In the UK and its capital, around half of the population enjoys playing games on a regular basis. That doesn’t mean they get home from work and load up their Xbox to partake in hours-long sessions of Fortnite or Call of Duty. Of course, they absolutely could do that if they wanted, but many gamers take a more casual approach to the medium, choosing to play from a tablet or smartphone for just a few minutes at a time.
The British love of gaming is not new either. The country gave the world popular titles like Grand Theft Auto, Lara Croft, and even Lemmings, while London has been home to casinos since the 19th century.
This casino culture has been retained more than two centuries later, with online casinos offering a range of different classic and modern games to their customers. Among them are innovative video slots that combine different mechanics, bonus features, and eye-catching animations to create a fun and immersive experience. Many of these slots can be enjoyed for free by using sign-up bonuses that are offered to new customers, or by unlocking other free spins as part of a promotion, or by completing a challenge.
With gaming of all kinds ingrained deeply in the culture of London and the rest of Britain, you’d expect there to be plenty of great places for gamers in the city – and you’d be right.
Mobile games have become incredibly popular in recent years and you can now see them enjoyed right across London’s transport network. So, while the Tube isn’t exactly a ‘destination’ for gamers, it’s certainly a great spot to whip out your smartphone and enjoy a few rounds of offline games like Mini Metro and Eufloria.
Just be courteous to other users, use headphones or turn the sound down, and be sure to give up your seat if someone comes along that needs it more than you. You’ll also want to pay attention so you don’t end up missing your stop!
If you’re into retro gaming, then there’s no better place to go than an arcade. For gamers in London, the best place to go for 25 years was the NAMCO Funscape in the County Hall building. It was an entire basement packed with bowling, arcade games, and table games like pool and air hockey, conveniently located on the banks of the Thames, next to the London Eye and across the water from Big Ben.
Although it closed in 2021, several other great alternatives exist. One of the best is Four Quarters, a chain of arcade bars with three locations in the capital. You’ll find uniquely-designed bars crammed with arcade machines, light guns, steering wheels, and retro consoles, as well as all the usual stuff you’d expect from a bar.
Virtual reality gaming has really come into its own in recent years and, as a result, VR gaming venues have been springing up all over the place.
One of the best VR places in London is DNA VR. It has three different sites: one at Battersea Power Station, another in Hammersmith, and the last one in Camden.
Each one offers a range of different games with a unique playing experience, but perhaps one of the most fun is VR Laser Tag. This takes the traditional game of laser tag to a whole new level, removing the need to wear heavy packs and creating a much more immersive environment for you to (safely) shoot your friends in.
Bunker 51, as its name suggests, is a venue that’s been constructed in an old military bunker underneath Greenwich. Below ground, you’ll find a mix of different activities, with something for everyone.
For those not averse to a bit of pain, airsoft and paintball games are available to help you bring all your Call of Duty fantasies to life. Alternatively, the zombie packages will give you a truly unique experience. The SWAT Training option lasts 2.5 hours and involves using different weapons against the zombies as well as testing your mental agility with a range of puzzles. Meanwhile, the zombie escape room challenges you to escape before you’re eaten by a ravenous zombie.