Four crazy extra-curricular activities to try in London

Bored of going to the gym and staring at the same piece of wall as you try to avoid looking at the well oiled work-out buffs leering at you? Avoiding all the vicious mastiffs when jogging around your local dodgy London park getting a bit too life threatening? Well, as you would expect of somewhere as diverse as London there are plenty of clubs offering slightly off the beaten track activities for you to get that regular endorphin rush. As someone incapable of taking up a normal hobby, I have tried out a far few in London, here are some of the more extreme, if you are foolhardy enough…

Northern Style Shaolin Kung Fu

After literally years of trying to find a martial arts club I liked in London, I finally found this gem. Located out in zone 5 (New Barnet is the nearest station), this place is a bit of a trek to get to but is definitely worth it. Even on those days where everything has gone wrong at work.

If you like your martial arts full of exciting kicks, weapons and acrobatics as well as effective self-defence moves, sparring and a gut busting dose of conditioning, this is your place. It enters competitions too if that is your thing. And to top it all, it’s a small, friendly club, with the obligatory sadist instructor.

Flying Fantastic

Want to take your yoga or pilates routine up a notch? Well you can literally. By getting silks involved. Not in a dodgy way. Flying Fantastic runs classes which will make you far too aware of your lack of core muscles by adding a silk sling into the mix. Yes, that’s right, you will dangling around in mid air trying to do exercises you probably had enough trouble with on sweet, firm ground.

If you are more hardcore, you can actually learn circus tricks like hoops and silks as well.

Probably one to do if you already have some strength, I was definitely struggling in my aerial pilates class. And not just because I got a bit lost inside the rather spacious silk swing.


A hybrid of netball and basketball that is also mixed-sex, so great for meeting the opposite gender in London without resorting to online dating. That and it’s a fun team sport, if you like your sports to be a bit more sociable than kicking the crap out of each other like kung fu.

There are a number of clubs in London, Highbury Korfball just happens to be the one I went to and seemed like a nice mix of competitive and fun – with teams ranging in seriousness and a (un)healthy attitude towards post session pub visits.


Ok, as someone who has only just mastered trotting, I haven’t tried this yet. But this rather insane looking sport can be played at the stables I attend, Lee Valley Riding Centre.

Apparently invented in France during the 1970s (trust the French, I say) it is now an established sport in 14 countries. It appears to involve throwing a ball around between your happily cantering team buddies and trying to get it in a hoop at the other end without the opposing team intercepting. The ball has handles on it so if it falls on the ground, you can, you know, just swing down from your saddle and pick it up.

Definitely not one for the faint hearted.

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