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London’s best tenpin bowling alleys

Fancy scattering some skittles? Here’s our guide to London’s best bowling alleys

Written by
Things To Do Editors
Sarah Cohen
Katherine Lovage

There’s little more satisfying than scoring a strike at bowling – watching those skittles topple and the big X appear on the screen. But even if you’re a gutter-shooting no-hoper, hurling a heavy ball down a laminated lane can be a lot of fun. 

Some of London’s best bowling alleys just focus on the game, but others come replete with live music, retro ambience and boozy bars. So go ahead, lace up and pick a lane.

Recommended: an oral history of Rowans Tenpin Bowl.

London’s best bowling alleys

All Star Lanes
  • Restaurants
  • Bloomsbury

With London branches in Brick Lane, Holborn, Stratford and White City, All Star Lanes has really been bowling over the competition. Most of its venues have a ’50s Americana style, but the newer site, at Westfield London, has gone for a more chic and contemporary Miami-come-art-deco vibe. All Star Lanes also does bites to eat, so if you're likely to get hungry between swings, you’re in luck.

  • Music
  • Music venues
  • Bloomsbury

As much a hipster hang-out as a bowling alley, this spot boasts eight swish bowling lanes, five karaoke rooms, a bar, a diner, ping-pong tables and a stage. If you’re down to get dancy, then check out the website for details of upcoming gigs and club nights.

Hollywood Bowl
  • Attractions
  • Arcades and amusements
  • Surrey Quays

With venues across the UK, Hollywood Bowl is certainly no underdog. In London, you can find branches in Finchley, Tolworth, Surrey Quays and at the O2. The Surrey Quays venue has really run with the Hollywood theme. There’s an all-American diner which offers burgers, hotdogs and milkshakes and VIP lanes decorated with the faces of film icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Harrison Ford. If you’re partial to those sweaty red-and-blue slippers, those are available, too.

  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies
  • Lewisham

With an emphasis on deals and special offers, Lewisham Lanes is great for budget bowlers. This bowling alley has vintage vibes and a style that takes you straight back to childhood birthday parties, complete with pizza and hotdogs.

Queens Skate Dine Bowl
  • Bars and pubs
  • Queensway

The only place in London where you can throw a strike and zip across an ice rink, Queens is cool, edgy and filled with enough stuff to make for a pretty fun evening. As well as skating and bowling, there's also karaoke, a retro arcade, a bar, and food that features cuisine from the burger-obsessed restaurant MEATliquor.

  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies
  • Finsbury Park

This Finsbury Park institution offers so much more than bowling. As well as two floors of actual bowling lanes, you can play pool, spend hours on arcade games, sing karaoke, drink vodka slushies and dance to R&B until inadvisably late. Prices are keen but if you're going at the weekend make sure to book ahead, and be prepared to pay an entrance fee of £3 from around 8pm.

Read our oral history of Rowans.

  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies
  • Acton

Focused on family fun, the Acton branch of Tenpin is a pretty standard affair. The venue has several bowling lanes, pool, Namco arcade machines and cosmic bowling for UV-loving neon-ravers. If you’re feeling peckish, then food and drink comes in the familiar form of American-style burgers, chips and hotdogs, and the bar is fully licensed. Want to hear the sound of a strike? Then aim straight or you’ll end up in the gutter.

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