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Bowling in the English Riviera

If you are looking to sample bowls played in a Continental atmosphere, surrounded by golden beaches, white villas, blue seas and palm trees, there is no need to journey abroad - the English Riviera offers all the pleasures of its French and Spanish namesakes.

The Scottish weather, notorious in its unpredictability, makes outdoor play very sporadic so it comes as no surprise that so many enthusiastic bowlers jet off on one of their cheap flights to sunnier climes in search of the chance to play under cloudless skies. However, with the English Riviera a haven for lovers of the sport, and one of the warmest regions in the United Kingdom, there is no need to pack a foreign language phrasebook along with your sun cream and trusty bowls.You are guaranteed first-rate bowling action all year round with seven different outdoor venues in the region's three main towns: Torquay, Paignton and Brixham, all within easy reach of Exeter International Airport.

On the rare occasion that it rains, there are also two indoor venues. However, it would be a waste of baggage space to pack your umbrella - recent years have seen less than two centimetres of rainfall during July and the region is known to have a similar climate to Istanbul. Indeed, it is more likely you will make use of the indoor rinks to shelter from the sun rather than the rain

Visitors are made to feel very welcome at all of the bowling venues in the region, although, understandably, they can get very busy, so it is always best to book a day or two in advance. Alternatively, there are package deals available, including one offered by the TLH Leisure Resort. Their all-inclusive bowls breaks include flights, transfers, accommodation at one of their four Torquay hotels and, of course, a whole host of opportunities to play, with different Bowling Breaks and Festivals on throughout the year.

However, one of the biggest events in the region's sporting calendar is the annual Open Bowls Tournament, which takes place at the end of June. Whilst it is too late for anyone wishing to take part this year, and stand the chance of winning a share of the £4000 prize fund, it is still highly recommended and entertaining for tourists as it played on out three different greens.

There are Men's, Women's, Mixed and Junior titles to be won, and it is possible there may even be a few Scots participating, so go along between the 20th and 27th of June this year, cheer them to victory, pick up some tips for when it comes your turn to take the greens and maybe even get a tan in the process!

If, whilst here, you decide you need a little break from playing, there are a whole host of other things to do. In Torquay you can always sip a coffee in one of the trendy street cafes, or perhaps indulge in some retail therapy down the busy shopping streets.

If you prefer a more peaceful game of bowls, Brixham is the place for you. A sleepy little fishing town with a wide range of different fishing excursions, as well as the chance to discover more about the illustrious heritage of the town's famous port, you could also maybe catch a glimpse of the wildlife and rare plants that live in its nearby National Nature Reserve. Paignton encompasses all the best features of Torquay and Brixham. As you play, you'll find yourself engulfed in a blaze of colour and activity that truly lights up the town. And when dusk falls, why not dine in one of the splendid restaurants along the beachfront?

But don't just take our word for it - check it out for yourself! Log on to to see how cheap and easy it can be to fly to the sun for an authentic Continental-flavoured bowling experience, with neither the fuss of travelling abroad nor the threat of rain to spoil your fun.


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