Swingers – in spite of a slightly (and no doubt, intentionally) risqué name – is a mini golf venue and indoor socialising space. An invention of the ‘Institute of Competitive Socialising’; the website claims that Swingers combines the holy trinity of crazy golf, street food and drinking, in the spirit that ‘life is better when it includes an element of competition – and that competition is best enjoyed with friends’. I went to their West End branch for a Christmas party with some colleagues, full of anticipation of making a complete fool of myself, as I’d never played golf before, mini or otherwise.
Swingers Crazy Golf London Review
Location and atmosphere
You can find Swingers West End a stone’s throw from Oxford Circus station, housed in a building with shaded windows and looking pretty plain from the outside. There are complementary cloak rooms, if you want to leave anything. Upstairs is where the venue comes to life
In the huge main room, Swingers brings the outside inside, not only with the AstroTurfed mini golf course (complete with flower beds, though sadly not with any little sandpits or tiny ponds), but also by lining the walls with street food stalls that wouldn’t look out of place on a Brighton Promenade.
This is a nice touch in Central London. If you love the city, but always thought it was missing a good old-fashioned beach and pier, you’ll probably enjoy being here. Finishing off this theme, The Grand Hotel Bar is a freestanding building-within-a-building, and there’s another bar housed within a bandstand – all indoors under the same roof.
Food and drink
There are four food stalls: Hackney Gelato, Breddos Tacos, Patty and Bun, and Made of Dough (who make pizza, in case you were wondering).
The drinks are quite reasonable. A medium glass of house wine will set you back about £7.50 and a pint of draught beer around £5.50 – pretty standard for central London. Cocktails start at £10.
The Mini-Golf Courses
There are two golf courses: The Big Wheel and the Helterskelter, both featuring nine holes. A round will set you back about £9 per person, so you could do both courses without breaking the bank, but you’ll probably be equally happy just doing a single course and then heading to the food stalls or bar.
The course starts simple and gets progressively more frustrating – and, naturally, more fun. Whether it’s frustrating or fun depends on whether it’s your turn and on how good you are at laughing at yourself when it is. Prepare to groan inwardly when your ball somehow seems to break physical laws by travelling right over the hole and then rolls back down the little hill, coming to a feeble stop next to your shoe. And prepare to feel smug when this happens to the other team.
One of our team got a hole in one: cheers all round. Later on, one of us hit a ball so hard it went flying into someone else’s game – though sadly, not into the hole over there either.
The last hole is the best. The titular Big Wheel is a slowly rotating Ferris wheel which you have to maneuver the ball beneath, hoping it won’t be picked up by one of the little baskets attached to the wheel. This didn’t happen to anyone, but I almost wish it had: the sight would have been hilarious. You can tally up your scores at the end, but we didn’t really care: it’s the taking part that counts.
Swingers Crazy Golf is a fun group activity in a central location and while the mini-golf makes it fun, the atmosphere and quality craftsmanship of the course itself make it a unique experience. For the price it offers a fun day out with a unique activity. You can find a second branch of Swingers at John Prince’s Street in Marylebone. You can pre-book your crazy gold experience on their website.
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