Butlins Minehead

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Butlins Resort Minehead

Butlin's.svg

Skyline Pavilion, Minehead, Somerset.jpg
Butlins Minehead is located in Somerset
Butlins Minehead
Location Minehead, Somerset, UK
Subsequent Name Changes Butlins Minehead (1962–1987)
Somerwest World (1987–1999)
Butlins Minehead Resort (since 1999)
Holiday Camp chain Butlins
Coordinates 51°12′22″N 3°27′33″W / 51.20611°N 3.45917°W / 51.20611; -3.45917
Opening date 26 May 1962
Residences 9,200 (beds)
Other Facilities Amusement Park, Swimming Pool
Total site area 165 acres (0.67 km2)

The Butlins Resort Minehead is a holiday camp operated by Butlins, located in Minehead in Somerset, England. It opened in 1962 and remains in use today.

History[edit]

6229 Duchess of Hamilton steam locomotive Butlins Holiday Camp Minehead 14 August 1974
Butlins Minehead Resort October 2010 typical scene

In the winter of 1961, Billy Butlin began work on creating his camp in Minehead. The site was selected because of its flatness, good rail links, and proximity to the town and sea. The site was not without its problems, however, including flooding. In order to solve this, a trench was excavated around the site and an earth wall constructed. The trench later became the site's boating pond.[1]

The site opened to the public on 26 May 1962, the construction having cost £2 million. Over the next decade several attractions were added: the miniature railway in 1964, the chairlifts in 1965, and the monorail in 1967. Full size locomotives, Duchess of Hamilton and Knowle, were added in 1964. The locomotives left the camp in 1974 and have since been restored and preserved.[2]

Butlins Minehead underwent major development during the 1980s, when problems with flooding were finally fixed, and both the indoor and outdoor swimming pools were converted into funpools with the addition of waterslides, water cannons, and various other novelty features. Additional accommodation was constructed, and caravan accommodation was introduced. Following the redevelopment work, the camp was renamed Somerwest World.[3]

As at Bognor and Skegness, Minehead resort underwent further changes in 1998 and 1999 with the demolition of the Windsor building, relocation of the outdoor funpool and construction of the Skyline Pavilion in its place. However the changes at Minehead were less extensive than at the other two remaining Butlins resorts, and most of the original structures and layout remained intact. In 2007, further work in the Minehead resort was undertaken with the creation of new luxury timeshare apartments known as BlueSkies.[2]

Entertainment[edit]

Traditionally, Minehead contained all the tried and tested Butlins entertainment ingredients: Butlins Redcoats, a funfair, a ballroom, a boating lake, tennis courts, a sports field (for the three legged and egg & spoon races and the donkey derby), table tennis and snooker tables, amusement arcades, a theatre, arcades of shops, a chairlift system and a miniature railway.[2]

Ex More Adventures[edit]

Butlins Minehead developed the Ex More Adventures which include a climbing wall, diving courses, horse riding, Land Rover safari, fly fishing and sea fishing, sailing, canoeing and coasteering, some of which are held at Exmoor National Park.

Special Events[edit]

The Minehead camp has on several occasions played host to the Britain's Strongest Man contest, most recently in 2004,[4] and since 2006 the Butlins Resort has been one of the venues for the World Wrestling Entertainment's UK winter tour.[5] From 2014 it hosts the UK Darts Open.

Spring Harvest[edit]

Main article: Spring Harvest

Butlins Minehead is the only Butlins still to have a small on-site chapel,[6] and over the Easter period the entire resort plays host to an annual Spring Harvest, the largest Christian festival in the UK.[7] Between Minehead and Skegness, the event attracts around 55,000 Christians from a range of denominations and plays host to many preachers, Christian musicians and dramatic artists.

All Tomorrow's Parties[edit]

All Tomorrow's Parties is a music festival which takes place at Minehead.[8] Named after the song "All Tomorrow's Parties" by the Velvet Underground, it is an alternative to larger mainstream festivals and is presented in a more intimate environment than a giant stadium or huge country field. All Tomorrow's Partiesis a sponsorship-free festival where the organisers and artists stay in the same accommodation as the fans.[9]

Bloc Weekend[edit]

Main article: Bloc Weekend

Bloc Weekend is an annual music festival, devoted to electronic music of several genres, and incorporates both DJ sets and live shows. The first two Bloc events took place at Pontin's holiday camp in Norfolk. The 2009 event, which took place during 13–15 March, was moved to the larger Minehead resort. The 5,000 capacity event still sold out before the festival began. In 2010 and 2011, Bloc returned to Minehead for another sold-out show.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Butlins Memories". Butlins Memories. butlinsmemories.com/minehead. Retrieved 18 October 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c "Butlins Memories". Butlins Memories. Retrieved 18 October 2010. 
  3. ^ "Bygone Butlins". Bygone Butlins. Retrieved 18 October 2010. 
  4. ^ "History of Butlins". Butlins. Retrieved 21 August 2010. 
  5. ^ "WWE at Butlins". Butlins. Retrieved 21 August 2010. 
  6. ^ "Minehead over the years". Butlins Memories. Retrieved 21 August 2010. 
  7. ^ Morris, Steven (2007-07-05). "No to knobbly knees: Butlins tries to bring Miami touch to Minehead". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  8. ^ "ATP: The Nightmare Before Christmas" The Guardian, 12 December 2007
  9. ^ ".Flouting the Mainstream, Forgoing a Corporate Stamp" The New York Times, 9 February 2010

External links[edit]