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"We are going to Butlin's Somerwest World "

My untold story of Butlin's starts at my former home in North London, in an estate called Tyrellway, West Hendon. Today, the estate has been demolished and rebuilt into new homes. However, my memory remains strong as I remember sitting in my room upstairs looking out the window and thinking "I wonder what is happening at Butlin's today that I am missing out on". The waiting game for our next holiday was always one that I disliked as it seem to me that it would take forever to arrive. Daydreaming about my time at Butlin's, I would often get sad realising that I was at home and not at the one place I love so very much.

Then the moment would arrive when I and my brother would be upstairs in our room "MARK AND ROBERT, COME DOWNSTAIRS INTO THE LIVING ROOM". We did not know what to think as we tried to think about anything bad that we might have done "Did you do anything Rob?" "No, did you?". Going into the living room, we would see our mum (Annette) and dad (Paul) sitting there with straight faces "Sit there boys, we need to have a chat with you" I remember that I would be looking at them to try and figure out what they might have to say to us.

As we waited, my mum would look at us with a serious face and say "There is something that me and your dad need to tell you and its something that you need to listen to carefully" In my mind, I was thinking "PLEASE BE BUTLIN'S, PLEASE!!!!" In a calm tone, my mum would look at us both and continue "You will need to do chores and much more work around the flat for this work" My mind was going crazy "JUST SAY PLEASE!!!" as my mum continued "the reason you need to do more around the flat is to earn pocket money..." "but we already do this mum" "but this time Robert, its to save up for pocket money at Butlin's" I would jump up with joy with the news that we are going to my second home once more. With excitement, I would say to myself "Do what is needed to get that pocket money, Mark, it's serious time"

"Thank you Mum and Dad" with an excited tone, I would race back upstairs to my room and shout "YES, YES, YES!!!" I was so very happy and excited about the news as I would stare out of the window at everyone else and think "Hahaha, I am going to Butlin's Somerwest World and you lot are not!" With the excitement high, I could not wait to tell my friends as I started the new operation "Save Butlins pocket money". Each day I would do any task that was asked of me to succeed in my quest and in hope that the days would go so much faster. Going to bed early and trying my very best to wish that each day went very fast was on my mind. At school, I would count down the days, and at home, count down the nights as I wanted the special day to arrive so soon.

As each day passes, my excitement was starting to get harder to disguise from others as I would imagine them stunning chalets and all that was on offer. I found it so very hard to keep my mind away from Butlin's and wanted day one to be here now. My patience had paid off as the last night at home finally arrived and at this stage, I was at a moment where there was conflict within me. A part of me wanted to go to sleep early so the next day arrives quicker but another part of me wanted to stay up all night in excitement. The day that I wanted to be here so very badly had finally arrived and my mind was so very excited "Have you got everything you need....ohhh what if you wake up late but hang on, mum and dad will wake me up for that....ohhh go to sleep Mark, ok here it goes....I wonder if Butlins have changed anything from the last time...oh yes imagine if they....go to sleep!! it goes....that funfair with the sea breeze on the face, what a feeling, oh and the beach, relax in the country air...ahhhh go to sleep!!" and the night became a challenge until I eventually go to sleep. 

West Hendon to London Paddington

Waking up in the morning, I would look outside from the window and think "YES, YES and YES, today is the one" as I would say to myself  "IT'S BUTLINS DAY!!" Getting out of my bed, I would race to the bathroom to brush my teeth as I needed to make sure that I am ready for the journey from my home to Paddington station. Once my teeth were clean, I would go down as fast as possible to do anything my parents would tell me. Then the moment happened "ok boys, wait outside, we are ready to get going" Carrying whatever I was asked to, I would wait outside the front door and think that I was the luckiest boy in London at that very moment. The door was then closed as my parents would lock it "Let's get going as there is a train to catch to Butlin's". 

Each journey to London Paddington would be different as we could either be using the London Underground, a cab or via a friend who is giving us a lift. No matter the method of the journey to Paddington Station, the memory was always the same. I would always look at the other people as we went by and would think to myself "Hahaha, I am off to Butlin's Somerwest World and you are all stuck here, I am so very lucky". Getting closer and closer, we would eventually drive into the station when there used to be a drive-through at the time. As we either entered from the Underground station or from a car, the smell of the trains and the noise of the station confirmed that this is real and not a dream. 

As we started to walk further into the station, I would hear the announcement of another train department from the station, causing my excitement to go up to a new level.  Back in the days (the 1990s - 1998), the notice boards use to have a flip board design meaning that a noise would be made every time the platform would appear or when a new train was to be displayed. Every single time it made a noise, I would look up and see if its the one that we were booked on. My mum and dad would often say to me "Keep an eye on it Mark when it's ready, you know what we need to do" Operation "Keep an eye on the Butlins train" was on my mind. 

