THERE’S a dart board, two TVs, a bar complete with draught beer pumps and lots of framed football memorabilia.

I suppose it is what you would expect inside a man cave.

A father-of-two who spent six months and £2,000 building the manly haven at his home in Scotland has been crowned the winner of Britain’s best man cave. Graeme Strachan and his friends created a games room and bar, decorated in Aberdeen FC’s colours.

The term ‘man cave’ is a recent invention and was certainly not around when I was growing up, although there were plenty of men doing their own thing in their own space.

Garden sheds, rooms above garages and lofts - I can remember many homes where the man of the house often retreated to these places. One friend’s dad had a train set in a space above the garage - we children were only allowed in under strict supervision. Another was never out of his shed at the bottom of a long garden - his wife used to ring a bell to summon him for dinner.

One of our relatives had a room with a full-size snooker table in an outbuilding. It was accessed by a spiral staircase and while I loved going up, even as a child I remember thinking that it was a man’s room where men did men’s things - a man cave.

Also known as manspace, manland or mantuary, today’s man caves are purposely created as male havens, many with black leather recliners, wide screen TVs, mini fridges, dart boards, table football, pool tables and other trappings traditionally associated with blokes.

Awash with the latest technology, 21st century man caves don’t come cheap. As actual rooms in the home, they are a far cry from cobweb-strewn sheds. But they offer the same thing - an escape.

Man Caves are big business. Interiors magazines go a bundle on them. There’s even an American TV series Man Caves, introduced by the words: ‘wives and girlfriends just don’t understand that sometimes a man needs a place in the home to call his very own, where he can relax, hang out with his friends and be surrounded by the interests closest to his heart.

Wikipaedia describes it as a place where ‘guys can do as they please, without fear of upsetting any female sensibility about house decor or design.’

It is almost exclusively a man’s world, or as one TV network describes it, ‘an exclusive, guys-only hang out space.’

The phrase may be new, but man caves are really no different to the gentleman’s clubs of days gone by, with their leather armchairs, snooker tables and neatly laid out newspapers.

The closest my husband gets to having a man cave is his shed. Were it not so full of clutter he would almost certainly spend more time in it, potting plants and tinkering with tools, hiding away from me.

Women don’t have anything remotely similar. If we did, it would be mocked into oblivion. How would our families react if we suddenly suggested creating rooms of our own papered with floral Laura Ashley wallpaper and awash with pink scatter cushions, where we could sit, drink wine and eat cake with friends while watching old episodes of Sex and the City. It wouldn’t go down well. But fellas get away with it. A man wants to take over a whole room in the house and fill it with 'bloke stuff' - no problem.

It only recently dawned on me that my dad has a man cave. He climbs a pull-down ladder to a room in the low roof space above our kitchen, where he listens to jazz. Carpeted and containing books and a CD player, for him it is a relaxing haven, a little man cave.