Life’s too short to take it too seriously, so feed your inner child with pixie sticks before checking out these perfect spots to run wild, without supervision.
Junkyard Golf Club
School, Sports Center
Setting up shop in Brick Lane’s Old Truman Brewery, Junkyard is the crazy golfing experience for those who like to keep it weird, cheesy and punny-looking. Like the spoilt child you were always destined to be, you have endless choice, from four bars of crazy cocktails to the four courses available to play on: Pablo (jungle-themed), Bozo (creepy circus), Gary (disco scrapyard) and Bruce (retro film set). Booking well in advance is advised, as a night at the Junkyard is more popular than all the cool kids at school combined.
Add two floors, 250,000 clear balls, and an LED dance floor, and you’ve got Dalston’s first adult playpen. Nerdy kids, prepare for fire, ice and helium cocktails themed around the solar system. The planetary punches include Neptune (charcoal and liquid nitrogen), Pluto (glitter cocktail for the closet unicorns) and Uranus (undrinkable without the miracle berry pill). If you’re the kid that always wants more, their bottomless brunch gets you working up an appetite with ball pit hide-and-seek, followed by two hours of bottomless prosecco, punch and spaghetti & meatballs. Plus, great news for the clean freaks: their resident pet ball-cleaner, GobbleMuffin, can disinfect 18,000 balls an hour.
If retro gaming is more your thing, a chilled sesh at Four Quarters might just tick the box. With classic Nintendo consoles and vintage arcade games, you’re in for the ultimate reunion; say hello to Mr Pacman, Sonic the Hedgehog, the Street Fighter posse, the Die Hard duo and more old friends. There’s no bedtime, so no excuse not to buy yourself some quarters, fill up on their American-style grill menu and treat yourself to a night out that your inner eight-year-old is crying out for.
Disco Yoga is a great sparkly workout for those fidgety kidults who want a dose of wellness but can’t sit still. Prepare to get glittered up beforehand, as no session is complete without a room full of living and (deep) breathing disco balls. This is one class your inner kid would be proud to top, taking your downward dog for a boogie down memory lane with some retro tunes. Disco Yoga is one for ‘mindful drinkers’, as your ticket includes 1 free post-class disco-themed cocktail or mocktail, from Kale and the Gang, It’s Raining Zen and Sister Sledgehammer.
Now for a museum experience for the more serious of the not-so-serious. Put those sick-bags and soggy sandwiches away though, as this is one museum you won’t find on your school trip stops. The cartoon museum is a haven of everything you need to know about cartoons, caricatures and comics. With three main galleries, The Cartoon Museum has a rich heritage that’ll have you revisiting nostalgic comic gems all day. Prepare to spend hours flicking through the history of Dennis the Menace, The Beano and beyond.
If Alice and Willy Wonka met in Wonderland and had a lovechild who grew up to run a bar, Ninety Eight would be her creation. Tucked underground on the vibrant Curtain Road, it’s run by artist Kath Morrell, who keeps it fully stocked with sweets, popcorn, zany decorations and off-the-wall cocktails. Plus, there are various themed rooms up to hire for private events, including the infamous “bandage room” and Gallery Extreme for the artsy kids among you.
If the thought of ’90s gear qualifying as vintage makes you feel old, travel through time with this boutique’s pieces, taking you as far back as the 1900s. You might even find one of the iconic 1960s Scott “Paper Dresses” that inspired the name. If your imagination runs faster than you did as a child, Paper Dress can transform into whatever you want it to be, hosting anything from fashion shows to club nights, dance classes, and book launches. Plus, with their cocktail and coffee bar, you’ve no reason not to stay refreshed while re-inventing yourself through the ages.
There was always that one kid in class who had the best parties. Flip Out is the place to re-create those memories of the birthday bash everyone was dying to be invited to. Budding gymnasts can explore a world of wall-to-wall trampolines, foam pits and inflatable palm trees. There’s really nothing more you could want from a session, whether you’re booking in a “Free Jump” for the rebels, classes for the teacher’s pets or private parties for the hens, stags, and work bodies, wanting to let loose for an hour.
For the drama kings and queens who want to be in all the movies, this is your chance to shine! Launched in 2007, Secret Cinema provides the ultimate site-specific, immersive experience, taking story time to the next level. Don a costume, meet at the secret location and become a part of your most-loved classics. Aspiring thespians across the city have previously jumped into the worlds of Casablanca, Footloose, Back to the Future, 28 Days Later and more.
It’s time to stop fantasising about what you would do in a zombie apocalypse and put your methods to the test. We’re being overtaken by swarms of the undead and you’ve been chosen to undergo intense training and destroy them all! Recruits are trained in North Greenwich’s nuclear shelter Bunker 51, building them up for three and a half hours of blowing zombies’ brains out. Note: this isn’t for the faint-hearted. This is for thrill seekers, lovers of gore, and heroes with the guts to save all of civilisation.
Keeping it weird and wonderful, head to The Last Tuesday Society, a cocktail bar and Museum of Curiosities for those inquisitive kids with a stomach of steel. Grab an absinthe and head down to The Wunderkabinett, a permanent collection of oddities, courtesy of Viktor Wynd. Immerse yourself in a sea of shrunken heads, two-headed animals, and celebrity poo jars, to name a few treats on offer. If a standard trip to the Tate doesn’t do it for you, indulge in the and horrors of history, art, literature and pop culture, with offerings of seances and taxidermy workshops up for grabs.
After all that activity, it’ll be well and truly bedtime, so head to the Natural History Museum for the sleepover of your dreams. Dotted throughout the year, this is one slumber party not to be missed, as an evening includes access to the galleries and temporary exhibitions, a three-course meal, edible insect tasting, live music, stand-up comedy, drinks tasting, a science show, a monster movie marathon, and a hot breakfast the following morning. They also have a great range of Dino Wear, so you can snuggle up in your sleeping bag in comfort and style. Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, Kensington, London, United Kingdom, 020 7942 5000 By Kaysha Woollery