But it’s Skegness which can rightly claim to be the birthplace of one of the best known names in UK holidays.
Billy Butlin opened the original Butlin’s Holiday Camp back in 1936, giving rise to decades of clichés about bathing beauties in ever more skimpy bikinis and chalet-style seaside breaks like those eventually depicted in the sitcom Hi-De-Hi – set of course in an environment not a
million miles from the old stereotypical Butlins image.
The Second World War saw Butlins in Skegness taken over for military use, when it became HMS Royal Arthur. It eventually reopened as a holiday camp in 1946.
It wasn’t until the 60s that the two other Butlins resorts we know today – at Bognor Regis and Minehead – were opened. Bognor’s came to life in 1960, with Minehead following two years later.
The next big milestone in the Butlins history, certainly at Skegness, was a major redevelopment in the 80s in a bid to shed the old holiday camp image and take on a more lively, modern persona. Central to this were the adoption of a new name, Funcoast World, and the building of a huge swimming complex complete with jacuzzi-topped ‘volcano’.
At the end of the 90s, it was time for another shift in direction. At this point, Butlins opted for the Family Entertainment Resort title, and put more emphasis on short and low-season breaks. Its resorts at Bognor and Minehead were also part of this revamp.
Today, Butlins remains a thriving hotbed of activity as people continue to flock to the resort for holidays, music weekends and events like the popular MCN motorbike festival – and in the low season it’s attractions like these that help Butlins pull in thousands of visitors and sustain the area’s holiday trade at a healthy level.