Adulting is hard, especially in a non-stop, high-pressure capital city like London, so it’s no wonder that ‘kidult’ activities are on the rise. The Resident seeks out London’s best activities for those who have decided they don’t want to grow up…
Lead image: Ballie Ballerson
Words: Andrew Zuccala & Victoria Purcell
‘Research shows that being playful makes us happier, more open-minded, gets the creative juices flowing, helps us bond together and can even help those suffering from depression. Humans are hardwired to play, and this doesn’t stop in childhood.’ Richard Wiseman, Professor of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire
1 Flip Out London E6
The capital’s largest trampoline park launched in July at the Granada Theatre in East Ham. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and Rod Stewart have all performed at the iconic art deco venue, which has been transformed into an adventure park following a £3 million renovation. As well as rows of inter-locked trampolines, the three storey arena also features a giant super-slide with an almost vertical 30ft drop, a network of indoor caves, a 100-metre indoor potholing zone, 12 themed climbing walls, plus a laser maze, cyber tower, ninja warrior course and dodgeball. For actual real kids (under 5s), there’s also an enchanted castle themed soft play zone with building blocks, play tunnels, balance beams, slides and a ball pool. There are also three themed cafes. Activities from £9.95. Soft play from £5. South of the river? There is also a Flip Out trampoline park in Wandsworth.
The old Gala Bingo Hall, 281 Barking Road E6 1LB; flipout.co.uk
2 Ballie Ballerson, Shoreditch
Split over two floors, Ballie Ballerson in Shoreditch boasts an impressive ball pit with over 200,000 plastic balls as well as foam toys, rubber rings and a DJ playing funk, bass and techno tunes. Play fight with your mates in a giant ball pit where light, art and balls to produce mind bending visuals, before heading upstairs to the graffiti-clad bar and dining space for pizza, fries, craft beers and nostaligc cocktails like the Skittle Sour and Bounty Curly Wurly. On a weekend, check out their bottomless brunch deal.
97-113 Curtain Road, Shoreditch EC2A 3BS; ballieballerson.com
3 Junkyard Golf Club, Brick Lane
Located on Brick Lane, Junkyard Golf Club is an underground crazy golf haven supplying caddies, private bars and DJs for all your late-night shenanigans. Boasting four golf courses, there is plenty of scope to hire out small sections or the entire venue while taking advantage of the package deals. Bart’s Dog Kart is on hand to provide The Original, The Brooklyn and The Chiuahua plus the Veggie Dog for vegetarians, 100% quality hot dogs laden with combinations of nacho cheese, pico de gallo, jalapeno, sour cream, guacamole, sriracha, crispy onions and coriander. Omnomnom.
The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane E1 6QL; junkyardgolfclub.co.uk
4 Draughts Board Game Cafe, Haggerston
London’s first ever board game bar, having come into being thanks to the ever so popular crowdfunding trend, hosts a huge library of over 800 board games. For £5 each, you and your friends can spend the night playing your favourite board games be it the game that always ends in a fight – Monopoly – some more childish fun with Hungry, Hungry Hippos, or the drinkers’ game of choice, Cards Against Humanity. There are also tournaments, themed evenings and workshops led by professional board game designers.
337 Acton Mews, Haggerston E8 4EA; draughtslondon.com
5 Sleepover at the Natural History Museum, South Kensington
The Natural History Museum is a kidult wonderland. They host a number of adults-only events among the dinosaurs and other beastly animals, including their sleepovers and CSI events. Drink, dance and watch a number of spooky films around the relics before nestling up under a T-Rex at one of their DinoSnores overnight parties or take part in a forensic crime scene investigation throughout the halls of the Museum at night. The list of kidult activities is ever-growing due to high demand, so keep an eye on the events calendar.
