TEN years flies by. I remember watching dance troupe Diversity pip Scottish singer Susan Boyle to the Britain’s Got Talent title in 2009.
I admit it, I was a big fan of this acrobatic street dancing, although I couldn’t bust a move if I tried.
Fast-forward to 2019 and I had the chance. Yes, I finally came face to face with Diversity, albeit as they got off their coach to prepare for a stage show at Butlin’s Skegness. Sadly, none of them recognised me – so much for voting for them during BGT.
Joking aside, I was at Butlin’s with my family as part of a summer break, and Diversity were the headline act on Centre Stage.
In fact, Diversity and Butlin’s go back a long way. At the age of 16, the group’s choreographer, Ashley Banjo, helped coach Redcoats in the art of street dance.
Alas, Ashley – the most well known of the troupe – wasn’t at this live Skegness gig, so it fell to his brother Jordan to show us how it’s done. And how.
They were fantastic, and had the packed room roaring them on, encouraging us to get up and try a few moves.I didn’t volunteer – I had, ahem, a bad ankle.
This was one highlight of several great moments during our stay. Youngsters could join the Diversity Dance Academy during the break, where budding dancers were offered the opportunity to be coached personally, and experience a street dance master class.
Another great show we enjoyed was the Big Top Circus, featuring world-class artistes performing all kinds of death-defying acts.
It was the perfect opportunity to introduce our youngster to the fun of the circus, while embracing the nostalgia it brought back for us.
Perfect for all ages, the show featured international acts including Chico the clown for little ones, a pretty terrifying crossbow act that kept us on the edge of our seats, plus a contortionist that had us rethinking the flexibility of the human body. I really should book that yoga class.
The finale was absolutely fantastic – four motorcycles whizzing round a giant globe no bigger than my front room.
While live entertainment is a big part of the experience, the beauty of a Butlin’s break is that there is so much choice to keep you and your family happy.
Go round, up, down, spin and whizz through the air at the traditional on-site fairground. You’ll find a beautiful helter-skelter with a shiny carousel, dodgems and vintage stall games, with the smell of classic funfair treats lingering in the air and twinkly lights shining overhead in the evenings.
Then there’s Splash Waterworld, featuring rides, rafts and flumes to keep the adventurous occupied and a Rockpool Cove for little ones. I’ve never swum so much in my life.
The fair and swimming pool are included in your stay, but for an extra cost you can try other activities such as arts and crafts, discover animals, drum workshops or football coaching, to name just a few.
But if you’re after a change of scene, Skegness is a short drive away from the resort in Ingoldmells bursting with arcades and enough sugary treats for a sugar mountain the size of the Malvern Hills.
A bit closer to the resort is another large family amusement park packed with rides, attractions and more arcades. There is an open-air market within the park plus an indoor market.
Once you’ve exhausted all that, you can crash out in your own private accommodation at the end of the day.
We stayed in a Seaside Apartment, perfect for families wanting to be at the heart of the resort as they are a short stroll away from the entertainment and dining areas.
It boasted nostalgic seaside features including candyfloss-cloud night lights in the children’s room, plump ice cream cushions and a magnetic pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey game. There was an ultra-modern bathroom with shower, plus an open plan lounge, dining area and kitchen with all the trimmings.
All apartments come with towels and daily housekeeping, TVs in the lounge and master bedroom, free wifi, iron, ironing board, not to mention a hairdryer that was wasted on me.
The premium dining plan, wasn’t wasted, however. We, like everyone else enjoying this particular foodie experience, went to town.
There are two restaurants to choose from with the premium package – The Deck and The Yacht Club – offering a range of top drawer breakfast options to set you up for the day, including pancakes, full breakfasts and omelettes. Dinner options included a carvery, flame grilled meats and tasty pasta dishes.
And the desserts? Wow. One night I had two chocolate cakes. Over indulgence? Too right.
Just got to burn off some of that energy with a few Diversity-inspired backflips now.
October half-term breaks at Butlin’s Skegness resort start from £315 for three nights (Friday to Monday) and £395 for four nights (Monday to Friday), for Silver accommodation which sleeps a family of four. That price includes lots of Halloween-themed entertainment such as the Frightfully Fun Gameshow and Misty’s Monster Party, plus live shows like Animal Antics, Cirque du Hilarious and New Generation Wrestling. Access to the traditional fairground and Splash Waterworld are also included. For more details go to www.butlins.com or call 0330 100 6649.