Bowling in London? We’ve found the most luxurious ten-pin bowling alleys that won’t drive you spare.
‘If horse racing be the sport of kings, then surely bowling is… a very good sport as well.’ We couldn’t agree with Homer Simpson more – here are some super-cool ten-pin bowling alleys in London for your next group day out.
1) The Croc, Soho
Deep beneath the streets of Soho, the luxurious Ham Yard Hotel has its own private, four-lane bowling alley, with some gorgeous retro design work. You can book in a lane or hire the whole thing, so you and your friends can play with your balls in perfect privacy. By far the most expensive option amongst our bowling alleys at £20 per person, but likely one of the most stylish. More info here.
2) All Star Lanes, Holborn
The All Star Lanes group’s most centrally-located bowling alley, it’s home to a four-lane hall, plus a hireable private room (pictured) with two lanes of its own. The kitchen serves up classic American diner dishes – think mac’n’cheese, buttermilk fried chicken, and seriously substantial cheeseburgers – while the bar offers some mean G&Ts. It’s £9.95 per person during peak times, but they’re currently only offering peak bowling slots to those dining with a main course in their restaurant. A Monday offer of two games for £10 is enticing, though. More info here.
3) Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes, Holborn
This eight-lane bowling alley is a favourite with night-owls – pre-pandemic, it was open until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays (although these late night sessions appear to be on hold for now) – and also hosts retro-inflected club nights, like the Sixties soul-fest All Shook Up. The diner provides massive sharing pizzas among other dishes; there’s also the private five-lane Kingpin Suite to hire, or five karaoke rooms you can book. £45 per lane per hour (for up to six players, which would be £7.50 each), advance booking is strongly recommended. More info here.
4) All Star Lanes, Brick Lane
Another All Star Lanes venue in the heart of east London, this one’s home to a six-lane main hall, a hireable Manhattan-inspired ‘Penthouse’ bowling alley with three private lanes, and ample drinking and dining space for some après-bowl. £9.95 peak times, but again, you’ll need to get a main course in their restaurant to secure a spot during peak hours. More info here.
5) Queens, Queensway
Also home to an ice rink (which has been known to offers ice karting races) and a vintage arcade, this 12-lane titan offers ‘competition quality’ bowling in a handsome neon-lit space. The VIP ‘Liquor Lanes’ offers a sophisticated experience with bright red bowling lines, turquoise banquettes, and your own host. Food and drink is provided by the much-loved burger scientists from MeatLiquor. £10.50 at peak times if you pre-book, £11.50 for walk-ins. More info here.
6) Rowans, Finsbury Park
A cult hero amongst London bowling alleys! This beloved old-school venue might not win quite so many style points, but with 24 lanes, late opening hours (until 2.30am Fridays and Saturdays), pool tables and karaoke, this turns into a bit of a party on a Friday night. £7.30 at peak times (£8 on Fri and Sat) means it’s one of London’s best cheap thrills. More info here.
7) All Star Lanes, Westfield Stratford
ASL’s biggest bowling alley, this one sits in the enormous east London shopping mall and offers 12 lanes to choose from, and the usual menu. As usual, £9.95 peak times, and again you’ll need to pair it with dinner to secure a lane. More info here.
8) Tenpin Acton, Acton
West Londoners can head to Tenpin Acton to scatter the pins across a frankly staggering twenty-eight lanes, and whilst the regular game is fun, the venue has also perfected a higher form of bowling known as HyperBowling. Essentially, you can increase your score by bouncing your balls off the coloured bumpers before you hit the pins, and is probably quite handy if your radar is wildly off at the best of times. They’ve also got something called ‘Cosmic Bowling’, where both you and the pins will glow beneath ultraviolet light. £7.45 for one game,more info here.
9) All Star Lanes, Westfield White City
The next stop on our tour of luxury bowling London is this lovely set of ten-pin lanes. Another production from the All Star crew, this eight-lane alley is inspired by the art deco aesthetics of 1950’s Miami. There really has been no expense… spared. £9.95 peak times, and again you’ll need to pair it with dinner to secure a lane. More info here.
10) Lewisham Lanes, Lewisham
It’s no-frills, high-stakes bowling at Lewisham Bowl – well, high-stakes in the sense that you probably really, really hate losing. It’s £7.50 per adult per game, but with a range of family and daily deals on offer, it’s an excellent bowling alley if you’re hoping to keep the cost down. More info here.
11-12) Hollywood Bowl, Surrey Quays and O2 Arena
Old-fashioned pin-smashing – without the leather sofas and mixologists – at one of the UK’s biggest bowling alley franchises. The Surrey Quays site has 28 lanes(!), plus an American-style diner and amusements arcade, whilst the O2 Arena has a twelve-lane alley that’s best enjoyed before a massive gig. More info on Surrey Quays here, and on the O2 Arena here.
For more fun and games in London, check out our roundup of activities that competitive types will love!
Also published on Medium.