Games for Grown Ups
Photo: Harris Tennis Court
If physically demanding sport does not appeal as a holiday pastime then consider something a bit more sedate or cerebral this year instead. Games are way too much fun to be left for children, instead here are our favourite games for grown-ups on holiday this year.
Snooker is not a game for those in a hurry. It’s slow, contemplative pace is part of the appeal as the combination of strategy and technique is incredibly relaxing. As a spectator sport it could legitimately be described as a bit dull, but actually playing yourself is an incredibly absorbing and involving way to wile away an evening. Poyntzfield House has its own antique, slate bed table. There are loads of activities to keep the kids amused but this is definitely one for the adults, best enjoyed late at night, in silence and with a large dram.
Darts is a game with close associations to more old fashioned pubs and is a brilliantly sociable game with easy to learn rules that anyone can pick up and it goes hand in hand with having a beer with a group of friends. Inver Lodge has its own bar where you can enjoy a hand pumped pint from a previously chilled keg of beer and to make the old fashioned atmosphere completely authentic, it also has a bar billiards table as well as a dart board. If ever you needed an excuse for late nights on holiday then this is it.
The recent successes of British tennis stars has boosted the popularity of the game in the UK with enormous viewing figures for big tournaments like Wimbledon. For those wishing to make the transition from watching to playing, then Quarryfield is definitely the place to come on holiday as it has its own full size court. If you just want a knock about, to practice your stroke or involve your siblings in an inter-family mixed doubles championship, then this is perfect. Organise a Tesco delivery before your arrival to make sure that the fridge is stocked with Pimms and Strawberries and Cream for that authentic British summertime experience.
In stark contrast, but no less appealing, is probably the most scenic and remote tennis court in the country. This top end facility is seemingly carved right out of the rock in Bunabhainneadar in Harris and has an artificial grass surface and its own wooden pavilion. Its notoriety has seen a number of professionals come and play here but anyone visiting can book a slot to have a game. Equipment hire and expert tuition are also available every day except Sunday. Tamana Cottage is just a short drive further down the road that the court lies on, its outdoor hot tub being the ideal place to unwind after an exhausting, on court, session.
With its inclusion in the Olympics you could argue that beach volleyball is technically more of a sport than a game. However when you typically play with your family the emphasis is way more on having fun than serious competition. The rules can be gloriously flexible (and often made up on the spot) the refereeing idiosyncratic and scoring absurdly random but therein lies the attraction. Big Sand overlooks the sea and is walking distance to an ideal spot to play. The house is big enough to comfortably accommodate two extended families for a bit of rivalry or, even better, a bit of inter-generational competition, and when the sun shines it really is like being on the Copacabana (without the crowds).
Glenfarg House is a wonderfully atmospheric historic mansion that would make the ideal location for a murder mystery weekend. With its sumptuous period features it really is like something out of an Agatha Christie book. Around the log fire would also make a great spot for an evening game of Cluedo and for the ultimate in simple fun the extensive gardens are perfect for epic games of hide and seek that last all day.