentially 'Butlins' - who revolutionized things by wearing rasta wigs and silver lipstick to illustrate their adventures in space.
Scooby Doo was more of a hit with the slightly older kids with their problem solving adventures - and in the evening One Direction and Olly Murs blared from the speakers for the Tots disco.

But the brilliant Bananas in Pajamas show was loved so much by the little'uns that they tried to climb onto stage with them. Well, my one did. Security!


The food: Could I even walk after the food baby I grew in a few days?

Could you blame me... the American themed diner - where the hostesses burst into songs from the fifties mid-hamburger is certainly memorable.
Breakfast worked well for my toddler whose a fussy eater - upon seeing the other kids devour their tray of cereals, toast and fruit, he then tucked in. There's baby food for smaller infants too.
The Beachcomber served up the biggest apple crumble I have seen.

2014-07-23-image3use.jpg
Grab a spoon: NB - it's for sharing, guys!

The Butlins I heard of back in the day was all chalets. But the Wave Hotel kept kids hooked with it's interactive and educational blue and yellow theme..

What tickled me was that the speakers in the lifts played the Jaws and Bond themes so we it was like we were on a Her Majesty's Secret Service mission every time we ducked out.

For a party piece, I learned how to fashion a giant elephant and swan from a bath towel - after a clever staff member showed me how by folding and twisting the towel. Mine didn't stay up for more than 30 seconds - but still. . .Check me out!

2014-07-23-imageuse.jpg

2014-07-23-photo38use.jpg

Just For Tots breaks at Butlins start from only £42 per person for 4 nights and includes accommodation, fairgrounds, Splash Waterworlds, shows and activities.


From Butlins it was off to Berlin for a glimpse at the future of entertaining our kids for free in built up cities.
Not just that, but in a smart world project to keep the kids off the streets and out of trouble they have introduced urban gardens, which are like an oasis in the middle of a built up city where families can go to grow their own tomatoes, produce, and hang out almost zen and hippy style caravans.
The future of travel is said to see more people working in their cars on laptops in between commutes and also in urban gardens making the office somewhat obsolete.
I was also stunned to learn that the old combustion engine was on its way out in place of electric cars and electric bikes you can borrow for a ride about town. Not sure if this will take off in Blighty, as the countries they highlighted were most likely to go for it were Russia and Japan. Still, we've got our Boris bikes for now...

2014-07-23-photo216use.jpg:

Glimpse of a greener family life

2014-07-23-photo46use.jpg

Copyright Forfour

I couldn't come all the way to Berlin without checking out their World Cup celebrations alongside the likes of Naomi Campbell and Rihanna.
Revelers partied in an orderly fashion (bar Riri) lining the streets for the parade from 10am to 8pm followed by a beerfest.
Berlin didn't do things by halves after Rankin was commissioned to team up with Dr.Dre to shoot Naomi in 24 (for the 23 man squad and their manager) carat gold beats pros as a gift to each of the winning squad, OTT? I bet they weren't complaining. . ..
At the celebrations, footy experts told me their secret to winning the World Cup, one said: 'We went in to the tournament knowing we could win it, we didn't just rely on one key player so we didn't crumble if they went down. Now our focus is on winning the Euros and getting the double.'

2014-07-23-Attachment1use.jpg
Germany strikes gold
Copyright: Dr Dre

Presented by Breast Cancer Campaign