With the Rugby World Cup action kicking off this week, and a heat wave keeping spirits high, London is consumed by sports fever right now. Plenty of us are looking for active ways to enjoy the weather while it’s here, or fun ways to keep fit. Fortunately, there are loads of sports and sports-adjacent endeavours to choose from. Whether you want to test your own footballing abilities, or channel your inner Spiderman and see how fast you can scale a wall, there’s a venue for you. So here are 13 of the most thrilling sports activities to engage in, in London.
1. TOCA Social
One of the newest additions to the O2, TOCA Social has quickly become one of its most popular venues. For the uninitiated, it’s the world’s first interactive football and dining experience. But that doesn’t mean you’re expected to hit a half volley whilst you’re tucking into a meal – as impressive as that would be. Instead, guests are challenged to a set of football games relating to their ability to hit the target, or in some cases, avoid hitting certain targets. No matter your level of footballing ability, you’re guaranteed to have a good time. All the while you’re free to enjoy drinks and chow down on food, with a range of cocktails, milkshakes, and non-alcoholic options available.
📍 Peninsula Square, SE10 0DX.
🚇 The nearest station is North Greenwich.
2. Use A 5 A Side App (like Footy Addicts)
If you fancy a proper kickabout out on the pitch, this one’s for you. Gone are the days of having to actually organise a game. Instead, you can now jump on an app like Footy Addicts, and they’ll do all the heavy lifting. You don’t even need to organise a full team, you can opt to join a one-off game as a solo player. With no long-term commitments, you could easily just play one game and hang up your boots, never to play for a team again. You could also obviously organise regular games for a team of your own creation. It’s entirely up to you!
3. Ice Skating
It may still only be early September, but we’re already getting plenty of notice about ice skating venues returning to London. There’s even a brand new one opening on the Kensington Palace Heliport! Looking ahead to the cooler weather, who doesn’t want to glide around the ice and get into the winter spirit? Or, in some cases, who doesn’t want to cautiously hug the edge of an ice rink to avoid any embarrassing falls as kids whizz past? In classic London form, you’re absolutely spoilt for choice. Check out last year’s roundup of London ice-skating rinks for an idea of what you can expect this year!
4. Shooting Range
You might be wondering why a shooting range is on a list of sports activities… The answer: if it’s good enough for the Olympics, then who are we to disagree? Your next thought might be “but guns are illegal in the UK”, and you’d largely be correct. But there are a few instances where guns can be used legally. One such example is London’s assortment of registered shooting ranges where professional instructors walk guests through and oversee the experience. No matter where you are in London, there’s likely a shooting range not too far from you. Fancy giving it a go?
If shooting ranges can be considered a sports activity, then we reckon clay shooting also counts. Even if it is virtual clay shooting… But that’s what makes it so fun, and accessible! At Clay’s‘ two London venues, guests can compete in a series of games that put their shooting skills to the test. Without any real bullets or shots, it’s a fun-filled day of friendly (or not-so-friendly) competition, enhanced by an impressive selection of food and drinks.
📍 55 Moorgate, EC2R 6LL & North Dockside, On the Wharf 1 Cabot Square, West India Ave, E14 4QJ.
🚇 The nearest stations are Moorgate & Canary Wharf.
6. Whistle Punks Axe Throwing
When it comes to axe throwing, the questions start cropping up again: Is it a sport? Is it not? Well, who actually cares? Let’s just call this one sports-adjacent, and at the very least it’s definitely a ‘sports activity’. Regardless of what you categorise it as – it’s bloody (not literally) axe throwing! You’re basically being given the chance to channel your inner Viking and launch axes down a course. Granted, you will probably be absolutely shocking at it when you start. But over the course of a 70-minute session, and with the help of the instructor, you’ve got plenty of time to hit the bullseye. Or at least just throw an axe that stays stuck in the target instead of bouncing onto the floor…
📍 53 Eastcastle Street, W1W 8DN.
🚇 The nearest station is Oxford Circus.
7. Home Run House
Here’s one for the American immigrants, or just those who are interested in the game, Home Run House pits guests against a classic baseball pitching machine. They have collaborated with America’s Major League Baseball(MLB) to deliver the most authentic baseball experience you can get. All abilities are welcome at the batting cages, so you can dial the pitching machine up or down to suit the experience that you want to have. You should come out with a better batting ability as the technology on offer is used to track performance by the pros. If you don’t, at least you’ll have had a laugh and a handful of dopamine-boosting releases of frustration as you smash the ball back from whence it came.
Home Run House is currently temporarily closed, with a new location in the books to open soon!
8. Mini Golf
Mini golf, crazy golf or whatever you want to call it, is an elite activity. And London offers up a glut of options to enjoy. Traditional golf can be a little, predictable, but crazy golf ups the challenge in the best way. Arguably, it could even be said to be better than traditional golf. Don’t believe us? Here are three reasons we reckon it’s more fun than normal golf: One, the courses are much smaller, so no need for long walks (although the buggies do look quite fun). Two, the obstacles usually appear to be plucked straight from the mind of the Joker – you could be required to make a putt that requires your ball to bounce across drum skins. Three, you can drink the whole way through. Does it really need any more selling than that?
But what if you just want to whack a few balls without worrying too much about aim or target? Arguably the most fun part of golf without the faff can be reproduced at a driving range. Rather than worrying about hitting the fewest number of shots to get the ball in the hole, hit as many shots as you want. In fact, the more you hit, the better you should get. So, tee up and swing for the fences until you’re satisfied (or run out of balls).
Go-karting is a sport, right? F1 counts as one, and by that logic, so does go-karting since it’s essentially the same premise. It’s just, you know, a bit smaller. So gear up (sorry we had to do it) and put your skills to the test. You don’t even need to be a petrolhead to enjoy go-karting, you just need a smidge of competitiveness. As soon as you get a little taste of just how fast the karts can go, you’ll be gunning to fly down the straights and take the top spot. There are several locations in London (and just outside of it) where you can take to the track, so find out which go-karting venue is nearest to you and stick the pedal to the metal!
11. F1 Arcade
F1 Arcade is a first-of-its-kind experiential venue that gets you as close to being in an F1 driver’s seat as possible in London. The venue features 60 motion F1 simulators that make use of physics that emulates 2022 vehicle specifications as well as official licensing. Not only do you get to simulate driving an F1 car, but you’ll also get to pick out the specific car you want to drive, with each one offering a slightly different experience. To cap it all off, like a number of other options on this list, there’s a wide variety of drinks to sip and food to chow down on before, during, and after your experience.
📍 1 New Change, EC4M 9AF.
🚇 The nearest station is St. Paul’s.
12. Rock Climbing
Whether you’re looking for top-rope climbing (climbing a tall wall with the rope anchored at the top of the wall), lead climbing (climbing a tall wall, and clipping into safety anchors as you go), or bouldering (climbing shorter routes, without a rope), there are a huge number of climbing gyms in London that will sort you out. And as fun as they are, they’re also great full-body workout. It’s one of the best sports activities to do in London, combining amusement and benefits all in one. Be aware that due to the sport’s risk of injury, you will need to do an intro course, or be supervised by an experienced climber.
Last but not least, we have trampolining, bringing us ever closer to the dream of doing a backflip in our everyday lives. You’ll find yourself flipping in no time! Whether you’re after fitness classes, family-friendly fun, or just a huge space lined with trampolines and free jumping equipment, there’s definitely a place for you.