Butlins, Pontins and Parkdean compared

Everyone will be on the lookout for a cheap and cheerful holiday as restrictions are lifted.

From today (May 17), restaurants, pubs and hospitality reopened once again and holiday rules were relaxed.

Even though there will be a select number of countries Brits can travel to without quarantining, there will be many people looking for a cheap and cheerful staycation.

Among some of the most popular and cheap breaks are from Pontins, Parkdean and Butlins so we decided to look at which of the three destinations has the best booking experience and which were the cheapest.

We booked all three at the same time of year (June 14 for four nights) at a self-catering accommodation, if they had any available, for two adults and as close to Skegness as possible.

And here’s what we found when we tried to book:

Butlins



Butlins will be a popular destination this year

Butlins probably had one the easiest and more fluid booking experiences when we tried to book.

We booked for four nights at its Skegness resort in the middle of June and was offered £40 off for that date which was a nice surprise.

The cheapest room we could get was the silver room for £208 and was asked whether or not we wanted to add on catering as an extra.

There was only one section where Butlins tried to upsell which was nice before we were told to sign in and book our holiday.

The website appeared to work well and if you’re on a budget but just want to get away, it’s probably one of the best places you can book right now.

There are plenty of other parks you can book into and different rooms depending on your preference.

Pontins



Butlins, Pontins and Parkdean compared
Pontins is a cheap getaway but it didn’t go so well for us

Pontins was probably one of the worst booking experiences online when we tried to book a holiday.

We chose the Pakefield Holiday Park as it was the closest we could get to Skegness on the same date at Butlins.

We instantly found a problem where part of the Pakefield page wouldn’t let us choose 2021 which must have been a problem with the website.

Not a huge problem as we found another way to book on the same day.

We chose our days then were taken to a screen where we chose either ‘Club’ or ‘Classic’. We chose Club as it seemed like the cheaper option but no explanation what they were.

Then another webpage opened where we chose self-catering but were told we couldn’t do self-catering and had to choose half-board.

So we were given the ‘Adult Only – Getaway Break’ then were asked what type of apartment we wanted and how many.

After going through the massive and exhaustive list of apartments choices, Pontins then decided to throw in extras which we completely ignored.

And after tons of boxes and choices we finally got the final screen which told us we would pay £158 for four nights for a standard adult room.

Definitely the cheapest but the website experience and the number of choices and boxes to click was not a fun experience.

Parkdean



Butlins, Pontins and Parkdean compared
Parkdean was named ‘Best UK Family Holiday Company’ in 2020

Parkdean also had a smooth user experience and, despite it not being the cheapest, was good value for money. After being awarded ‘Best UK Family Holiday Company’, we expected a lot – and we were massively surprised.

We chose the Southview Holiday Park which was the closest we could get to Skegness and chose the same number of nights and days previous.

For a self-catering caravan, it would come to £269 which includes entertainment passes, three bedrooms and slept up to 6 people. A good deal!

Like the other holiday parks, we were thrown the additional extras including cancellation cover which could be very important if things change but we decided to ignore it.

Compared to Butlins, it was on a par for how easy and simple it was to book – but a much better user experience compared Pontins.

If you want the best bang for your buck, Parkdean could be the best choice for a larger family.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a very cheap and cheerful holiday, it seems Pontins was best on price with the offer of half-board and accommodation for £158.

However we would recommend ringing them directly as their online booking experience was not friendly at all.

Parkdean and Butlins were on par with each other when it came to booking. Butlins was the cheapest choice for £208 but, even though Parkdean was slightly more expensive, you got a lot more for your money.