We spent Bank Holiday weekend at Pontins Southport where it was zero frills but oh so much fun –Chantelle Heeds

Pontins Southport has been slammed by numerous bad reviews in recent years, but is it really that bad?

The institution can often be seen and regarded as Butlins’ poorer relation, but there is no denying that Pontins has stood the test of time and everyone has heard of it –for good reasons, or for bad.

Simon Duke, from our sister site ChronicleLive, took Bank Holiday weekend as an opportunity to experience Pontins Southport on the Lancashire border for himself. As someone who never turns their nose up at a cheap weekend away with my mates, he fired up Google maps with an open mind and a heady mix of trepidation and excitement.

READ MORE: Lancashire seaside town ranked among the best in the UK

After parking his car –with plenty of free spaces available on site and cutting short the potential for anymore screeching of power ballads behind the steering wheel, it was time for the holiday to begin.

Here is what he thought:

The accommodation

I’ll come clean straight away, this is the part of the trip that concerned me the most. We all know the place you call home for a few days can make or break a holiday and, having read the reviews I was going with low expectations and, if anything, fearing the worst.

When you get in your 30s the days of being happy to slum it on a rock hard bed in Magaluf so you’ve got more money to spend on super strong bevvies have been and gone, but I will say the one bedroom apartment at Pontins Southport was absolutely fine and I had absolutely no complaints.

It wouldn’t win any awards for high end décor or state of the art mod cons, but between two people, with a bedroom and decent sized sofa bed in the living area cum kitchen, it did the job well.



Outside of two of the chalet blocks at Pontins

If you opt for a Standard chalet rather than the slightly more expensive Club option, you have to top up your electricity but, Martin Lewis will be pleased to hear you aren’t ripped off for your power at a time when we’re all feeling the pinch so it’s definitely worth getting a kitty for food and planning ahead to make sure there’s always something to whack in the oven to line the stomach. Oh and there’s an on site Nisa shop and takeaway for all your hangover munchie needs, with the shop also selling what I would affectionally call an array of’tat.’ Light up fairy wand with your corn flakes anyone? Why get just bread and milk, when you can get bread, milk and a £ 1 super soaker ?!

The shower in the chalet’s bathroom was warm but did require you to keep on pressing the on button around every 30 seconds –quite the challenge with shampoo in your eyes let me tell you!

The nightlife



The kitchen area of ​​a Standard chalet at Pontins
The kitchen area of ​​a Standard chalet at Pontins

Let’s be honest, like for many Brits on a Bank Holiday, for me and my friends was our jaunt to the coast always going to be a’drinking holiday,’ and with a bar called The Queen Vic and a giant night club-esque function room called Fun Factory, Pontins definitely saw us coming.

I’ve headed this section nightlife but the fact is it could be called day and nightlife as at Pontins weekenders the party markedly always starts well before the sun goes down.

Have you been to Pontins Southport? What did you make of it? Comment below.

Fancy watching a Spice Girls tribute or two women belt out a Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand duet at 2 in the afternoon when you’re still fragile from the night before? Or head to a Silent Disco after a Sunday roast? This is the place for you!

When it comes to bar prices, holiday parks could easily exploit their punters, because once you’re in there, you’re, whether you want to or not, are inevitably going to pay whatever they charge for your favorite tipple. But other than a slightly pricey £ 7.50 for a double vodka slush (although you do get to keep the souvenir plastic cup) I never thought I was paying anymore for a drink that I would in most bars back home.

The entertainment

The big selling point of this weekend for me was the plethora of 90s, 00s and Drag Race acts on the bill.

Night one saw Little Mix tribute Little Chix bring the party, before Drag Race UK season 3 queen Ella Vaday hit the stage and Liberty X, sans Kevin and Tony, delivered a hit packed set.

On day two, the night belonged to Drag Race’s Kitty Scott Claus, Girls Aloud icon Nadine Coyle and the North East’s own Re Take That before Ariana Grande tribute Hariana, complete with her own branded fake bank notes, the always energetic Cheryl Hole, Sabrina Washington from Mis-Teeq and two thirds of Cleopatra rounded things off on the Sunday, all with smatterings of star turns from the resident reps.



Outside The Queen Vic pub at Pontins, Southport
Outside The Queen Vic pub at Pontins, Southport

For a kid of the 90s there was something VERY exciting about seeing Cleopatra, while a member down, do Cleopatra’s Theme in the flesh, rather than wearing out the CD on your bedroom hi-fi whilst perched on an inflatable chair and staring at a lava lamp.

With so much happening over the course of the weekend, it went by in a flash, although the hangovers most definitely did not!

Pontins won’t be for everyone but with a party atmosphere even when, according to staff, it was slightly quieter than expected; reps always there with a smile on their face to encourage you to get back on it and get your name down for karaoke and just a nice buzz amongst fellow guests at the shows and on site, for me it was British Bank Holiday personalized.



Girls Aloud star Nadine Coyle was on the bill
Girls Aloud star Nadine Coyle was on the bill

We each paid £ 70 each for three nights in a chalet and, given that also came a wristband that got you into all the events, as well as the free parking, it’s a break that certainly didn’t break the bank, and sore head and weary eyes aside, I had a smile on my face the whole time, other than the fact a phone signal was hard to come by for the entire of my stay.

Go to Pontins with no preconceptions and I’m sure you’ll have a ball. It’s by no means the lap of luxury but if it’s bags of fun, a hearty helping of nostalgia, a judgment free holiday where everyone just wants to have a laugh and hearing Mr Brightside, Sweet Caroline and Proud Mary at least three times a day you’re after, you’ll not be disappointed.

No frills but ALL the fun!

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