Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Teeing Up at Swingers London West End

hole in one

When I was a kid, there was a place in my hometown called Jungle Golf, a mini-golf park with giant animals and fake palm trees that my take would take me to when he visited. I loved playing mini-golf back then no matter how bad I was at it and apparently some things never change. Jungle Golf is long gone, having been torn down sometime in the 90's I think, but lucky for us Londoners, mini-golf is making a major comeback and it's better than ever! With hotspots popping up all over the city serving up a bit of good old fashioned mini golf entertainment alongside food and drinks, it's quickly becoming one of London's favourite ways to spend an hour or two. I decided to grab my beau and head to Swinger's London to see what all the fuss is about and whether or not this age old pastime still holds up... Turns out it does - it's a lot of fun!

Teeing Up at Swingers London West End

With its cheeky name and two locations in Central London, Swingers is an upgrade on the traditional mini-golf we all played as kids. From the humorous entryway decor featuring the faces of royals and famous people superimposed onto the bodies of golfers to the fully stocked bars, Swingers isn't taking itself too seriously. After all, it's mini-golf, not the Masters... It's all about having a good time. 

fully stocked bar

For my visit to Swingers, I headed just steps away from the Oxford Circus tube station to the West End location on John Prince's Street. I booked in advance as I would suggest you do too if at all possible, so getting started was easy. Be prepared to have your bags checked by security guards and to check your coats free of charge... It will make the process easier anyway as you don't want to be weighed down with jackets while you're perfecting your swing. Once that's all out of the way, head upstairs and let the fun begin! We checked in with a hostess who gave us our scorecard and a time to report to the starting point. Conveniently it was about 10 minutes after our arrival which gave us plenty of time to grab a drink at the bar before we started. Oh yes... This isn't the video arcade mini-golf of your childhood. Drinks are not only available, they're encouraged and super easy to get. If you don't get a chance to grab a beverage before you tee off, don't worry... There are staff members stationed on the course to take your drink order when you need one. Of course you could always show up a bit early and enjoy a tipple at the bar before you get started - it's completely up to you.

selection of cocktails

Swingers is designed for spending a bit of time if that's what you want to do. A typical round of golf takes around a half hour, but there's plenty of other stuff to enjoy at Swingers West End. Order some delicious street food from the promenade which features four of London's best vendors including Breddos Tacos for Mexican food lovers, Patty & Bun for burgers, Made of Dough for pizza or Hackney Gelato if you fancy something for your sweet tooth. Additionally there are four cocktail bars, The Grand Hotel Bar, the Bandstand Bar and a 3D photo podium where you can document your experience and email the photo to yourself for posterity or sharing on social media.

mini golf

My one real complaint about Swingers London is that there doesn't seem to be an option for booking the course you prefer. I booked our tickets for a Wednesday afternoon and because there wasn't an option, I didn't make a choice. When we arrived, I asked for the Helter Skelter course which was closed until the evening, so we were allocated to The Big Wheel course, which was super fun, but a choice would've been nice since they are different.

mini golf score card

Playing mini-golf at Swingers is lots of fun and pretty easy-going. There is some waiting while the people in front of you finish the hole, but since you have drinks on the go, it seems to pass quickly and I personally didn't mind the wait at all. In my opinion, it's actually better if it takes a little longer... We ended up chatting and having giggles with the people before and after us, so it gets a bit social, which is fun and there's no shortage of laughing at the snafus that ensue on some of the more difficult holes.

the big wheel at mini golf

When you report to the starting point to begin your game an attendant will greet you, hand you a golf club and explain the rules of the game. You'll also be told how to order a drink while mid-game and how to keep things light and quick by not hogging the hole with too many shots. It's that simple and the perfect way to enjoy an hour in Central London. It's worth mentioning that your tee-off time is determined based on a 90 minute window from the start time you booked. The earlier you arrive, the less likely you will have to wait the full 90 minutes to play, but what's 90 minutes when there are food stalls and fully stocked bars? Trust me, you won't be bored.

While there are some walk-in tickets reserved, it's recommended that you book in advance for Swingers London to avoid having to wait or being disappointed. Tickets range in price from £10 to £13 depending on time of day (peak and off-peak) and booking online is quick and easy. Tickets are non-refundable and cannot be exchanged, so keep that in mind when you book. If you prefer to skip the golf altogether, you can stop in for food & drinks and there's no cover charge. There's no dress code either, although golf attire is encouraged and there's no fancy dress (costumes) allowed. Swingers West End is wheelchair accessible and it's worth noting that you must be 18 years old to enter, so no kiddos for this crazy golf experience. Grown-ups only!

Swingers London offers two locations including the one I visited, West End at 15 John Prince's Street and City at 8 Brown's Buildings. Both are easily accessible by public transportation, just steps away from nearby underground stations. For more information on Swingers London or to book your tee time, visit swingers.club/.

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