Continuing our journey around the capital’s sporting opportunities, alphabetically.
There has been a notable surge in the popularity of table tennis with the realisation that you can combine it with drinking, although perhaps not effectively. Specialist ping pong venues have sprung up across the capital, such as aptly named Bounce in Holborn and Ping in Earls Court. These offer high quality table tennis and drinking under the same roof. Other pubs have also latched on to this trend such as the Rosendale pub in Dulwich and The Hurlingham in Fulham, with outdoor and indoor tables on offer. For a more sober game, fixed tables are available in many London parks such as Dulwich Park, Rosemary Gardens, Paddington Recreation Ground and Shoreditch Park. You can see a list of the main outdoor tables in London via the England Table Tennis Association. However, if you cannot face the weather, many sports halls and leisure centres tend to offer table tennis such as those operated by GLL, DC Leisure and Fusion Lifestyle.
Image: psyxjaw in the Londonist Flickr pool.
There are hundreds of martial arts, but taekwondo is one of the most widely recognised, especially after GB medal success in the Olympics. Originating in Korea, it involves kicking and striking your opponent and requires speed, flexibility and strength. There are numerous examples of London taekwondo clubs including Taekwondo London, which has classes in Southwark and Barbican, and Hwarang Taekwondo in Euston. British Taekwondo also has a useful Taekwondo club finder that lists most of the clubs available in London.
After Andy Murray set the world alight at Wimbledon, tennis participation received a much needed boost, catalysed by this summer’s rare London commodity – sun. There are over 700 tennis courts across the capital, typically found in clubs, schools, parks and leisure centres. Excellent examples include All Star Tennis venues Tooting Bec Common, Furzedown Recreation Ground, Leader’s Gardens, King George’s Park and Wandsworth Common. You can use this tennis court locator or the LTAs All Play Tennis initiative to find other courts or join in coaching sessions. Other notable examples of London tennis courts are Burgess Park, Bruce Castle Park, Albert Road Recreation Ground and the centres operated by GLL and Fusion Lifestyle. Finally if you want tennis coaching check out Upmysport who can connect you with tennis coaches around London.
The only sport where getting a ‘turkey’ is actually a good thing, ten-pin bowling is hugely popular and social. Unfortunately, bowling lanes around London, such as the iconic Streatham Megabowl, have declined over the years. However, a recent resurgence of trendier bowling spots includes the likes of All Star Lanes, which mixes drinks, dancing and bowling together at its centres in Holborn, Brick Lane, Stratford and Bayswater. These are perfect for an office party, social hangout or even a hen party. Bayswater has a second bowling centre, with Queens Ice Rink and Bowl. A final option is to check out Ten Pin which has centres in Acton, Bexleyheath and Croydon in the outskirts of London.
Image: probably London's oldest ten-pin bowling alley, beneath the Royal Naval College, Greenwich. By M@.
Arguably one of the most fun sports ever invented, trampolining is not only excellent for core strength, balance and flexibility, it also helps your self-esteem and releases your inner child. Clubs are often open to adults and children, such as Kingston Trampolining, Ace of Clubs and the YMCA Club — all have dedicated adult sessions. Leisure centres often have trampolining clubs such as at Whitechapel Sports Centre, Tooting Leisure Centre and Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre. British Gymnastics has a tool to help you find your nearest trampolining club.
After the successes of the Brownlee brothers in the London Olympics, triathlons are increasingly popular and are broadly considered to be one of the most physically demanding challenges around. There are four main types, with varying distances: sprint, olympic, half ironman and the gruelling ironman. The sport involves swimming (0.3 to 2.4 miles), cycling (12.4 to 111.8 miles) and running (3.1 to 26.2 miles) with the distance depending on your level of insanity. The ironman is the most notorious since it finishes with a full marathon, as if to say cycling 111.8 miles and swimming 2.4 miles is not enough. Tri247 has a list of the latest triathlon events around the UK — most sell out quickly. The Virgin Active London Triathlon is the main triathlon taking place in London; however, British Triathlon has other events within 40 miles of London such as in Crawley and Windor.
By Sam Parton
Part A: Aerobics, Aikido, Archery, Athletics, Aussie Rules Football
Part B: Badminton, Baseball, Basketball, Bikram Yoga, Boules, Bowls, Boxing
Part C: Canoeing, Climbing, Cricket, Croquet, Curling, Cycling
Part D: Dance, Darts, Disc Golf, Diving, Dodgeball, Dragon Boat Racing
Part E: Equestrian, English Billiards, Eight-a-side Football, Endurance Running, Extreme Sports
Part F: Fives, Football, Fencing, Frisbee
Part G: Gaelic Football, Golf, Go-Karting, Goalball, Gridiron
Part H: Handball, Hang Gliding, Hatha Yoga, Hiking, Hockey, Hula Hooping and Hurling
Part I: Ice Climbing, Ice Hockey, Indoor Cricket, Indoor Football, Inline Skating, and Iyengar Yoga.
Part J: Jazz Dancing, Jianzi, Jitsu, Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Jogging, Jorkyball
Part K: Karate, Kiyaking, Kickboxing, Kite Surfing, Korfball, Kung Fu
Part L: Lacrosse, Land Yachting, Laser Tag, Lawn Bowling, Lawn Tennis, Lethwei
Part M: Mountain Biking, Muay Thai, Marathon, Mixed Martial Arts, Mixed Hockey
Part N and O: Netball, Nordic skiing, Orienteering, Outdoor Rowing, Outdoor Swimming
Part P: Padel, Paintball, Petanque, Pilates, Pitch and Putt, Power Yoga, Parkour
Part Q and R: Quad rollerskating, Roller Blading, Roller Hockey, Rounders, Rowing, Rugby, Running
Part S: Sailing, SCUBA, snorkelling, Shooting, Skateboarding, Snooker, Snowboarding, Soccer, Squash, Swimming