Doing Dry January? There are plenty of ways to embrace sober London, from a simple walk to adult-only ball pools, fun fitness events and London’s sober rave scene…
Lead image: Go Ape, Battersea
- Unleash Your Inner Child
The alarm’s set to go #BackToWork, your sleep routine is wrecked sleep, train fairs are through the roof and you’ve set yourself some unattainable New Year’s Resolutions. Adulting, come January, is harder than ever, so it’s no wonder that ‘kidult’ activities are on the rise. So forget about that Monday morning meeting or hideous commute and dive into a giant ball pit, have a sleepover in a museum or play your favourite board games in a bar. Click here for The Resident’s roundup of London’s top kidulting activities.
2. Re:Solutions at Juju’s Bar & Stage, Old Truman Brewery
Re:Solutions Festival invites wellness worshippers to join them in a celebration of health and wellbeing featuring self-discovery workshops and happiness workshops to mass meditation, a mindful drinking festival and candlelit gong baths. Taking place at Juju’s Bar & Stage at the Old Truman Brewery from 10-14 January 2019, the festival is an ultra-cool, inspirational and fabulously fun kick start to the new year. Events and workshops are individually priced, starting from £12.
91 Brick Lane E1 6QR; jujusbarandstage.com
3. Club Soda’s Mindful Drinking Festival, Old Truman BreweryClub Soda’s Mindful Drinking Festival takes place on the weekend of 12-13 January 2019 at the Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. In association with Adnams, the free-to-attend festival – Club Soda’s fifth – is part of the Re:Solutions health and wellness events. The two-day event will feature over 60 drink producers, giving you the opportunity to taste the best low and no-alcohol drinks on the scene including craft beers, wines, spirits, lower-sugar sodas, tonics and infusions – perfect for anyone wanting to drink less or doing Dry January. There will also be workshops and talks on mindful drinking, fitness and wellbeing, with motivational speakers including presenters Janey Lee Grace and Adrian Chiles. Club Soda is the UK’s Mindful Drinking Movement, supporting individuals in rethinking their drinking habits. Saturday 11am-6pm and Sunday 10am-5pm.
The Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane E1 6QR; mindfuldrinkingfestival.com
4. Try Cold Water Swimming
‘Swimming is always a mind-altering experience,’ says Ella Foote of the Outdoor Swimming Society. ‘Once you have sunk into the water you are left alone with your thoughts and have time to process them. That is why swimming is so popular – the mental as well as physical benefits. In winter you get an extra zing! While standing on a river bank with frost between your toes might make you question your sanity, once in and tingling you cannot beat the feeling. It is euphoric. We can all agree that enjoying leisure outside is a huge benefit, why should it stop in winter? In fact, you could argue it is even more important – getting fresh air, being with nature and getting daylight is a great way to banish winter blues and bugs.’ Head for Brockwell Lido or Tooting Bec Lido, or go wild at Hampstead Ponds or the Serpentine in Hyde Park.
5. Enjoy a Sober Disco
Just because you don’t want any of the strong stuff doesn’t mean you can’t disco. As well as Morning Gloryville’s sober raves, which have ballooned in popularity over the last few years, Clubbercise runs a number of club-esque dance fitness classes across London. The dance regimes are fun and easy to follow, and it sure beats pounding the treadmill at the gym. Find classes at Kobi Nazrul Primary School near Aldgate East tube station (Mondays at 5.45pm) and That Place in The Park in Deptford (Thursdays 6.30pm-8.30pm). Check out Ministry of Fitness too, for a similar vibe from the Ministry of Sound crew.
Leap into a giant adult ball pit at Ballie Ballerson
Shock your system with a cold water swimming
Morning Gloryville has made the early morning sober rave a thing
6. Go Ape in the Tree Tops
You never really lose the urge to climb trees, do you? Well at Go Ape you can spend hours in the tree tops, swinging through the trees and experiencing the great outdoors in a whole new light (or should that be ‘height’?). Go Ape has a growing number of sites in London, including an urban jungle in leafy Battersea Park, which is our pick of the bunch. You’ll climb rope nets, cross wobbly bridges, scurry through net tunnels and, the best bit, whizzing through the woodland on zip lines as a reward for completing each level. They also do occasional special events, such as night climbs. This one’s suitable for both adults and children, with the obstacles and crossings get more challenging as you ascend up through the levels into the tree tops. You’ll find Go Ape in Alexandra Palace and Cockfosters too.
Battersea Park SW11 4NJ; goape.co.uk
7. Get Walking
A big, blustery walk isn’t just for Boxing Day. Get some fresh air on one of The Resident’s recommended scenic walks in London. It’s the perfect chance to also check out London’s zoos and famous historical sites or take in the capital’s surprisingly pretty canals. From Hampstead Heath to the Royal Parks, we’ve picked out some of the best places for winter walks in London.
8. Play Board Games
Love playing board games but want to get out of the house? Your luck is in then, as London’s original board game cafe, Draughts can give you just that. With more than 800 board games as well as small plates, larges plates and sharing boards, you and your friends can spend the night playing your favourite board games, from Monopoly to Hungry, Hungry Hippos, for just £5 each. There’s also Library Pot in Richmond, which has a similarly vast number of games to choose from. The cafe costs £5 to enter, but once you’re in you can stay as long as you like and there’s no obligation to order the food or drinks on offer. They have a ball pit, too. Check out The Thirsty Dragon too for a similar concept in Greenwich.
