Lockdown luxuries

Thanks to technology and clever design work, there is no limit to the leisure activities you can enjoy in your home. Home cinemas and gyms are a given these days, so here’s a pick of some of the more novel entertainment you could have under your own roof. Lockdown or no lockdown, with a few of these to play with you’ll never want to go out…

Golf simulator

Courses might be shut right now but install a golf simulator at home and you can enjoy as many rounds as you like. Basement installations are the norm, as there aren’t usually any windows to break. And you’ll need a space that has sufficient depth and a ceiling at least 3.2 metres high, to allow for a full swing. Just imagine it, after a session on the virtual fairways, you won’t have far to go for a drink at the nineteenth!

Developer of luxury homes Oakbridge Bespoke reports an increasing number of requests for golf simulators. “Golf is a great way to clear the mind of distractions and shut off the digital world,” said Michael Clifton, Head of Design at Oakbridge Bespoke. “The focus on mind/body connection is essential to maintaining good mental health – and not just during the pandemic. Though of course it is particularly important right now!”

Car simulator

For a more exhilarating way to while away lockdown days, consider one of two new car simulators launched for the luxury home market. The first from Aston Martin, called the AMR-C01 and produced in partnership with a technology specialist, is especially tantalising. With a lightweight carbon fibre monocoque and using the latest technology, it offers a fully immersive driving experience for the home user.

Alternatively, the Formula Simulator won’t fail to set motor sports fans’ pulses racing. Produced by Cranfield Simulation, experts in high-tech simulator solutions, it offers an authentic high-octane Formula 1 experience. “Most simulators used in motorsport are little more than fairground rides,” said Ian Poll, Emeritus Professor of Aerospace Engineering, Cranfield University. “This system, however, uses a variety of carefully tailored inputs to the body’s sensory system and the driver’s brain interprets these to be the result of real accelerations being applied to the body. If the brain believes it, simulation becomes reality and the training value is considerably enhanced.”

Ski simulator

Bring the mountain to… your living room

Travel restrictions mean the annual trip to the Alps or Colorado is a non-starter for most of us this year. But that needn’t mean you can’t enjoy the adrenalin rush of flying down the pistes. If you’ve got the space you could bring the slopes to your home virtually.

With its cutting edge ski and snowboard simulators, pioneering VR developer SkyTechSport combines virtual reality with clever apparatus that reproduces the sensation of skiiing or boarding. Its groundbreaking technology can be used at any level – from Olympian athletes to absolute beginners. You might get to hit the slopes after all and you can still enjoy a glass of gluhwein – without frozen toes.

Bowling alley

A great showpiece in any home, the entertainment offered by a private ten-pin bowling lane (or two!) is timeless. It’s ideal for having fun with the family or a group of friends. Typically, you need around 100 feet, to include the lane and a small seating area. Most installers will offer ongoing maintenance and call-out services, so it’s a complete hands-off. For a real funky edge, you could add some disco lights.

Climbing wall

Who needs yoga? A climbing wall is the ultimate test of strength, suppleness and focus


Really active types and anyone with lively children will appreciate the appeal of a private climbing wall in their home. These can be outdoors, or if you have a multi-storey open-plan living area, clever architects can incorporate them into your interior space and make a stand-alone feature of them. Or just keep it in the children’s play area. Either way, climbing walls aren’t just eye-catching but they’re also a great way to work out.

Basketball court

Not so long ago, the snooker room was the traditional must-have in a stately residence. Then came the more diverse games room, for pool, table tennis, table football – whatever you could fit in. Now though, it’s not unheard of for homes of sporty people, in particular in the US, to have a private basketball court. What better way to wind down than to shoot a few hoops.

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