29 March 2017 | 14 °C

London's Strangest Sports

London's Strangest Sports

Quidditch, anyone? Turns out London's diversity stretches into its sporting activities, too. Here are some of the most unusual and niche sporting activities that the capital invites you to partake in.

Photo: London Unspeakables Quidditch

Quidditch

From the pages of Harry Potter, to the fields of England, Quidditch has undergone quite the journey. It has unfortunately had to drop the flying and deathly dangerousness to cut it in reality, but it looks a whole bag of fun anyway. London Unspeakables are the main (non-university) Quidditch club to join, so mount your Nimbus 2000 and zoom on down.

Medieval sword fighting

Time to party like it's 1399. That's right, sharpen your blade because it's time to swing it recklessly at someone (OK, not recklessly, that's what the lessons are for). Medieval sword fighting is a western martial art that takes much training and dedication to master, and London Longsword Academy is a good place to unsheathe.

Lucha wrestling

Professional wrestling might raise the most eyebrows out of anything on this list. We can already hear the cries of "fake!". While wrestling is largely scripted, it's probably the sport on this list that requires the most physical conditioning (and causes the most pain). Combine that with the level of bizarre fun that surrounds wrestling — especially the high-flying luchador style — and you've got yourself an addictive sport that doesn't take itself too seriously. The London School of Lucha Libre is where your journey should begin, either if you just want to have a good laugh and improve your fitness, or have dreams of international superstardom. Also, if you don't think it's Londony enough, you clearly haven't seen a lucha Freddie Mercury fight at York Hall.

Three-sided football

Two teams good, three teams great. It might sound like a sport dreamed up by drunk mates, but three-sided football's proved it's got legs (usually lots of them). Head to the playing fields of south east London of a Sunday and you'll find fixtures such as Strategic Optimism v Husaria v Athletico Aesthetico. Unlike normal football it's also not frowned on to have a couple of tinnies while playing.

Photo: Bubble Football London

Bubble Football

We've done a round-up dedicated to bubble football — it's that popular nowadays. A beautiful blend of football, dodgems and human-size bubble wrap, this game is less about skill and more about sheer willpower/brute force. It also makes for a wild stag or hen do if you don't mind the odd broken bone by the time of the big day.

Aussie rules

There are eight Aussie rules London clubs. It's funny if you think about it. Aussie rules originated as an evolution of football that was being played by English public schools, but with certain twists to make it more suitable to Australia's conditions. Well the sport has come to England, without the glorious Australian conditions. To find out more, take a look at the governing body AFL England.

Chess boxing

Mental dexterity combines with physical toughness in perhaps the most literal way possible. Rounds of boxing alternate with a game of chess, because flexing your mental muscles is always what you want to do after having your brain bashed in. You can win the entire match either via checkmate or knockout so you have to be equally skilled in both facets of the sport. Brave a class at the Islington Boxing Club.

Hashing

A large portion of a sport's joy for many, is the camaraderie and friendships that go with it. Hashing is mostly dedicated to that aspect of exercise, as it's cross-country running with a twist. You'll find yourself starting and finishing at a pub. A pint (or five) might seem self-defeating for some after all that exercise, but it will definitely be well earned. Find out details of your local hash here.

Roller Skiing. Photo: rollerski.co.uk

Rollerskiing

You'd think cross-country skiing in Hyde Park was all but impossible. But rollerskiing is here to save the day — with organised events inviting beginners and experts a like to partake in this off-piste London sport.

Pole dancing

Pole dancing is moving out of the UV lights and into gymnasiums. This is one of the most intense core workouts you'll find, so don't expect to just waltz in with a few slinky dance moves. Instead you'll be defying the laws of physics with only your own muscles to help you. Try Pole People, and you'll be in pole position in no time. Men are welcome too.

Last Updated 07 December 2016