Everyone for tennis;Carry on camping;Summer School

14th August 1998 at 01:00

The David Lloyd Tennis Centre. This tennis heaven basks in Portugal's Algarve at the resort of Vale do Lobo. That means "valley of the wolf", but fear not, it's a safe haven of British-ness known affectionately as Wimbledon-in-the-Sun. And here the sun beats down for an average of 3,000 hours a year, which is what it's supposed to do when you play tennis, but in England hardly ever does. It's a good place for sport star-spotting - Tim Henman's parents have a house here, former Brit-ish number one Jeremy Bates pops in and the former England rugby fly half Rob Andrew has brushed up his game here.

Who goes?

Not just Wimbledon semi-finalists. The junior tennis programme caters for nine to 15-year-olds, who may or may not have their sights set on a Grand Slam. Parties of children must be accompanied by a coach or teacher.


This is sports world. The tennis centre has eight hard and four synthetic clay courts, a pool in which to cool off after pounding the courts, a clubhouse with table tennis, cable TV and table football. The resort is also famous for golf; nearby Barringtons Golf Academy has a 29-bay driving range, pitching and chipping greens. There are also watersports, horse-riding, go-karting and a waterslide park. And then it's over to the natural attractions - pine woods, red sandstone cliffs, sandy beaches I What will they learn?

To be independent from their parents in a sheltered environment. The focus of their day will be tennis, with two hours' group coaching a day. These sessions emphasise fun and games to foster friend-ships, not just technical expertise.

What will they live on?

Continental breakfast is served on the club terrace, as are the evening feasts - pasta suppers, pizza nights or barbecues. They'll need pocket money for lunches and snacks.

What goes on when the sun goes down?

A quiz night, barbecues, trips to beach restaurants, live music - anyone who fancies flexing their vocal chords may sing. There's a weekly prize night and the pros give exhibition matches.

Lodgings Villas on the resort cater for up to six guests each - all are within a short walk of the centre. One adult stays in each villa.

Keeping in touch Children are encouraged to phone home on arrival. Phone or fax messages from parents are passed on.

Getting there A flight of two hours and 10 minutes from Gatwick to Faro airport, then a 30-minute drive to the resort. The David Lloyd Centre can organise minibus transport for groups.

What does it cost?

pound;299 February half-term, pound;309 Easter holidays, pound;449 summer holidays and pound;319 October half term. The price includes accommodation based on four people sharing an apartment, transport and 10 hours of group tennis coaching. Flights are extra - expect to pay between pound;140 and pound;190. The best times for junior tennis camps are at the beginning of the summer holidays (avoiding the hottest and busiest part of the summer), Christmas, Easter and half terms.

And if they hate it ...

The David Lloyd Centre is confident that this scenario is "pretty unlikely". Arrangements for returning early would depend on flight availability.

For bookings contact: Light Blue Travel, 1 Longview Terrace, Histon Road, Cambridge CB4 3JH. Tel: 01223 568904

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