New To Bowls? The Sport and How It's Played

New to Bowls Sport

What Is The Sport?

There are a few different formats of bowls, played both indoors and outdoors, and including popular reduced-size formats like carpet bowls and short mat bowls. All formats follow the basic principle of rolling biased balls (bowls) towards a smaller ball (jack) with the objective of finishing as close as possible.

Bowls at Potters Resort

Indoor Bowls

Perhaps the most popular format with almost 90,000 affiliated players and played widely on carpet surfaces all over the United Kingdom, including on the famous blue carpet at the annual World Indoor Bowls Championships here at Potters Resorts Hopton-on-Sea. Matches are played in various team and scoring formats, with singles and pairs formats contested over two sets plus tie-breakers at the World Championships. The inaugural World Championship was held in 1979 in Scotland, and moved to Potters Resorts Hopton-on-Sea for the first time in 1999.

Carpet Bowls

Carpet Bowls was devised as a variation to indoor bowls, but on a much smaller scale. While the principle aim remains the same, Carpet Bowls is played on a synthetic temporary surface approximately 30ft long and 6ft wide. The bowls are also smaller, but still biased which allows players to avoid an 18-inch circular block in the middle of the mat.

Indoor Bowls at Potters Resort

Short Mat Bowls

Similar to carpet bowls, Short Mat bowls is also played on a synthetic temporary surface, but it is slightly larger, approximately 45ft long and 6ft wide. There is a block in the middle of the surface, as well as 'ditches' at either end, which are marked.

Outdoor Bowls

Outdoor bowls, also known as Lawn Bowls, is played in a similar variety of team and scoring formats to indoor bowls, but outside, most commonly on a flat natural grass surface. This version of the sport has been played in all but one edition of the quadrennial Commonwealth Games since 1930, and has had its own version of the World Championships every four years since 1966.

Outdoor Bowls at Potters Resort

Why Try It At Potters?

Every year at Potters Resorts Hopton-on-Sea, we host a range of midweek bowling breaks from September to mid-May (excluding school holidays) which are hosted by our Bowls ambassador and world number 1, Greg Harlow. Over the course of each indoor season, we welcome around 1600 teams on resort. It's the perfect way to play with old friends, as well as make some new ones in the warm and friendly environment of the UK’s first All Inclusive Resort.

If you are are new to bowls, our Bowls International Celebrity Bowls Breaks are a great opportunity to learn some new tips. Due to the variety of competitions we have, it is not always possible to play specific formats of Bowls, please check which bowls formats are available when making your booking.

View Bowls Breaks


About Potters Resorts Hopton-on-Sea

Potters Resorts Hopton-on-Sea is the UK's first All-Inclusive Resort, offering short breaks on the picturesque Norfolk Coast. We are committed to giving you the best bowling break experience possible, we have 14 indoor rinks and 4 outdoor rinks. When the rinks are not being used for our in-house tournaments you are more than welcome to use them for roll-ups with friends - the perfect opportunity to give it a try!