Vintage cars meet zorbing at the British Leisure Show

WITH the economy seemingly stuck in the doldrums, we all need a break. If you are short of ideas then you could do worse than head along to the British Leisure Show, which will be held on 11-13 March at the Royal Windsor Race Course.

Now in its second year, the show is the brainchild of James Brooke, who after working on various other events decided that a bit of entrepreneurial gumption was needed in the downturn, and set out to create the biggest show of its kind in the UK.

With less money in their pockets, people are looking for getaways without leaving these shores, he says, and so he set out to give them just what they want. “Value is a word being used by prospective visitors and those looking to exhibit and we have to recognise this,” he says. “But it doesn’t mean we have to cut corners or trim anything, it means we have to be assertive when looking at these exciting challenges and opportunities as they present themselves.” Families are the focus, and the aim is to have something for everyone. “We have worked hard to develop a unique event that is affordable and of interest to all members of the family,” says Brooke.

“Variety”, he says, is what people want and so instead of running a show that focuses on a theme – boats, say, or skiing – the British Leisure Show has everything from an F1 simulator to log-cabins, motorboats, horse-riding, archery and water-zorbing (in which you hurl yourself across open water in an inflatable see-through sphere). There will even be a display of holiday homes, including the last word in mobile luxury, which costs £500,000. In total, over 300 businesses will be showing their wares.

This is the place to be for petrol heads too, as the British Motor Festival will also be taking place at the same venue at the same time. There’ll be a fleet of 150 Harley -Davidsons, Rolls Royces, Morgan sports cars and more supercars than you can shake a dipstick at. Boy racers will be well catered for, with the chance to set the fastest lap on the new EA computer game Shift 2:Unleashed, which won’t be in the shops until a fortnight after the show. And they will even show the England-Scotland Six Nations game in the grandstand.

The formula certainly hit the spot with the Great British public last year, with 21,000 people coming through the doors, a number that Brooke hopes to significantly increase this year, and the enthusiasm is matched by exhibitors. “Despite the downturn we have found investors that believe in what we are striving to achieve,” he says, “which for me speaks volumes.”

British Leisure Show, Royal Windsor Race Course, 11-13 March

WHAT’S ON OFFER | HIGHLIGHTS

British Motor Festival – heritage cars and owners’ clubs rub shoulders with the most powerful supercars – see Harley-Davidsons, Rolls Royces, Morgans and much more.

Watersports – there’ll be a wide range of different boats and watercraft including a new 35ft Sealine motor boat, a traditional Cornish Crabber yacht, river boats, jet skis, dinghies and sports boats

Camping – whether nights under canvas, VW Camper vans or the funky new Tearpod caravan are your thing, there’s something to suit everybody

Outdoors For lovers of the great outdoors, there’s shooting, gliding, water-zorbing, cycling – and even owl-handing