Cromwell Road, South Kensington SW7 5BD; nhm.ac.uk
6 Jumping Giants, Heathrow
Up the fun factor of your workouts at Jumping Giants in Heathrow, a trampoline arena with over 100 interconnecting trampolines, including angled wall trampolines, launching decks, Foam Pits with launch pads, extreme Dodgeball Courts, Slam Dunk Basketball, Junior Jump Zones, Ninja Courts, Battle Beams and a Half Pipe. Go with friends or join a team. Just make sure to warm up and stretch – our bodies aren’t as young as they used to be!
Coln Industrial Estate, Old Bath Road, Slough SL3 0NJ; jumpgiants.com
7 Biscuiteers, Notting Hill
This one is for the creative food-lovers out there. Head inside either the Notting Hill or Northcote Road Biscuiteers boutique for an evening lesson on how to decorate delicious desserts. Held on the last Thursday of every month, from 7pm-8.30pm, you’ll be invited to sip on some prosecco – to help get the creative juices flowing – while being instructed by one of their professional patisserie chefs. This is a relaxed and fun experience for adults wanting to recreate those rainy days when you’d spend all day baking delicious treats with mum or dad.
194 Kensington Park Road W11 2ES & 13 Northcote Road SW11 1NG; biscuiteers.com
8 Time Run Escape Room, Hackney
The Escape Room craze, where you and your friends are locked in a room and have to solve a series of puzzles in order to get out, took London by storm when it first popped up, and there are countless versions across the city, but Time Run has to be the best yet. Take part in a set of immersive adventure games for teams of 3-6 players where you travel backwards and forwards in time throughout a series of hyper-real worlds, trying to save mankind. Sadly no alcohol is permitted for this one, but that never stopped us when we were kids!
9-15 Helmsley Place, Hackney E8 3SB; time-run.com
9 Go Ape, various locations
Swing through the trees and experience new heights at Go Ape, which has a growing number of sites in London, including an urban jungle in leafy Battersea Park. As the weather starts to warm up, what better way to experience the great outdoors than by climbing ropes and whizzing past the tall trees on zip lines? Suitable for both adults and children, the obstacles and crossings get more challenging as you ascend up through the levels into the very tree tops. The zip lines at the end are great fun!
Battersea Park SW11 4NJ; goape.co.uk
10 Drink Shop Do, King’s Cross
Set inside an old porn shop, behind a vintage sweet shop within an old Victorian Turkish Bath lies a world of drunken childish fun. It boasts an impressive calendar of events designed for adults to relive past glory days with the opportunity to take part in events like Play With Clay 80s Style, Lego Robots and Papier Mache Monster Mash, or why not join their weekly Beyoncé dance classes? There’s also dancing and DJs until 2am across both floors come Friday and Saturday. You clearly won’t struggle to find some superb kidult activities all year round at DSD.
9 Caledonian Road, Kings Cross N1 9DX; drinkshopdo.co.uk
11 SFG Club at Roof East, Stratford
Back for 2018, London’s biggest and best adventure playground for grown-ups at Roof East in Stratford (it’s all about car parks these days!) is celebrating 250 years of the circus with bell-tents, jugglers, an updated crazy-golf set-up, Sluggers batting cages and hip-hop bowls, all honouring the great art of circus entertainment. The SFG Club bar serves up Singapore Slings, Alabama Slammers and even a circus-themed cocktail – The Big Top Spritz – and Jimmy Garcia’s BBQ will be offering up surf and turf, burgers and halloumi fries. Rooftop Film Club is there too, as well as Vinyasa Flow Yoga classes. Entry is free; games, yoga and the cinema are priced individually.
Floors 7 & 8, Stratford Multi-Storey Car Park, Great Eastern Way E15 1XE; roofeast.com
12 Swingers Crazy Golf, the City & Marylebone
Swingers, the crazy golf club, is a venue that combines the holy trinity of fun: street food, amazing drinks and competitive socialising, combining them all into one incredible social experience. Swingers is based on a 1920’s golf club set in the bucolic English countryside. The 16,000 sq ft venue, just a stone’s throw from the Gherkin in the City, has two bespoke nine-hole crazy golf courses, five cocktail bars, three of London’s best street-food vendors, a two-storey clubhouse with gin terrace and nightly DJs. Open seven days a week from 12noon till late.
