• By Ellen O'Riordan on Mar 10, 2016

A Guide to Playing Sport in Clapham

A small but thriving town in South London, Clapham is best known for its vast, verdant common, its high expat and young graduate population and its laid back pub scene.  It was voted the ‘best place to live in London’ in a 2015 Time Out survey of more than 12,000 Londoners.  If you’re new to the area and looking to get active and involved in sports, don’t fret, your real estate agents have by no means left you shortchanged.  The area is brimming with sports teams, public facilities and private studios, so you’re destined to find something that suits your boots.

The first stop for any sportsperson should be Clapham Common, the 200 acre park with surrounding ponds, is one of London’s largest open spaces.  The Common is heaving with spandexified individuals especially as the sports activities crank up a notch in the summer months.  Amidst the greenery of the park are 3 cricket pitches, 8 eleven-a-side football pitches, 8 tennis courts, a skate-park and 2 basketball courts.  Run Club London meets in the Common on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 19:15 and Saturdays at 09:30.  The runs incorporate a coaching element and are specifically geared towards beginner and intermediate runners.  Book a trial at runclub.co.uk.  If you’re looking for a hard core workout, British Military Fitness boot camps are lead by ex-Royal Signals soldier Neal Williams and are held over 19 times per week.  Bring your ‘A’ game and expect to sweat.

Clapham has a longstanding relationship with football, their most notable high being the Clapham Rovers Football Club winning the 1880 FA Cup, so there’s no shortage of football teams or Clapham facilities for hire.  The 8 full sized pitches in Clapham Common are available for pay per play bookings from September until May.  Book via GLL by phoning 020 8767 1830.  The Clapham Kicks is a new women’s football team, with a friendly and inclusive spirit, that competes in The Greater London Women’s Football League and the AFA cup.  The South London Women’s FC is open to players of all standards, just request on the website to join a training session and trial for the team.  

Battersea Ironsides is a friendly and sociable rugby club and is famous for its hard play.  The club has squads to fit every age group, from the Under 6s and the Under 15s girls’ team to the senior Seniors Firsts.  The 4 senior teams train on Tuesday and Thursday nights and compete in competitive leagues along with the occasional vets side.  On Sunday mornings the Juniors learn the core skills of rugby, but focus is placed on the “fun factor” of the sport.  To try out for a team simply show up at a practise session at Openview, off Burntwood Lane, Earlsford or phone 020 8874 9913.  

The well-kempt Clapham Tennis Courts are found in the thick of Clapham Commons.  With eight courts, three of them floodlit, available for the same price as a humble Zone 1 pint, they are great for a friendly knock around.  To book call 0207 223 9837.  Tennis coaching is also available on the courts through Julian Cousins, who runs an array of junior courses such as LTA mini-tennis, teenage tennis and holiday camps.  He also provides group adult coaching for beginners to advance (£75 for 6 sessions), private lessons (£45 per hour) and women’s social sessions.  Grafton Lawn Tennis Club is a brilliant club for a welcoming, community vibe.  It boasts 6 all-weather courts, 6 of which are floodlit, available exclusively to members.  Social tennis is held on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons, intending to mix up the levels of players and get new members involved.  The club also has 3 newly refurbished squash courts which are available for 45 minute bookings.

Go Mammoth organises a number of netball leagues and training sessions in Clapham Common for recreational and intermediate players.  There are events nearly every night of the week.  Visit the website to find a suitable time.  Clapham Canoe Club teaches the basics of kayaking on Sunday evenings and provides Canoe Polo for £7 on Thursday evenings, both at Clapham Leisure Centre .  Phone 020 7350 0086 for bookings.  Clapham Lacrosse Club encourages playing the sport competitively whilst maintaining a fun and inclusive environment.  The ladies’ lacrosse team meets on Tuesday nights and plays matches on Sundays throughout the summer.  The Wandsworth Demons is an Aussie Rules Football Club that plays on Clapham Common.  It is active during the summer, but recruits throughout the year for Aussie bred additions and anyone else who has an interest in learning the sport from down under.

Clapham has some great leisure centres.  The Lambeth Academy is close to Clapham South and offers an assortment of facilities such as a sports hall, dance studio and multi-use pitches for tennis and netball.  Activities held at the venue include team sports, fitness sessions and dance classes.  Clapham Leisure Centre is run by the GLL and was refurbished back in 2012.  Its large range of facilities are open to the general public including a fully equipped gym, indoor swimming pool and a multi-use sports hall (badminton courts, five-a-side, netball and basketball).  It also offers studio based classes such as aerobiking, box fit and pilates.  St. Francis Xavier Sixth Form College, located in Clapham South, offers a number of good value and well maintained sports facilities which are used by a number of organisations such as GoMammoth.  It has a Clapham sports hall for hire which is ideal for five-a-side football, basketball, volleyball, badminton (3 courts) and netball.  There is also a dance studio and multi purpose hall with 180 seats suitable for dance performances and seminars.  La Retraite Roman Catholic School also offers a dance and drama studio and mutil-purpose sports hall.  In addition it has a playing field and basketball court.  Phone 020 8673 5644 to book any of the facilities.

Union Station Yoga provides dynamic and restorative yoga classes including Beginner’s, Power, Yin and even Candlelit Flow.  The studios are beautifully lit and spacious, with mats provided for the classes.  Try the studio’s intro offer of £40 for 20 days of unlimited yoga.

Fitness Fusions is the go to venue for intelligent and precise body training.  The studio leads yoga, pilates and ballet based fitness classes, working on gaining a lean physique, preventing injury and revitalising the mind.  Their reformer yoga and pilates classes are particularly strengthening and cost £15-£20 per class.

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Kings Avenue School

Kings Avenue Clapham Central London SW4 8BQ

Kings Avenue School

Kings Avenue Clapham South London SW4 8BQ

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