As the UK’s capital and one of the world’s premier cities, London is a fantastic location. Full of character, diversity and fun, it never fails to amaze, from big attractions to hidden gems in London. Of course, all these qualities make London a great place for people to visit on holiday and spend some time getting to know it. One of the things people always notice about the city is the huge range of choice there is, in terms of staying busy.
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The range of entertainment options in London is vast and encompasses all the things you would expect – from shopping, top-class dining, concerts and bars to theatre shows, fabulous green spaces and world-famous attractions. Gaming is also big in the capital and this makes London a superb place for gamers. There really is every type of gaming you could want here, and this choice means it has something for everyone.
But what exactly does the city have to offer gamers?
Over the last five to 10 years, escape rooms have become hugely popular in many parts of the world. Combining puzzle-solving with a real sense of excitement, they involve having to find clues and solve conundrums to get out of a locked room. As one of the world’s premier cities, London offers some of the most awesome escape room experiences. Lots of companies have sprung up all across the capital and give teams of players the chance to test their problem-solving skills under pressure.
But which are some of the best escape room experiences you could try while in London? Enigma Quests is fast gaining an excellent reputation for providing the most immersive experience around. Their Live Quests last between one and two hours, with your team working together to get out of a specially themed room. Fox in a Box London is another escape room in the city that delivers a top-class experience. Featuring themed storylines (such as being in the middle of a nuclear launch, with the fate of the world in your hands), this interactive company also offers portable escape room fun.
When you also throw in the host of other outstanding escape room companies based in the city, from AIM – Revolutionary Escape Rooms to Escape London in Whitechapel, it is easy to see why the city is so popular for this type of gaming fun.
VR experiences in London
While top attractions such as the Tower of London will always make the UK’s capital a major draw for visitors, its gaming scene is also a big plus. Gaming as a sector has achieved real diversity and this is what makes it so much fun to get involved with. With so much choice on offer, you will never get bored and will always find a gaming niche to suit your taste. One of the most innovative to dive into while in London is VR gaming. Luckily, there are lots of places in the capital that make this easily accessible.
But why is a VR experience so awesome to try out? The main attraction is the way this type of gaming immerses you fully in a virtual world and delivers a gaming experience that is truly next level. If this sounds like something you want to try, Otherworld in Hackney is a great place to head to. This VR gaming haven offers 16 immersive titles and even comes with a Doctor Who-themed experience for more fun.
If you are going to be staying in a London hotel close to Wembley, the massive free-roam arena at Wembley Boxpark is definitely worth checking out. This is one of the top places in the city for adrenaline-charged VR experiences and has some great games to discover. DNA VR is also worth mentioning here because it is a Camden-based gaming arcade that is given over totally to VR titles. They offer a total free-roaming VR experience when gaming and this makes virtual gaming lots of fun.
In addition to locations in London that cater specifically to VR gaming, you will also find a whole host of arenas in the city that focus on other sectors of gaming. As the name implies, these gaming arenas are packed full of top games to try and are great places to visit in London. One of the best examples is Electronic Gamebox, which features a range of non-VR immersive games that are suitable for those aged 8 and over.
Gaming arenas in London can also be good locations to head to if you are into esports. Top of the list for many is the Red Bull Gaming Sphere in trendy Shoreditch. This hosts regular esports tournaments, workshops for gamers and even pro-gamer training sessions. Just remember to check what is on, and when, before you head down there, so you will not be disappointed.
Esports fans will also love the three Belong gaming arenas run by GAME, which are found in the city. These are the homes of the London Lionhearts, Stratford Spartans and Kingston Harrier esports sides. With regular events for gamers to attend and compete in across these three arenas, they remain a popular choice.
There are, of course, other gaming centres in London that are not focused solely on esports – or even video games at all! Axeperience in Whitechapel is a good example and is known to be one of the best axe-throwing venues in the UK. You also have the famous Crystal Maze Live Experience to check out in the city. Found in the West End, it allows you to try fun games and experience the thrill of playing in the actual Crystal Maze yourself. Star Command Laser Tag is also good fun if you enjoy running around the fully kitted out arena, trying to laser blast your friends!
Gaming events in London
London is no stranger to putting on impressive events that are the envy of the world. From music to films and sport, the city has been home to some truly awesome experiences over time. As you would expect, the gaming scene here is no exception. This makes it a great place to visit for any gamer who likes the buzz of being at large-scale meetups.
But which are the top gaming events in the city to enjoy? The annual London Games Festival at Tobacco Dock, which runs from early to mid-April each year, is worth considering. This awesome event has in-depth talks from game makers, with prototype details, and showcases new products. If you like keeping up with the latest developments in gaming, it is a worthwhile event to attend.
Taking place around the same time is the WASD video games festival in Wapping. This is a new event that keen video gamers will love and is set to include exhibitors such as SEGA for crowds to engage with. ICE London 2022 is another big gaming event that could be worth catching. This event will is held in April at ExCel London and will see the world’s best game developers attending to demonstrate their new titles.
There is also an annual BAFTA Games Awards ceremony scheduled for early April each year. This is an event to honour the most creative games launched within the last year and is very popular among gamers.
Esports, of course, has become a big attraction for gaming fans to watch and has some massive events happening across the world each year. In London this is also true, and keen esports admirers have a wide range of events in the capital to check out. Wembley Stadium is known for hosting top tournaments (such as the Call of Duty league and BLAST Premier Spring Series), so it is always worth keeping an eye on their schedule for what is coming up.
