I will forever have a soft spot for Bognor. Nineteen years ago, around about now, I was working as a store detective at All Days Supermarket in Butlin’s Holiday Camp. Myself, Steve (of pottery painting fame) and another friend went on holiday to the Bognor Regis holiday camp for a week after our final A level exams back in 1996.
We* had such a great time that we didn’t want to go home, so to cut a longish story short we applied for jobs and left the camp on the last day of our holiday, the following Monday we traveled back down to start working and living in Butlin’s! We had a fantastic Summer, but we left after the A level results came out to prepare for University and I have never returned.
*Only Steve and I stayed, the third holidaymaker disappeared never to be seen again, well we never saw him again anyway! Weird that.
So as I was staying so close by for the whole week it was the perfect opportunity to go back and see what’s changed, turns out pretty much everything!!!
Skegness was the first Butlin’s holiday camp, opened in 1936 it was built from a sketch by owner Billy Butlin himself. In 1960, Butlins Bognor Regis opened its gates. Billy promised “A week’s holiday for a week’s wages”.
So on a darkish damp drizzly day we rolled into the carpark to be met by a pretty sizable queue, I’d definitely recommend getting there early. However when we got to the front the staff were helpful, informative and friendly, in fact all of the staff were throughout the park, even the poor life guard that I quizzed about whether the location of the changing rooms had changed! They had – it’s odd the things you remember, like I can’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday but I can remember what side of the pool the changing rooms are on, in a pool I went in once back in 1996!
We were here as day trippers and paid £72.00 for entrance for two adults and two children, this may seem a lot but most of the rides, the soft play, stage entertainment shows and swimming pool are all included in this price. So I it is actually still pretty good value and if you can be flexible on dates then it’s worth checking their web site as they do offer some good discounts on certain days.
There are lots of rides and the little one’s loved everything, the stage shows were a surprise treat, both kids were captivated and it gave the grown ups the opportunity to sit for five minutes and enjoy a coffee.
Steve and I had a great day trying to figure out where everything we remembered had gone or been transformed into! This is how the shop I worked in looks today, quite different to the All Days Supermarket back 1996!!! I am even tempted to book a weekend away in one of the swanky new hotels that have been built on the site, there’s even a spa!! Either way I will definitely be back, hopefully it won’t be in another 19 years.