Brixton Ice Arena
It’s a bit surreal walking along Brixton Station Road with the heady waft of jerk chicken and the deep rumble of reggae drifting over from the market, knowing you’re about to walk into an ice rink. But it’s this cultural mismatch that makes it such a cracking day out. Brixton Ice Arena is a temporary space with all the charm of a portable warehouse, but once inside it covers the basics. After you’re done practising axel jumps, head to Brixton Village for cafes offering everything from Beijing street food to Colombian cantina staples.
• 49 Brixton Station Road, SW9, 020-7737 5034, planet-ice.co.uk/arena/Brixton, from ?5 including skate hire. See website for session times
Dispel any notions of astro turf or windmills on this course. As befitting a royal park, we’re talking pukka grass, manicured greens with herbaceous borders rather than bunkers, and concrete pineapples that wouldn’t look out of place in a stately home. Bring a blanket and a bottle of bubbly to celebrate your birdies.
• Hyde Park Tennis Centre & Cafe, South Carriage Drive, SW1, 020-7262 3474, willtowin.co.uk, adults ?5, children ?3. Open Mon-Sat 7am-9pm, Sun 8am-9pm in summer
Trent Park in north London is fast becoming a vast outdoor adventure playground. The former hunting grounds of Henry IV already featured an equestrian centre, an 18-hole golf course, driving range and hockey club, when in March it added the treetop adventure Go Ape to its roster of activities. The five-section aerial assault course connects trees in the Church Wood area of the park via ladders, bridges and zip wires, and promises to unleash your inner Tarzan – or Jane – but with the aid of harnesses and ropes not loincloths and vines. It’s a five-minute walk from Cockfosters tube station.
• Cockfosters Road, EN4, 0845 643 9215, goape.co.uk/days-out/trent-park, adults ?30, children over 10 and over 1.4m tall ?20. Open daily 23 March-31 October (closed Tuesdays during term time)
You can recreate the river scenes from the classic film A Man For All Seasons, when Paul Scofield, playing Thomas More, arrives at Hampton Court at the summons of Henry VIII. Except Thomas was arriving in a river ferry from his home in Chelsea, and you’ll be arriving in a kayak after paddling yourself from Ye Olde Swan Pub in Thames Ditton. But this is by far the best way to approach London’s most magnificent palace, gliding close to the famous Golden Gates entrance. The tour lasts 90 minutes, including a health and safety briefing, but be sure to go back to Hampton Court another time, if only to take in their hilarious Horrible Histories-style re-enactments.
• One-hour kayak tour ?19.99, londonkayaktours.co.uk; Hampton Court, hrp.org.uk/hamptoncourtpalace
When London won the Olympics bid in 2008, mayor Boris Johnson announced to the world that wiff waff – ping pong – was coming home. Well, it’s landed – in the form of two tables just over the road from the Javelin train connection that’s ferrying spectators from St Pancras to the Olympic Stadium over the next three weeks. The tables have free bats and balls and are among the 100 or so at 86 sites in the city delivered by Ping! in association with the English Table Tennis Association. The tables have signs encouraging anyone on their own to challenge a passer-by to a match. So, come on London, the Games are on!
• To find a ping pong table in London, see pinglondon.co.uk