There is no doubt that arcade games are enduringly popular and something that all ages still love to get involved with. With the exciting feel of gaming arcades themselves, plus the fun, loud and colourful nature of the games, this is not a surprise. But where in London is the best place for arcade gaming?
Four Quarters stands out and can be found in Peckham, Hackney and Elephant & Castle. All the arcades in this group contain some great games to try (like Streetfighter II) and feature a lively, buzzing atmosphere. The decor in Four Quarters is also nicely done and really helps you enjoy the best gaming experience when there.
Heart of Gaming in East Croydon is also a well-liked place for arcade game lovers in the city. Full of retro-style games, it is the ideal place to spend an hour or two just having fun. When you add in Slice in Finsbury Park and Four Thieves in Clapham Junction (don’t let the name put you off!), it becomes obvious that London has some great arcade game outlets to enjoy.
Game shops in London
While in London, keen gamers might want to check out the latest games, pick up some new tech or simply browse what the capital’s game shops have to offer. Even if you do not buy anything, window shopping in these shops is a fine way to spend your time. As with other gaming activities in the city, the choice around London is very good.
Oxford Street is one of the city’s main shopping areas and where the Microsoft Store is found. This not only sells the latest Microsoft products and games but also has cutting-edge kit to check out. In addition, it also hosts regular gaming workshops and video game tournaments.
The RazerStore in London is also popular with gamers and has the latest gadgets for players to look over. This shop even allows you to test out new tech in their Playtest Area, and has dedicated gamer zones. When you also throw in plenty of independent gaming shops and big brands such as GAME, you can see what a great place London is for game stores.
Gaming bars and cafes
Sometimes you might want to enjoy gaming in London, and have a drink or something to eat at the same time. By combining both these things, the top gaming cafes and bars in the capital mean you don’t have to go far for a great night out. As you might expect, there are a lot of options in this area to choose from.
We have already mentioned Four Thieves in Clapham Junction as being a top place for arcade gaming – it is also a great location to grab a beer or snack as you play! Platform in Shoreditch is also worth mentioning, as it has pizza to enjoy as you play video games there. They even run a bottomless-brunch gaming event at certain times of the year.
Loading Bar is a top choice for gamers who want unique game-styled cocktails to enjoy as they play. This quirky bar also has a selection of Xbox One, Switch and PS4 games to try while you relax. If you want to play a different kind of game while enjoying a drink in London, Draughts is the ideal choice. This fun bar has over 800 board games to enjoy across two sites in Dalston and Waterloo.
There is no doubt that London is great city for gaming and one that has many different options. Casino gaming is huge around the UK, for example, and naturally plays a big part in London’s scene. This includes the many physical casinos that the capital has to offer, which give people an easy, glamorous way to play classics such as roulette or poker when in the city.
Of course, you might prefer a virtual gaming experience in London. This is no problem, as there are plenty of online casinos and other sites that you can enjoy from the comfort of your home or hotel room. Just remember to check out the latest online casino reviews first, so you find the best places to play online in the city.
If playing at a land-based site is your thing, though, physical casinos in the city are usually pretty simple to get to, due to their convenient locations and the excellent public transport network in London. Physical casinos in London deliver a top experience, with their glitzy atmosphere and selection of games they carry – many have top-class food and drinks to sample as well!
If you fancy going for a truly upmarket experience, casinos such as The Colony Club and Crockfords in Mayfair are good choices. Featuring fine dining, an excellent range of games and a top-range clientele, they are impressive places to spend time. If you do not fancy going quite so high-end, London has a range of exciting Grosvenor casinos to try in areas such as Piccadilly or Russell Square. Just remember to balance the fun of gaming in this way in a responsible way.
Mobile gaming in London
Mobile gaming is a pretty big sector globally now – in fact video gaming revenue figures from 2021 showed that revenue from gaming in smartphones in that period generated over $80bn alone! Playing games on a mobile device is certainly popular around London and it is easy to enjoy mobile games in the city when on the move.
But why is this? To begin with, London has decent mobile network coverage and fast internet speeds. This makes playing games on your mobile device easy and fun when moving about the city. Many cafes and bars in London will also offer free WiFi for customers to use. This is ideal if you are not in a game-themed establishment but want to pass the time by playing games on your smartphone. If you do not mind using your own data, there are plenty of outdoor spaces in the city that are great to sit and play fun titles in.
In addition to this, you also have to factor in that London has flagship shops from all the major mobile brands. This means you will always be able to pick up a new device to game on if needs be, or get help if your phone is not working. From the Apple Store in numerous locations (such as Regent Street and Covent Garden) to the Samsung shop in Selfridges or Canary Wharf, the choice is vast.
London is the ideal place for gamers
Discovering London is always a real pleasure and is something that is a constant process – even for those who have lived in the city for a while! It is also a great place for gamers, whether you call London home or are simply visiting the city for a while. Londoners know only too well how expensive the city can be, so check out our guide to saving money in London to help your cash go further on fun experiences like these.
As the above shows, the UK’s capital really does have a lot to offer and has many sides to its gaming scene. This can only be a good thing, as it means you always have something new to try and can explore another way of gaming when you get bored. As you would expect for such a large city, you will never struggle for ways to have fun as a gamer in the UK’s capital. Whatever type you enjoy, you are bound to find it in London.