8 Brown’s Buildings EC3A 8AL & 15 John Prince’s Street W1G 0AB; swingersldn.com
13 Fulham Beach Club at Neverland
Who’d have thought you could build sandcastles in London? But you can, at Neverland London. Back for 2018, the Fulham Beach Club has had a revamp and is set for summer with classic beach day activities like sand sculpting, croquet, shuffleboard, putting pong, table tennis. Soak up the sun with alfresco dining courtesy of Jimmy Garcia’s pop up restaurant, the BBQ Club, two bespoke bars serving up cocktails, beer and bottomless brunch, live DJs sets, and beachfront parties. Relax on a cabana, indulge in some delicious treats. Open every Wednesday to Sunday across the summer.
Wandsworth Bridge Road, Fulham SW6 2TY; neverlandlondon.com
14 The Crystal Maze, Angel
Relive the fun and excitement of The Crystal Maze, the 90s cult television show led by Richard O’Brien, by taking part in a recreation of the fully interactive team-building game. Follow the Maze Master through the Aztec, Medieval, Industrial and futuristic zones, solving puzzles and testing your physical endurance while having a laugh with fellow Crystal Maze lovers. And no such experience would be complete without the iconic Crystal Dome.
10-14 White Lion Street, Angel N1 9PD; the-crystal-maze.com
15 Skateboarding at House of Vans
The House of Vans, a free community space below the arches of Waterloo station dedicated to Vans and the skate culture it embraces, leads free learn-to-skate sessions for all ages every weekend with pads, boards, helmets and a locker provided. There’s also a cinema room that hosts free screenings across a wide spectrum of genres, from family friendly to box office blockbusters and foreign language films. For those not up for the half pipe, you can chill in The Wall cafe, which serves up a weekend brunch menu alongside all-American classics.
Arches 228-232, Station Approach Road, Waterloo SE1; houseofvanslondon.com
16 Puttshack, Westfield London
Puttshack has taken the traditional game of crazy golf and fused it with space-age technology to create a ‘world first’ social entertainment concept. Brought to you by the same folks as Bounce – London’s home of ping pong – Puttshack is a social hub design to shake up your childhood nostalgia for crazy golf by adding automatic point scoring, leader boards and intuitive gameplay (plus a side of dining, drinking and great music). Novel holes include the Beer Pong hole, Duck Hunt hole and Half Pipe hole! Launching on 22 June 2018. Each game is nine holes, lasting approx 45 mins to one hour. £12.50 per player.
Westfield London, Ariel Way W12 7HB; puttshack.com
17 Ice Karting at QUEENS: Skate, Dine, Bowl
Ice Karting returns to QUEENS: Skate Dine Bowl in August. After an extensive two-month refurbishment of their famous 12,000 ft sq ice rink – originally built in October 1930 – QUEENS: Skate Dine Bowl has relaunched its infamous Ice Karting. Racing at up to 35kph on specially modified go-karts, the ice presents new challenges for the most seasoned racing expert. Up to eight drivers at one time will put their drifting skills to the test while racing laps around the ice, battling their way onto the leaderboard. Running every Tuesday and Sunday evenings 6.30-10pm. Afterwards, why not celebrate or commiserate at the brand new MEATliquor Queensway right inside QUEENS? Ice Karting is £44pp per 40-minute session.
17 Queensway W2 4PQ; queens.london
18 London Shuffle, Shoreditch
Shuffleboarding is hot. Perhaps the most grown-up of our kidulting experiences (originating on the decks of cruise ships in the early 20th century), it’s still a real good giggle, so London Shuffle has gone from pop-up to permanent with its first permanent home. Launching in Shoreditch on 4 July 2018, the London Shuffle Club is a large, colourful space that features the UK’s first ever open-air shuffleboard terrace. The focus is on the classic floor shuffleboard version of the game, all eased along with guest ales, cocktails and live music. Open Tuesday to Saturday every week from midday to 11pm.
4 Ebor Street, Shoreditch E1 6AW; londonshuffle.com