‘I went to Butlin’s Big Weekender and its pool party was better than Ibiza’

Since the pandemic more and more Brits are opting to stay in the UK, but even so, the ultimate party holidays are thought to be aboard.

But my mind completely changed, when I travelled to Bognor Regis for a mini break known as Butlin's Big Weekender – featuring a topless Fatman Scoop, women dressed as sexy Oompa Loompas and an Ibiza pool party.

As we arrived at our accommodation block, a standard apartment for four, we were greeted by a large group of men who had dozens of beers in tow.

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Music could be heard booming from all sides of the block, including onto the next row of apartments.

It was only 4 pm and the party was already in full swing.

Later on that evening, we stuffed our faces with Burger King, downed some pre-drinks and headed out to the opening party around 8 pm.

New Year's Eve had come early… everyone was jolly and waiting for the final countdown.

The audience, based at one of many stages, roared as confetti fell down from the sky.

Butlins 2000s Adult Weekender had officially begun.

And although it wasn't the famous dress-up night, it wasn't long before we were greeted by a woman dressed as the 118 men.

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The first act of the night was announced as former UK Garage group 3 of a kind – the crowd screamed from the packed dance floor when singer Nicholas Gallante sang their popular hit Baby Cakes.

Later that night we watched and swayed to a Pink tribute act, who surprisingly sounded quite similar to the star herself.

This show took place on another stage and was followed by stars Atomic Kitten and the band members from Five.

During this time, we met a lovely group of girls from Reading whom we ended up dancing with throughout our three-day break.

Everyone we met was friendly, full of life and wanted to have a good time.

The following morning, we feasted on our buffet breakfast and then headed down to the zip-wiring activity on-site.

We glided across the park, basked in the sunny views of Bogner Regis, and pointed out where we'd like to go to dinner as we soared above a staggering height.

That night we powdered our faces, put on our pastel-coloured make-up and dressed in our 2000s-styled outfits – inspired by Britney Spears, the Spice Girls and Destiny's Child.

As we stepped out of our apartment block, we could hear a group of girls dressed in army gear, chanting "left, right, left" as they marched behind one another on their way to the venues.

A pair of men proudly walked past us dressed as traffic cones, followed by a man who donned a washing machine outfit.

The fancy dress also ranged from a Barbie in a box, a group of Power Rangers and a huge dinosaur.

Many holidaymakers headed straight to watch Romeo and Lisa Mafia from So Solid Crew and gathered around the stage like tiny sardines.

Their performance was in high demand and the love for UKG music was shown across the boozed-up dancefloor.

The party went on into the early hours of the morning and was followed by another great tribute act, this time being Coldplay.

The following day, we woke up like soldiers and got ready for an Ibiza-styled pool party, as we hung on a mere few hours of sleep.

Butlins recently underwent a £40million renovation on its Splash swimming pool and it didn't disappoint.

We assumed that it would just be music playing through some speakers, but they had positioned a DJ, up high playing tunes among the five adult waterslides.

Who needs Ibiza Rocks or Ocean Beach club, when you've got Butlins with a wave pool where you can hop on a banana?

It was the final night which meant another closing party, and one last time to dance with our newfound friends.

By this point we had realised we could bring our own drinks to each stage, bringing down the cost to an already fairly priced holiday – which totalled to £190 per person, including an all-you-can-eat breakfast.

The last night mirrored the first, as more confetti streamed down around us at Centre Stage, with music from the likes of Blue, S Club 7 and Eminem.

We moved from one stage to the next, caught each act and danced with other guests including mums and daughters, bridal parties and people on mobility scooters.

At the end of the night, we said goodbye to a tube driver who worked on the Northern Line, the brother and sister who happened to live ten minutes from us, and of course our favourite DJ Sammy.

If you are looking for the perfect party holiday and don't want to hop on a plane to get there – Butlins Big Weekenders are a great in between and host 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s weekends and more.

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