Lakeside Leisure Complex

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The Lakeside Leisure Complex is a hotel, entertainment and leisure complex in the village of Frimley Green near Camberley in west Surrey. It is most famous as being the venue of the BDO World Darts Championship, holding both men's and women's events.[1]


Bob Potter OBE in 2017

The complex was established in 1972, when Bob Potter (born 1928) bought Wharfenden House and the surrounding grounds and lake. He built it up from a 500 seat venue to a 1,000 seat venue, which became popular on the cabaret circuit. The Lakeside fell victim to a fire in the late 1970s, but reopened after refurbishment.

A tragedy struck during the staging of the 2010 World Darts Championship, the 25th year at the Lakeside. During a period of poor weather conditions on 7 January 2010, the body of a man, who had been staying there whilst watching the competition, was found under the frozen lake on the complex.[2] The complex's owners, Bob Potter Leisure Limited, were fined £85,000 for health and safety violations.[3]


The Lakeside became the venue of the World Darts Championship in 1986,[4][5] where it has been held every year since, and the Club has also sponsored the event since 2004.

The venue has played host to acts including Tommy Cooper, Morecambe and Wise, Sammy Davis Jr, Frankie Vaughan[6] and Bob Monkhouse.[7]

The 'Small Business Bureau Conference', held in 1987, was claimed by the organisers to be then the largest business conference in Europe.[8]


The largest venue is the Main Cabaret Suite (used for the darts) which has a capacity of 1,170 with conference and banqueting facilities. There is also the smaller Canal Suite (capacity 350), the State Suite (capacity 100) and smaller function rooms - Bob's Bar, the Sharman Suite and the Wine Bar.

The Leisure Club is a members' club with snooker, pool, darts, bowling, squash and bars. In addition, the complex has a nightclub, hotels and restaurants.


Darts commentator and personality Sid Waddell called it "arguably the best club in Britain". According to Waddell, "Tom Jones, Jim Davidson and other stars packed the joint, while Margaret Thatcher herself said it was one of her favourite places for Tory jollies."[9]

Potter and his ownership of the venue is believed to be the inspiration for the Peter Kay television series Phoenix Nights, whose character is named Brian Potter.[10]


  1. ^ "Lakeside Set To Host Biggest Ever BDO World Championships". UK Darts Magazine. October 23, 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
  2. ^ Darts spectator found dead under ice in Surrey lake
  3. ^ Edmondson, Nick (5 Jul 2013). "Company admits safety breaches over frozen lake death". GetSurrey. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
  4. ^ "Darts". The Glasgow Herald. 4 July 1985. p. 23.
  5. ^ "Bristow left in the dark". The Glasgow Herald. 6 November 1985. p. 22.
  6. ^ Irwin, Justin (2008). Murder on the Darts Board. Anova. pp. 4–5.
  7. ^ Rutter, Jason (September 1997). "Stand-up as interaction: Performance and Audience in Comedy Venues" (PDF). University of Saford, Institute for Social Research, Department of Sociology (PhD thesis). p. 102 (pdf p. 117).
  8. ^ "Mrs Thatcher would always ask after our town". Hull Daily Mail. 31 January 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  9. ^ Waddell, Sid (2009). Bellies and Bullseyes: The Outrageous True Story of Darts. Random House.
  10. ^ Keogh, Frank (6 January 2004). "Phoenix flights". BBC Sport. Retrieved 13 January 2014.

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Coordinates: 51°18′11″N 0°43′17″W / 51.3030447°N 0.7214928°W / 51.3030447; -0.7214928