My patience was very low as I constantly looked up at the notice board thinking that everyone in the station was coming to the same location as me. I wanted to make sure that I was looking at the correct one "Which one Dad?" "It's the 09:59 one Mark, stopping at Taunton". Well maybe not that time but the feeling was there at any time as I would try to make it turn "Come on, tell us the platform already" My excitement at this stage was turning into frustration and as I wanted to be on that train now but I had to wait. Then the moment happened as an announcement was made as the board flipped to show the platform number. 

I would grab anything that was needed and rush off to find our seats in Coach D (always Coach D as Dad is a smoker (used to have smoking cars during this )).  Racing down the platform, we would find out coach as I opened up the big yellow door. Finding out seat, me and Robert would sit down with excitement knowing its a matter of time until we move.  I would look around to see my dad and mum walking towards us slowly, my mind was going crazy in excitement and worry as I would think "HURRY UP" as I was convinced the train was going to leave now. My parents placed the luggage into the areas supplied and sat down with us. 

At this stage of the journey, I was no longer listening to my parents as I concentrated on what was happening outside on the platform. To me, everyone that was coming was here to join us at Butlin's and I wanted to be gone. The more that came, the longer it was going to take to get to Taunton and I needed the train to start moving now. Loud whistle outside and the train started to move as I concentrated on the announcement on the train confirming that Taunton was on the list of places it would stop. As the train moved, I would see London start to disappear and the feeling of calm started as I knew the journey I wanted so very much was already at part two of the travelling.

London Paddington to Taunton Station

The train would start to move at a very quick speed as I paid special attention to the announcements made by the train staff. I would look at the beautiful scenes outside that are given to us all to view. The long views of the fields were so very stunning that I would just smile knowing that I was en route to a place that I adored. Mum and Dad would always pack a feast for the journey as we eat and drink en route. Playing games where we could, there was only one area on my mind and it was hard to shake it off. 

Going for a small walk to the end of the carriage, I would open the window in the door and allow a breeze to come in. I never put my head outside as I knew of the danger but did put it at an angle where the cold air would hit my face. The sounds of the train would keep me calm as the pure beauty of the countryside made me feel like I was in heaven. Seeing the cows, horses and pigs just made me feel so very special as these are areas that you do not see a great deal in London. Sitting back down at the table, I would look at the stations we stopped at and think "More Butlin's people...why don't they go away" 

I am laughing at this as it's truly how I felt at the time I loved this moment so very much that I wanted it to be just for me. The train journey was so very special to me as I wanted it to be quick but at the same time, slow as the feeling was something that enjoyed a great deal. Then a moment arrived "The next station is Taunton" and that was it for me, I have not got time for games as I need to concentrate on arriving at Taunton. As the train arrived at the station, I would already be standing near the door ready for departure. The train stops and the door is open, I step out onto the platform and feel so very comfortable at being in Somerset once again. I am nearly home at this stage but at the same time, I was not in London and that mattered to me greatly as there was only one final part of my journey. 

The train journey experience

This video was recorded by me in 2014 en route to Taunton with my children and Carri (my partner). It's a moment in time that I realize there is no pressure, no worries with just calm and mother nature showing me that there is more to life. As I am also a fan of trains, this moment became very special to me and remains to this date as I am reminded of them golden times. I am extremely thankful to have had this opportunity to experience this then and at this moment in 2014. 

Taunton Station

Standing on the platform, I would take in this very moment as the station has so many fond memories for me. As we started to walk, I would hear the whistle noise as the doors were closed on the train. Then the train that transported us from London to Taunton started to move once more as it disappeared from the station. On the other platform was the family returning home and I could not help but think "HAHAHAHA I AM GOING TO BUTLINS AND YOU ARE NOT" It did not matter to me that not everyone there was coming from Butlins as to me, they were. 

I am laughing now about this feeling as I remember it so very well as it never occurred to me that there were some who were going on holiday and some that had not been to Butlins at all. To me, everyone at the station was there because of Butlin's, including the staff! The world I lived in when it came to Butlin's was one of pure love for the name.  I was so very happy and did not want the day to go by so quickly as it was an important moment for me as I could feel the warmth that Somerset offered and the change of atmosphere.  Even to this very date, the best day for me is always the one where you travel to the location as it's that moment you can relax. 

As we left the station, we would go to a special area where there was a special bus service from Taunton Station directly to Minehead Butlin's. It was a large green-decker bus, still named 28 and it would be waiting for us to go to my second home. My dad would take the luggage to the rear of the bus, where a man would take it and place it on the back seats. Going inside, we would go upstairs to find it very hot and not very clean but I did not care as I knew where this was taking me. As we waited, I would see another train arrive I thought "No, not more, come on! Let's get going". Most times we got this bus, it was very hot however my focus was only on things. 

