Ever thought about curling? It’s likely you may have watched it on TV since the sport has been an official game at the Winter Olympics since 1998. However, when it comes to winter leisure activities we’ve actually done, it hasn’t reached the popularity of ice skating, skiing, snowboarding or sledding. However, that could be set to change with curling club Sliders pitching up at Queens this winter.
Following their successful run at Roof East in Stratford last year (and back again this winter), Sliders is going west at Queensway’s versatile leisure venue Queens. Known for its year-round indoor ice rink, Queens is also home to cocktail and burger haven MeatLiquor, a bowling alley and arcade following its recent £4million refurbishment.
I went along last week with a group of friends to try out the new curling experience. We started off in MeatLiquor first for cocktails and burgers. The restaurant is diner style, spacious with low ceilings featuring a mix of sofas, stools and chairs, with the options to order to your bowling lane. I opted for a Bristol Fizz cocktail (Grey Goose vodka shaken with pear, strawberry and lemon juice, topped with fizz), which was fruity, sweet and easy to drink. People with special dietary requirements (halal, gluten-free, etc) will be pleasantly surprised to see plenty of menu options. I ordered a really good halloumi burger, with a generous halloumi portion which was cooked perfectly so it wasn’t tough and chewy. I find many restaurants overcook halloumi so especially enjoyed the MeatLiquor one.
Following our meal we headed to the rink for a spot of curling. All four of our party were novices and admittedly hadn’t watched much of the sport on television. A portion of the rink has been transformed into curling lanes, with coaches on hand to explain the rules. As you would expect, it’s pretty cold so coats, hats and gloves wouldn’t go amiss. Unlike ice skating where you’re likely to keep warm through movement, there are periods during curling where you’ll be standing still on the ice, so make sure you’re wrapped up. Before entering the lanes, we were given grips to help transform our shoes into ice-suitable footwear.
Curling is a game which requires balance, strength and mental dexterity. I like to think (hopefully!) I have an adequate amount of all three, but needless to say, I wasn’t too good at curling. The game involves hurling a stone towards the target area. If you end up in the target, you can’t always be certain you’ll remain there during the round as you can get knocked out by a rival team or even your own teammate. My friends and I played against another team of four. Despite our team managing to win by 1 point, I was probably the weakest link and didn’t get any stone near the target. However, we all enjoyed the game and I would be keen to return in the hope of improving. By the end of our curling, we were pretty chilly so headed to the handily located ringside café, with hot drinks and heat lamps which were much appreciated.
While so many festive attractions in London are outside, Queens offers a range of fun activities inside. You could easily spend hours here with your friends drinking, eating and showing off your sporting prowess… or not so much. My group had a great evening and would be keen to try curling again… hopefully with better results. See you on the ice!
- Queens, 17 Queensway, W2 4PQ. Nearest station: Queensway or Bayswater. Tickets: From £12.50pp for teams of 4 or 8 (including curling, grips, drinks service and welcome drink). For more information and booking, visit the Queens website.
For a guide to what else is on in London this month, click here.