It was the first venue offering adult-only mini golf in Scotland but the couple behind what was Fore Play golf have refused to stand still.

Now co-owners Kasia and Craig Neilson have claimed another first after swapping their Glasgow-based golf-holes for an array of competitive carnival games – said to be the country’s first adult-only fairground.

Just twelve weeks since reopening as Fayre Play in the city’s Kinning Park area, more than 10,000 people have flocked to experience the unique concept.

Combining nostalgia or “that youthful rose-tinted glasses feeling” and a healthy level of competition, adults can release their inner child through games ranging from ‘Skee Baw’ to hooking ducks.  

Following the successful debut, they have now also announced plans to bring the fairground to their Edinburgh location in Picardy Place on July 1.

Mr Neilson said that while they were the only adult crazy golf space in Glasgow when they opened, “you’re now looking at four or five very similar experiences”.

“You can’t stand still, or you end up being left behind,” Mr Neilson told the Herald. “That’s the reality of it, you’ve got to keep changing, and improving.

“I am not saying this will stay Fayre Play forever, there’s a few more ideas in here about what we could be doing.”

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The husband-and-wife duo first opened Fore Play in 2018, with no previous hospitality experience having worked as an investment banker and railway regulator respectively.

Mr Neilson joked: “People were like what do you guys contribute to the world?”

“We had no idea of how inexperienced we were,” he added about the initial launch. “We opened with nine holes, five tables and no heating but people were so nice because they could see we had no money but we had so much passion.”

During the past five years, they have had a “massive rollercoaster” with repeated lockdowns starting just eighteen months into their venture followed by soaring costs of doing business.

But it was “probably just three days” into the opening of Fayre Play before they decided they would bring it to the capital too.

“I was like it’s amazing, I love this,” he said. “I just love seeing smiles on people's faces. I’ve developed an addiction for bringing new things and the smiles and happiness.

“Why keep this under wraps when we have the ability to unroll it [in Edinburgh]”?

The co-owner added about the Glasgow Fayre Play: “It’s been three months now and we’ve not really seen the foot coming off the pedal to be honest.”

The Herald:

He added that 10,000 visitors over three months, when they only open four days a week, is “nuts for something like this”.

While the games have been continuously modified as the small team of 50 employees across both Glasgow and Edinburgh adjusts to the fairground concept, one thing seems certain to stay – the ducks.

The plushie ducks, available in a small and large size, are given as prizes to those who manage to reach the difficult thresholds set for each game and have inspired an unexpected frenzy.

“Anything we are going to do will have that competitive aspect to it,” Mr Neilson said.  “Now we also have the additional competitive aspect where you are playing for a duck which has sent people wild.”

Team members have even seen people climbing over a wall to try and sneak one away, but the owner revealed that one in 20 players walks home with the prize.

Commenting on the occasional complaint of it being too hard, he joked: “We’re giving away one in 20 – that’s telling me something about your ability to play. Sorry, the reality is that you're not good enough for a duck.

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The Herald:

“It’s not for kids, it’s designed for adults,” he adds. “It’s supposed to be tough. The ducks are for those who have exceptional talent.”

The venue, like its previous mini-golf iteration, is distinctly Scottish with references to Tunnock’s Teacakes on the shooting game or Panther Milk bottles used on the ring toss.

While the food is inspired by American fairgrounds, they use produce from local butchers and suppliers.

“People really do recognise where you’ve made that little bit of effort to tailor it to the people here,” Mr Neilson said.

Their Edinburgh mini-golf location will begin its transformation into a fairground at midnight on June 17.

The design will be influenced by lessons learned through the Glasgow launch but still promises “many new ideas”.

Following a few turbulent years, including the first Covid-19 lockdown just weeks after opening their first Edinburgh pop-up, the team just “want a clear run”.

The co-owner added: “We are still trying to recover from last year and it is just about getting that little bit of stability.

“It has been probably one of the most difficult periods to start something like this, I am just grateful the doors are still open. We just want a couple years of a clear run as anyone in the industry does.”