11 Sober Activities to Get You Through Dry January

Doing Dry January? There are plenty of ways to embrace sober London, from a simple walk to adult-only ball pools, ice skating and London’s sober rave scene…  

Lead image: Go Ape, Battersea

1 Learn something new
Learn a new skill to add to any sober smugness you may have. Biscuiteers offer classes on cake-icing so you can try your hand at cake and biscuit decorating so they look sweet as sugar , as well as selling a host of sugary treats. Greenwich Pantry offers kids and adult cookery classes such as bread making and sushi workshops, as well as a knife skills class where you can finesse your chopping, slicing and dicing techniques, and fermentation classes too. Eataly also has a host of Italian cooking classes where you can make various pastas, lasagna as well as classic Italian desserts, starters and mains. Botanical Boys has a steady calendar of terrarium workshops and City Lit has more than 5,000 courses, for those who want to dip more than just a toe in something new.

2 See some comedy
Although getting boozed often sees you busting out a laugh at the unfunniest of things, there are plenty of great comedy nights in the capital that should see you belly laughing while sober. On Thursdays, Hackney’s Moth Club plays host to Knock2Bay comedy nights, where you can see some of your TV faves perform new materials as well as up and commers. The likes of Mae Martin, Aisling Bea, Jamie Demetriou and the Crybabies have all performed here. The Clapham Grand is also another top spot for comedy, as is Soho Theatre, for those who like their comedy with a theatrical flair. The Comedy Store in London’s West End is an institution, as is the long-running Banana Cabaret in Balham.

3 Visit The Club Soda Alcohol-Free Off-Licence Pop-Up Shop, West End
Club Soda’ has a pop up off licence that is packed with delicious booze-free drinks. There’s kombucha, zero per cent beers from well-known craft and larger breweries such as Beavertown, Birra Moretti and Brewdog, as well as red wine alternatives and alcohol free spirits too. There’s also kombucha and cocktails too. As Club Soda is a champion of mindful drinking, it’s also a place to meet other people detoxing or practicing mindful drinking and get advice from the pop-up team.
Address: 59 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 7LJ
Website: joinclubsoda.com

4 Unleash Your Inner Child
Adulting, come January, is harder than ever, so it’s no wonder that ‘kidult’ activities are on the rise. So forget about that Monday morning meeting, hideous commute or working from home blues and dive into a giant ball pit, have a sleepover in a museum, run the gauntlet at The Crystal Maze, or play your favourite board games in a bar. Click here for The Resident’s roundup of London’s top kidulting activities.

5 Go Ape in the Tree Tops
You never really lose the urge to climb trees, do you? Well at Go Ape you can spend hours in the tree tops, swinging through the trees and experiencing the great outdoors in a whole new light (or should that be ‘height’?). Go Ape has a growing number of sites in London, including Battersea Park, Alexandra Palace and Cockfosters. You’ll climb rope nets, cross wobbly bridges, scurry through net tunnels and, the best bit, whizz through the woodland on zip lines as a reward for completing each level. They also do occasional special events, such as night climbs. This one’s suitable for both adults and children, with the obstacles and crossings getting more challenging as you progress through the levels up into the tree tops.

6 Try Cold Water Swimming
‘Swimming is always a mind-altering experience,’ says Ella Foote of the Outdoor Swimming Society. ‘Once you have sunk into the water you are left alone with your thoughts and have time to process them. That is why swimming is so popular – the mental as well as physical benefits. In winter you get an extra zing! While standing on a river bank with frost between your toes might make you question your sanity, once in and tingling you cannot beat the feeling. It is euphoric. We can all agree that enjoying leisure outside is a huge benefit, why should it stop in winter? In fact, you could argue it is even more important – getting fresh air, being with nature and getting daylight is a great way to banish winter blues and bugs.’ Head for Brockwell Lido or Tooting Bec Lido, or go wild at Hampstead Ponds or the Serpentine in Hyde Park.

7 Go for a Long Walk
A big, blustery walk isn’t just for Boxing Day. Get some fresh air on one of The Resident’s recommended scenic walks in London, from Hampstead Heath to the Royal Parks. It’s the perfect way to check out London’s zoos and famous historical sites or take in the capital’s surprisingly pretty canals. If central London strolls are more your thing, nothing really beats along the Thames, but a walk through Hackney and the City have their appeal too. For outer London, scope out the Capital Ring – which does exactly what it says on the tin, circumnavigating London – and the Green Chain walks, which cover most of south east London. Richmond and Chiswick are also top places for a stroll.

8 Play Board Games
Love playing board games but want to get out of the house? Your luck is in then, as London’s original board game cafe, Draughts can give you just that. With more than 800 board games as well as small plates, larges plates and sharing boards, you and your friends can spend the night playing your favourite board games, from Monopoly to Hungry, Hungry Hippos. There’s also Library Pot in Richmond, which has a similarly vast number of games to choose from. The cafe costs £5 to enter, but once you’re in you can stay as long as you like and there’s no obligation to order the food or drinks on offer. They have a ball pit, too. Check out The Board Game Cave at Grin & Beer it in Highbury and Loading in Dalston, too.

9 Play an Immersive Adventure Game
Journey through the city, solving clues sent to your phone, with HiddenCity’s immersive adventure games. These treasure hunts make you the hero of your own adventure as you step inside the stories you know and love. Their critically acclaimed games based on Alice in Wonderland, Sherlock Holmes and Snow White, as well as street art tours and twilight games, run every day across the city. There’s also Sherlock: The Game Is Now, the latest game from the team behind Hackney’s Time Run. Mixing the excitement of immersive entertainment with the thrill of intellectual challenge, this new generation of gaming experiences challenge players to race against the clock to crack codes, solve puzzles and progress to the next level. To book see inthehiddencity.com and thegameisnow.com

10 Play Crazy Golf
London is teeming with crazy golf courses these days. From Swingers Crazy Golf in the City and West End, to Junkyard Golf Club and Puttshack at Westfield London, there’s a crazy golf course to suit all types. Do be warned they all serve drinks, so keep your wits – and your will power – about you! It’s also worth keeping an eye out for Plonk crazy golf too in London Fields, Camden Market, Horniman Museum and the soon to open Borough Market (Opening Feb). 

11 Discover London’s Wildlife 
The RSPB is encouraging people to swap the sofa for the outdoors this January 28-30, with the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. The initiative encourages you to count the birds that land in your local park or garden and tell the RSPB the highest number of each bird species you see at any one time. The London Wetland Centre has a wildlife photography workshop should you want to see cute critters in-focus, and you can also just stroll around the centre any day of the week, keeping an eye for the many types of birds visiting the wetlands this time of year.

how to make:
the perfect mocktail

Friends around for dinner? Ditch the sparkling water and treat your
booze-free friends to this marvellous mocktail…