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Perhaps overlooked by many as the polite, quiet cousin, badminton is often overshadowed by its more ballsy and visually impressive racquet relative. Don’t underestimate its power though. In Britain badminton has over four million competitive players, greater than that of tennis and second only to football. Badminton is actually the quickest racquet sport in the world. Whilst the fastest serve in tennis reached a speed of 263km per hour, badminton’s former world champion Fu Haifeng smashed a shuttlecock at 332km per hour. With the sport demanding such speed, players rapidly improve upon agility, fitness and reflex reactions. Badminton is also one of the most evenly weighted mixed gender sports, making it the optimum mixed double sport. With the majority of the courts residing indoors, it’s a great game to play throughout the soggy winter months. Most of the badminton courts in London are in sports halls and leisure centres, making them difficult to locate online, but reasonably cheap to rent.
Sobell Leisure Centre (Finsbury Park, Islington)
With 14 indoor courts available, Sobell Leisure is one of the largest badminton centres in London. Courts are £9.70 per hour off-peak and £14.30 per hour during peak times. Weekly drop in sessions are available for juniors, adults and women only, run by coaches qualified by the Badminton Coaching Association. They also have a No Strings Badminton session on Saturdays for all levels for £5. The Sobell Badminton Club is the centre’s resident club and has a warm and friendly atmosphere, welcoming players of an intermediate standard plus. To participate in league games, contact Tariq Shamsudeen on 07768748942 or visit www.sobellbadmintonclub.com.
Offers pay per play and membership rates across its 4 indoor badminton courts. The courts are located within the sports hall of a school so are available after 5pm Monday to Friday, until 2.30pm on Saturdays and 10am to 3pm on Sundays. They’re priced at £15 per hour and are booked by phoning 0208 888 1722.
Operating both a pay per play system and memberships, there are 5 indoor courts for use. Demand is high for these courts, and with bookings opening seven days prior to play, you should try to book early morning of the week before. The London Victoria Badminton Club resides here and hosts Friday evening club nights. Players should be of an intermediate to advanced level and have at least five years of badminton experience to join. Parking is a nightmare in the vicinity, so it is best to travel by public transport via the nearby Victoria Station.
Condition: Well maintained.
Amenities: Changing facilities, showers, racquet hire, pay and display parking.
Aspire Centre at Southfields Academy (Southfields, Wandsworth)
The academy has 4 indoor courts available for hire on a pay per play basis or on a block booking arrangement. They are available from 4pm during the week, 8am-6pm on Saturdays and 9am-6pm on Sundays. The courts cost £10 for members and £12.50 for non-members. Bookings are made over the phone by calling 0208 875 2603.
Condition: Well maintained.
Amenities: Changing facilities, showers, pay and display parking nearby.
Finsbury Leisure Centre (Old Street, Islington)
With 6 indoor courts available in this central location, bookings must be made in advance. Courts are around £7 per 40 minute slot. The Finsbury Badminton Club plays here and consists of intermediate and advanced members, playing on Tuesday and Sunday evenings. Their 10 teams compete in the Hammersmith and Middlesex Leagues.
Located beside Shoreditch Park, this is a superb location for central London play. The 6 indoor badminton courts here are set up in the multi-genre sportshall. An annual £30 membership will give you a 30% discount on court hire, but external pay per play fees are still reasonable. The real advantage for members is the ability to book the courts 7 days in advance.
The facility has 5 badminton courts located in its sports hall. You can book a court for £12.70 an hour, or buy a Pay per Play membership for a small annual fee, entitling you to 30% off each booking. The centre is home to the Marylebone Badminton Club, which has players of an all round intermediate level, meeting on Saturday mornings. Entry to the club is based on experience and is gained by applying through their website.
Amenities: Changing facilities, showers.
Kensington Leisure Centre (Holland Park, Kensington)
This ‘Better’ facility was reopened after renovation in 2015, so is in pristine condition. It holds 2 badminton courts in their sports hall available on a pay per play basis and with discounted rates for members. The facility also offers No Strings Badminton sessions on Tuesdays between 12 and 2pm.
Amenities: Changing facilities, showers, car park.
Looking for a tennis partner, very keen to play on weekends. However weekdays in the afternoon would...