With a large noise, the bus would start and the front bit would start to vibrate as I looked at my parents with a smile. It's now only a matter of time before it would start to move. The doors are closed and the bus started to move away from the station as my excitement would be too much to handle, at this very moment I could not help but smile and be so very happy. Wow, even now I can feel this and realise how important this time was for me then and now as I explain my story to you.

Bus 28 from Taunton to Minehead Butlin's

As the bus started the journey, I would look for key areas that gave me a sign that I was near. Looking out for the important signs, I would ignore any noise from the bus as I was now on a new operation "Spot the signs to Butlins". A key point for me is this roundabout, where it would turn right, meaning that Taunton was no behind me and I am further away from my home in London and closer to my home in Minehead.

The bus would continue on the route to Butlin's as I continued to smile whilst waiting for the next part that I had always looked forward to seeing. At this time, many people put their hand out to ask for the bus to stop however, as it was a direct service, the bus would continue with the customers on board cheering. Another key are of the journey was this part, where it would sharp bend under the bridge. I use to love this bit as it felt like I am on the other side and where I should be for Butlin's as that is where the train tracks were going.

The bus would slow down as we arrive at the lovely town called Williton. As the bus goes down the hill, I knew it was only a matter of time until we got to the roundabout. My excitement level had increased greatly as there is no much of the journey to go. So very happy to be at this point as inside of me, I am bursting with happiness and know it's just over there!

Dunster we are full of excitement as this means Butlins is just around the corner and there are not enough words to explain how I am feeling at this stage.

The original route to Butlin's

Before the changes made to the roads (shown in grey here), the bus would have to continue via the back route to get to Butlin's. It would continue straight on Bircham road until it got to Alcombe. At the roundabout, it would take the right and follow this road until it got to the Duke of Wellington. It would then turn right again on to the main Minehead road, known as "The Parade". From here it would travel down the Avenue and then onto  Warren Road, leading to Butlins.

New route to Minehead town

At a later stage, the roads were changed giving a more direct route to Butlins and Minehead town. Named Seaward Way, this road would take a large part of the journey away from the journey. This is the road that many people use today (as of 2023) to get to and from Butlin's. 

I am home!

The bus comes to the last part of the journey as it turns right into the main area of Butlin's. Redcoats would be waiting outside waving at us as security would come on to talk with the bus driver. My mind was in overload as I looked to the left to see Sunsplash and the funfair. Getting off the bus, I remember stepping into the car park and feeling like I had won the jackpot.  I could hear the sounds from the swimming pool as the smell of the sea air hits me. I walk to the location where my parents wanted me but at this very moment, I did not care as I was at my home. 

As my parents got the luggage, I would continue to look around and smile thinking about all the changes that could have been made to the location I love a great deal. It was and still is, a special moment for me as you could never replace such a wonderful feeling such as this on this very day. 

Thank you for reading my story of the journey from London to Butlins Minehead, the photos below are forever in my mind, which I hope sparks a memory for you all. 


Love for this era is so very strong to me

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Who and What is Butlin's Memorabilia Website

Mark Banks owns and created this website to show his collection of Butlin's memorabilia items. It was created during my spare time at work and is a hobby of mine and has since grown into a site that offers a chance for others to smile. This website is NOT the official website for Butlin's and is NOT the official archive of Butlin's at any stage. The website has expanded to show stories, with permission from that person, of a moment in Butlin's from people who are either a customer or former staff. This website is in loving memory of all that had come to this amazing company and to Sir William Butlin, the founder.  This website also has information about research regarding Butlin's history with information obtained from the research I made, which is not official. 

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This website is made and maintained by me, Mark Banks, as a fan site to celebrate the amazing Butlins name as it has such a large meaning to me.  Below is additional information about the website and answers to questions that you might be thinking of (hopefully I have covered them all, if not, get in touch)

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The Untold Stories of Butlin's

The website has expanded to now include an area called "Untold Stories of Butlin's". These stories have been added to the site by a member of my group who has shared their moment at Butlin's. These stories are not from the official company and are from the person it represent, as shown on the page. The stories shared are from that person's memory and show the magic of Butlin's on how it creates that special moment. 

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Butlin's Memorabilia is NOT the official website for Butlins. This site is also NOT the official website for the archive of Butlin's. The owners of Butlin's, Butlin's company, and have NOT approached me to design this site. They have no involvement with the development of the website or with the information that is shown. I am extremely thankful that they allow me to continue showing you their company's rich history. 

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