A favourite since school, netball is still available all across the city for those who aren’t quite ready to hang up their bibs. Whether you’re an individual looking for a tournament, a small group looking to team up with some other ladies, or a full team that needs a court, Go Mammoth has netball options to cover all bases, with beginner and recreational course everywhere from Shoreditch to Acton – check out their timetable to find a spot near you. Netbusters social netball club also lets you join as an individual or team at varying levels across North, South, East, West and Central London, with private coaching if you need to get up to scratch before a game. Play Netball also has a league table for new players to join.
If you fancy yourself an Abby Wambach in the making, you can head down to one of London’s many football pitches with your friends for a kick-about. Smaller games are on the rise, and you can find five-a-side pitches all over the place – just take a look at MyLocalPitch.com to find available spots in the likes of Vauxhall, Finsbury, Chelsea and Battersea. If you want to play but don’t have anyone who loves football as much as you, check out 5aside.org and PowerLeage.co.uk to join a league. They organise five-a-side leagues and tournaments in various venues across London.
Summer’s coming, so there’s no better time to get into the great outdoors and channel your inner Jessica Ennis. Whether you’re someone who did well in every school sports day or just want to improve your hurdle technique, there are plenty of athletic centres and track sites to help you up your game. Battersea Park is particularly popular throughout the year, but there’s so many places in London that offer sprinting and long-distance running clubs – London Athletics will show you all the running clubs, and you can take a look at Runner’s Guide To London to find a London track to suit your needs.
If you’re more of a calm sports player and fancy something that’ll be social but still give you a workout, there’s a number of badminton courts around London. It’s offered in most sports halls, but if you’re keen to just try it out without commitment, give No Strings Badminton a go, where you can pay and play as you go in sports centres across Wembley South Croyden and Southall.
The great thing about basketball in London is that there’s free courts all over the place – My Local Pitch is the place to find them, from parks to schools to residential estates, for a casual game. If it’s a tournament you’re looking for, Go Mammoth offers some London basketball leagues for both teams and individuals.
The popularity of boxing is continuing to rise, primarily thanks to its all-round health and fitness benefits, but it’s also a great place to meet people. Miguel’s Boxing Gym has something for everyone – as well as one-to-one training, they also offer women-only classes, sessions for over-60s and a ‘beat obesity’ course. Box Clever Sports in West London cater to those who are short on time, offering ‘wake up’ sessions and 30-minute ‘lunchtime express’ classes. Plus, if a group of your girlfriends are also into sparing, you can book private lessons for between three and five people. To find boxing classes across the rest of London and the UK, you can use England Boxing Vault’s Club Finder.
London only has a handful of climbing clubs, but the ones we do have are great. Castle Climbing Centre, housed in an old Victorian pumping station, is one of our favourites. (If you’re a little tense at the thought of scaling a huge wall, there are taster sessions available.) There are also three Arch climbing centres to choose from: one in a former Damien Hirst gallery in Bermondsey, another in a converted art deco cinema in Acton, and the third in an 11,000 square-foot space in Edgeware. Plus, if you’re newbie, Chelsea’s Clip N Climb is made for you, with 21 wall challenges to try, of varying difficulty.
With roughly 47% of London being green space, there’s plenty of places to have a game of cricket. My Local Pitch will help you find the best available, and the England and Wales Cricket Board offer a club finder for those looking for something you can attend regularly. We all know cricket can go on for what feels like forever, but Last Man Stands offer an eight-aside format around several London parks, with games taking up no longer than two hours of your time.
If you’re into something that gets your heart racing in a different way, London can grant adrenaline junkies their fix in various locations around the city. For skydiving, head to Skydive London, or Twinwoods Adventure Centre in Bedford for skydiving, indoor surfing and more. Bungee jumping is also offered at the o2 Arena, and the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead offers indoor snow slopes and jumps, while the Lee Valley Water Centre lets you give white water rafting a go on their outdoor course.
Fencing dates way back to the 15th century, but people still love a gentle joust to this day. The object of the sport Is to jab or hit your opponent with a (safe) sword. If you fancy giving it a go, you’ll need to have excellent agility, and be quick to react. If you fancy giving it a go, there are plenty of places in London for fencing, including the London Fencing Club, The City Fencing Club, and Wimbledon Fencing Club – and if none of those work for you, check out British Fencing’s Fencing Club Finder to bag a spot in a class that’s closer to you – you’ll be jabbing like one of the three musketeers in no time.
For those who love to grab their stick and have a quick game of hockey: you’re in luck. London in rife with Hockey clubs, from the East London Hockey Club, based in Mile End and Lee Valley, which lets you join as a new player. London Wayfarer’s Club welcomes members of all ages and abilities. Other popular London hockey venues include Paddington Recreation Ground, Kennington Park and Battersea Park Astroturf.