Great British Games Trail

Click on the pins on the map to reveal some of the weird and wonderful links between HHA houses and quirky games or sporting events.

Find out who broke the world water speed record in 1906 with a top speed of 31mph, which house was home to an Olympic Gold Medal winner, where the World Caber Tossing Championships are held, and which property hosts a popular annual duck race!

Search by property name or location below or use the scale bar to zoom in and out of the map.

Scotland Back to top
Picture of Blair Castle
Site of the ‘manly’ Atholl Gathering and International Horse Trials
Blair Castle is the site for the historic Atholl Gathering and the famous international horse trials.
Picture of Inveraray Castle and Garden
A World Elephant Polo Champion
The current owner of the castle, Torquhil (the present Duke of Argyll), has been the World Elephant Polo Champion for two years running!
Picture of Hopetoun House
The Gillespie Macandrew Hopetoun International Horse Trials
Hopetoun House, on the banks of the Forth just outside Edinburgh, plays host to some of the world’s leading riders at The Gillespie Macandrew International Horse in July each year.
Picture of Mellerstain House
Links with archery
Mellerstain Woods are frequently used by local company, Border Archery, for shooting events
South East Back to top
Picture of Blenheim Palace
Running, cycling and a gruelling triathlon
Each August, Blenheim Palace hosts a Festival of Cycling called Bike Blenheim Palace. This is the UK’s fastest growing and most exciting cycling event, with all sorts of cycling rides and many more activities, including the popular Bike Polo Tournament.
Picture of Leeds Castle
From medieval jousting to the Olympic Torch
Every year Leeds Castle takes visitors back to the days of medieval jousting, with real knights on horseback, medieval weaponry and exciting displays of spectacular action, stunts, falls, fights and galloping horses.
The North Front, Waddesdon Manor.  ©The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor. Photo: Hugh Palmer
A collection of eighteenth century board games
New for the 2012 season, Waddesdon Manor has a surprising and intriguing collection of 18th Century board games on display.
Picture of Stansted Park
England’s loveliest cricket grounds
Stansted Park has long been associated with the fine sport of cricket. The first recorded cricket match at Stansted Park was held in June 1741 when Slindon played Portsmouth and won by nine wickets.
South West Back to top
CHAVENAGE HOUSE - Gloucestershire
Picture of Chavenage
One of the Queen’s granddaughter’s first equestrian events
Chavenage used to hold an annual horse eventing competition known as the Beaufort Junior One Day Event. This was one of Zara Phillips' (the Queen’s eldest granddaughter) first eventing competitions.
Picture of Athelhampton House
Home to the annual (plastic) duck race
Athelhampton was the setting for gentle sports, such as fishing on the River Piddle which runs through its grounds. Archery was practised on the back lawn where the Dovecote now stands.
Picture of Lulworth Castle & Park
Seven generations with a passion for sailing
The Weld Family, owners of the Lulworth Estate in Purbeck, have a colourful yachting past. The family shared a passion for sailing over seven generations and were very influential in the sailing world both as founder members of the Yacht Club Cowes and as successful racers.
North West Back to top
DALEMAIN - Cumbria
Picture of Dalemain
The World’s Original Marmalade Awards
Strictly speaking, marmalade making is not a sport or game, but this quirky international competition does get the competitive juices of national pride flowing!
West Midlands Back to top
EASTNOR CASTLE - Herefordshire
Picture of Eastnor Castle
“Mud, mud, glorious mud; Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood…”
Popular preconceptions that the British character is all about dignity, elegance and the stiff upper lip will be shaken to the core at the Mud Runner competition at Eastnor Castle!
WESTON PARK - Shropshire
Picture of Weston Park
Inspiration for the modern Olympic Games
In 1850, the small Shropshire town of Much Wenlock hosted the National Olympian Games.
East of England Back to top
Picture of Glemham Hall
The founder of Ipswich Town Football Club
Glemham has long standing links with Ipswich Town Football Club which was started in 1936 by the current owner’s grandfather.
East Midlands Back to top
Picture of Tissington Hall
England’s champion quarter-miler but a seedy athlete!
Sir William FitzHerbert, 7th Baronet of Tissington (1874- 1963), the present owner’s great- uncle, was blessed with great sporting ability.
BURGHLEY HOUSE - Lincolnshire
Picture of Burghley House
Home to an Olympic Gold Medal winner and inspiration for the film 'Chariots of Fire'
Burghley has a fine sporting pedigree, as one of the country’s more colourful Olympic champions was a former owner of this great Elizabethan house.
COTTESBROOKE HALL - Northamptonshire
Picture of Cottesbrooke Hall
Home to the Northamptonshire Grand Steeplechase and British Sporting Art
Cottesbrooke Estate held The Grand Northamptonshire Steeplechase, and the owners have a series of 4 paintings showing the event.
Wales Back to top
Picture of Fonmon Castle
Olympic training sand dunes
Although Fonmon Castle itself does not have any links to sports and games, it is near a beautiful spot called Merthyr Mawr.
London Back to top
Picture of 7 Hammersmith Terrace
The venue for some interesting Oxford and Cambridge boat race parties
7 Hammersmith Terrace, located on Hammersmith's historic riverside, hosted some interesting Oxford & Cambridge boat race parties. Famous personalities from the arts and crafts movement watched the race.
Yorkshire and The Humber Back to top
KIPLIN HALL - Yorkshire
Picture of Kiplin Hall
A great grouse shot
Kiplin’s best sporting link (albeit rather a gruesome one!) is to a previous owner, the 6th Lord Walsingham.