9. Immersive Yourself in Adventure
Journey through the city, solving clues sent to your phone, with HiddenCity’s immersive adventure games. These treasure hunts make you the hero of your own adventure as you step inside the stories you know and love. Their critically acclaimed games based on Alice in Wonderland, Sherlock Holmes and Snow White run every day across the city. There’s also Sherlock: The Game Is Now, the latest game from the team behind Hackney’s Time Run.Mixing the excitement of immersive entertainment with the thrill of intellectual challenge, this new generation of gaming experiences challenge players to race against the clock to crack codes, solve puzzles and progress to the next level.
To book see inthehiddencity.com and thegameisnow.com
10. Play Crazy Golf
London is teeming with crazy golf courses these days. From Swingers Crazy Golfin the City and West End, to Junkyard Golf Club on Brick Lane and Puttshack at Westfield London, there’s a crazy golf course to suit all types. Do be warned they all serve drinks, so keep your wits – and your will power – about you! It’s also worth keeping an eye out for Plonk crazy golf too. If you’re trying to cut down rather than cut out the booze, Plonk has a number of mini golf courses in pubs like The Duke of Edinburgh in Brixton, The Four Thieves in Battersea and the Victoria Tavern in Islington – perfect for distracting you from having another pint!
Enjoy a wander along the scenic canals of Little Venice
Choose from over 800 board games at Draughts London
Helter Skelter course at Swingers
11. Sup Seedlip Alcohol-Free Cocktails
The American Bar at The Stafford has whipped up The Scoop for Dry January. The non-alcoholic option is just as glamorous as its counterparts, combining Seedlip’s non-alcoholic gin with detoxing coconut water, aloe-vera, cucumber and mint. Find it on the Journey Through St James’ cocktail list priced £12.50. Cahoots in Soho has also teamed up with Seedlip to create three non-alcoholic cocktails that pack a punch both in terms of flavour and health benefits, as they are brimming to the top with anti-oxidising and vitamin-rich ingredients. Choose from the Spice Land Girls (Seedlip Spice 94 topped with mandarin peel, rosemary and peppermint Soda), Sowing The Seed (Seedlip Grove 42, pineapple spiced & ginger Cordial topped with Ginger ale) and Garden Of England (Seedlip Garden 108, grapefruit, lemon and dill cordial topped with Soda), all priced £8.
thestaffordlondon.com / cahoots-london.com
12. Alcohol-Free Pairing Menu
Is there anything more indulgent than a pairing menu, artfully matched with wonderful wines? But if you’re doing Dry January, it’s a no-no, right? Wrong. Michelin-starred seafood restaurant Angler has launched a non-alcoholic pairing menu for Dry January 2019. Tapping into the growing acceptance that soft drinks need to be as interesting and complex as the alcoholic offering, Executive Chef Gary Foulkes has worked with non-alcoholic spirits brand Seedlip to curate an exclusive pairing menu. The three-course offering has been thoughtfully paired with Seedlip cocktails, from a starter of Cornish mackerel tartare with a Seedlip Garden 108, to a main of Cornish red gurnard with Homemade pumpkin juice and infused with ginger vinegar, Seedlip spice 94, and shaken with egg, to a dessert of Yorkshire rhubarb tart paired with a cocktail made from Rhubarb juice and Seedlip Grove 42. Available from 7 January until 15 February, priced £50.
South Place Hotel, 3 South Place EC2M 2AF; anglerrestaurant.com
13. Dry January at Old Compton Brasserie
Old Compton Brasserie, part of London’s leading restaurant and club group Maxwell’s, has partnered with Woodstar Beverages to offer complimentary glasses of Woodstar to all those actively looking to reduce their alcohol intake throughout January. With the drinking rate among British adults now at its lowest in 18 years, Woodstar will provide Dry January diners with a drink that similar to wine but without the high alcohol content. With an ABV of 1%, the premium blend is skilfully crafted using a combination of acai berries, French blackcurrants, blueberries and cherries, together with botanicals and a hint of cocoa. It’s a drink to savour, without breaking your Dry January resolution. The initiative will run throughout January 2019, from Sunday to Wednesday, with Woodstar being served at both lunch and dinner sittings.
34-36 Old Compton Street, Soho W1D 4TT; oldcomptonbrasserie.co.uk
14. Discover London’s Wildlife The RSPB is encouraging people to swap the sofa for the outdoors this January with plenty of special events and guided walks. Take a guided walk through Beckenham Place Park on Saturday 19 January (9.30am, free, in the Mansion’s car park on Beckenham Hill Road) or try the Brent Reservoir Nature Reserve Birdwalk on Sunday 20 January (10am, free, meet by bridge Cool Oak Lane, West Hendon NW9). It’s also the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch from 26-28 January, where you are encouraged to count the birds that land (not those flying over) in your local park or garden and tell the RSPB the highest number of each bird species you see at any one time.
See rspb.org.uk for further events
15. Penthouse Pilates In Partnership With Innermost at The Sanderson
Sanderson London is partnering with Innermost to embrace a healthy New Year. The Penthouse Pilates series offers an intimate class of 8 the chance to train under the instruction of Jay Webb, a specialist in STOTT Pilates. At the end of each session – running every Friday from 11-25 January (6.30pm-7.15pm), you’ll be able to enjoy an Innermost Protein smoothie and get a bottle shaker to take home. Innermost has created smart products that allow you to align your nutrition with your goals, values and lifestyle. Tickets are £20 and can be booked here. Over at sister hotel, St Martin’s Lane, The Wellscene’s Flow-In-The-Dark yoga returns with an R&B edition on Friday 18 January 2019. Expect a sweaty and fiery start to the class with Jonelle Lewis, followed by some well-deserved restorative poses to stretch out weary muscles and wind down the body.