WHEN you find yourself standing on top of a picnic bench belting out I Want It That Way by the Backstreet Boys, you know you are in for a good time.
That’s exactly where I found myself on the third day of my 90s Weekender break at the lively Butlin’s resort in Bognor Regis.
While Sunday is a day of rest for many, at Butlin’s it’s Bottomless Brunch time, and my friends and I had just enjoyed two hours of sipping on prosecco and strawberry woo-woos alongside a huge serving of burger and fries.
The delicious food was accompanied by 90s banger after 90s banger, and no sooner had I chomped down on my last sweet potato chip, was I up out of my seat and recalling the moves to the hit Steps tune 5, 6, 7, 8 — something I had perfected back in my pre-teen, Top Of The Pops days.
Butlin’s Big Weekenders will be back from September at Bognor Regis, Minehead and Skegness, giving fans of the 80s, 90s and 00s the chance to boogie away to nostalgic anthems all weekend long.
When we first arrived on the Friday afternoon, groups of stag and hen parties were already getting into the spirit of things with the Hooch, Blue WKDs and pitchers of beer flowing from one of the main bars on site.
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Any fears of lager louts and drunken divas soon went out the window as soon as we got into our first 90s-inspired outfits and headed to Centre Stage, the main music venue for the weekend.
Fancy dress A-game was on from the start, from furry Care Bear costumes and 90s TV presenters, to Baywatch lifeguards and Power Rangers.
The nostalgia was fizzing in every corner of the resort as hits like Freed From Desire, Spice Up Your Life and Boom! Shake The Room played.
The highlight of our first night was Symphonic Ibiza, a live orchestra playing iconic dance hits alongside a DJ, which brought a slice of the clubbing island to Bognor and sent the crowd wild.
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Fun isn’t reserved for the live music performances in the evenings, though.
During the day there are pool parties and audience participation shows, including the hugely popular Bingo Bango.
This saw a Freddie Mercury impersonator — a maths teacher by day apparently — presiding over the numbers, interspersed with more 90s tunes to get everyone dancing.
Anyone who shouted for the line then had to take to the stage and take part in a sing-off or dance-off — good, cheeky fun.
Guests also have access to a fairground as well as crazy golf, go karts, archery, bowling and even aerial ropes.
When we weren’t busy performing the Tragedy and Saturday Night routines or enjoying the entertainment, we were filling our bellies to keep us going — these weekends are a marathon not a sprint, after all.
We opted for the dining package at one of the buffet restaurants on site for breakfast and dinner and trust me, an all-you-can-eat fry up after the night before really hits the spot.
The buffet has live cooking stations as well as hot and cold desserts, a roast option and classics including curries and pies.
However, there are plenty of other options available including a fish and chip shop, Papa Johns pizzeria and food stands waiting to serve you your end-of-night grub.
Obviously at some point we had to catch 40 winks and we were checked in at Butlin’s Wave Hotel which has twin, double and adjoining rooms, all brightly decorated.
In an attempt to counteract the booze, the on-site spa seemed like a great way to detox on our final day, with a sauna, steam room, foot spas, outdoor jacuzzi and indoor whirlpool.
Luxury treatments meant we left the resort in a zen-like state, rather than hungover zombies.
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As I wheeled my case out of the complex, I passed a deflated plastic man doll which had been having a whale of a time the previous night, now face down on the ground.
He looked as forlorn as I felt to be leaving the joy of the 90s behind to return to 2023.
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