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London: Rainy Day Entertainment

by andrew June 2011 - last edited February 2013 by Community Manager

We've had some lovely weather in London lately, and with many gorgeous parks and great markets there's no shortage of places for summer strolls and outdoor games. However, British weather can't always be relied upon, so we thought we'd look at fun things to do indoors and under cover in the capital. So, if you've done the museums or are just looking for something different or more active, check out the following…

Bowl

A perfect afternoon hangout, Bloomsbury Lanes has helped bring bowling back into vogue in the capital. The interior is classic Americana through and through, complete with burgers 'n' fries diner and a cocktail bar made from bowling lane wood. This is what you want a bowling alley to look and feel like. Taking things one step further, BL's eight lanes even have vintage above lane ball return (the only one outside the States) for extra authenticity. On top of all that there are private karaoke rooms for hire as well as regular club nights and live events.

 

Nearest Tube: Russell Square

Bloomsbury Lanes www.bloomsburyblowling.com

Bloomsbury Lanes © www.bloomsburyblowling.com

 

Opened nearby not long after Bloomsbury Lanes, Holborn's All Star Lanes goes for a similar, American 'boutique bowling' and diner vibe, with a slightly darker and more glamorous edge. With just four lanes, it's pretty intimate on a weekday, getting a little more raucous on Saturday nights with the Shake Rattle and Bowl retro disco. If you happen to be on an upmarket West London jaunt or hanging in hip East London, there are more spacious six lane venues at Bayswater and Brick Lane. Great desserts too.

Nearest tube: Holborn – Holborn, Bayswater – Baywaster, Brick Lane – Liverpool Street/Aldgate East

Shoot

If your chic shopping excursion on Portobello Road gets curtailed by a downpour, pass a few hours at The Elbow Room. Stylish and spacious, this authentic American-style pool bar on Westbourne Grove offers more er, elbow room than the local pubs and they do a nice line of burgers and snack platters too. If you happen to be in the East, there's an even bigger seven-table branch in Shoreditch, with more than ample space to dance and drink in-between frames. On top of the usual bar fare, there's a decent cocktail menu if you end up making a night of it.

 

Nearest tube:

Westbourne Grove - Notting Hill Gate, Royal Oak, Bayswater

Shoreditch – Old Street

The Elbow Room

The Elbow Room © theelbowroom.co.uk

 

Kick

If rain interrupts play in North London, just head inside for a mini, table-sized kick-around at Exmouth Market's Café Kick. Decorated with international flags and football memorabilia, this spot has a relaxed, European café feel, with added fun in the form of babyfoot (table football). Play a few games and enjoy a coffee and a grilled sandwich in the afternoon and stay for some soccer-themed cocktails. For slightly more evening-friendly entertainment, the café's Shoreditch sister Bar Kick is every bit as nice with a more extensive menu.

 

Nearest tube:

Café Kick – Farringdon, Angel.

Bar Kick - Old Street, Liverpool Street

Cafe Kick table football by Alan Perryman on Flickr

Cafe Kick table football by Alan Perryman on Flickr

 

Three-in-one

Of course, the easiest options when it rains are to duck inside the nearest shop or pub. Imagine if you could combine the best of both. Well, at Drink Shop & Do, you can. Originally opened as a 'pop-up' shop, DS&D is now a permanent fixture, even if its own fixtures aren't: everything inside – tables, chairs, the cups – is for sale. So browse and booze or just enjoy some classic afternoon tea in the homely if slightly eccentric ever-changing surroundings. Stick around after regular shop hours and you'll see where the 'do' bit comes in as the store is taken over by crafty goings on ranging from 50’s Pin-Up makeovers to origami depending on what night you're there.

 

Nearest tube: King's Cross

Inside-Drink,-Shop-&-Do-www.drinkshopdo.com

Inside Drink, Shop & Do © www.drinkshopdo.com

 

Bet

To round things off, a night at 'the dogs' simply can't be beaten for alternative evening entertainment. Horse racing might take more money at the bookie's, but greyhound racing has always been the gambling sport Brits actually go to see en masse. Since the closure of the Walthamstow track (famously featured on the cover of Blur's Parklife), Wimbledon Stadium is sadly the only London venue left, but when things kick off, the atmosphere is still highly charged. You don't have to spend a lot to enjoy it either, just put down a few pounds and watch yourself get sucked into the action.

 

Nearest tube: Wimbledon Park

Greyhoud racing at Wimbledon Stadium by miguel77 on Flickr

Greyhound racing at Wimbledon Stadium by miguel77 on Flickr

 

Thanks to Flickr photographers miguel77 and Alan Perryman.


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BamEnergyBlog June 2011
preparati ai numerosi giorni di pioggia. Ombrello e calosce in valigia e un rapido sguardo alla  London Rainy Days Guide. Tra le mete dei giorni bagnati, il Cafè Kick, dove improvvisare una finale di calcio Balilla
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WhatsonLondon January 2012
Love Bloomsbury Lanes, it's a great place to hang out when it's wet.

Jon.

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About the author: andrew

Andrew Bowman

Andrew is an occasional contributor to the Virgin Atlantic blog. He lived in the Japanese countryside for two years until he could no longer resist the pull of London's galleries, pubs and clubs. He likes to pretend he can speak Japanese and also sometimes writes about music.