Inspired by the London Olympics and thinking of dusting off your athletics spikes or perhaps just getting a bit fitter? If so, you are in luck as the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre has both indoor and outdoor athletics facilities and is round the corner from Dulwich. Friendly South London Harriers use the main track as their training ground and welcome new members. Otherwise Dulwich College Sports Club also have a 300m athletics track, but it is usually reserved for club members only.
Surprisingly badminton is one of the fastest racquet sports in the world and Badminton England have recently introduced a friendly ‘No strings’ format allowing anyone to get involved. In Dulwich sessions take place on Tuesday nights and Sunday mornings at Dulwich College Sports Club. You just need to bring a fiver, equipment is supplied. Non-members can also get involved in their Monday evening Badminton Club Night (£8).
There are several options for with free concrete outdoor courts at Dulwich Park and just next to West Dulwich station. Alternatively you can play indoors at some of the local Dulwich schools as at Alleyn’s School, Dulwich College Sports Club and the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, subject to availability.
Contrary to popular belief you do not need to be over 65, called Maureen and have dentures to play bowls. Furthermore Bowls England are keen to promote their sport to a younger audience and in Dulwich there are two main options. Dulwich Park has a private members bowling green towards the centre of the park (call 020 7525 2000). Slightly further away in Hilly Fields (Brockley) is the very sociable Francis Drake Bowls Club which is always looking for new members.
Dulwich is inundated with cricket pitches and naturally cricket nets often accompany them. Your first port of call should be which has three cricket nets available on a pay and play basis throughout the summer months. Dulwich Park also offers two crickets to the public for free which gets popular during summer evenings. Finally Dulwich College, Alleyn’s School, Lloyds Cricket Ground and Streatham & Marlborough Cricket Club also offer good cricket nets but you will need to enquire about availability.
Dulwich not only has cricket pitches, it has exceptionally good cricket pitches. You really are spoilt for choice. The main picks are (four pitches), Streatham & Marlborough Cricket Club (two pitches) and Dulwich Cricket Club which are the best quality Dulwich cricket pitches. Alternatively Dulwich Park (two pitches), and Belair Park (two pitches) offers pitches for lower budgets, the only sacrifice is the quality.
Often combined with Pimms and cucumber sandwiches, croquet is a relatively rare sport in London. This is why Dulwich is lucky as Dulwich Croquet Club and Sydenham Tennis and Croquet Club have excellent croquet greens. You will need to become a member of either of these clubs or butter up a friend who is a member. The alternative is to buy a simple set from Dulwich Sports Shop and grab some grass in either Dulwich or Belair Park.
Unlike any other sport, a decent pot-belly and regular sessions in pubs are highly encouraged and will serve you well. Darts in Dulwich can be played at several of the pubs such as The Castle, The Ember and Crown and Greyhound.
Dulwich Riding Centre is the place for all your riding needs with an excellent selection of lessons available to all members of the public. Hourly Horse Riding Lessons are on offer for adults and children whether you are a complete beginner or highly experienced. Excursions around nearby Dulwich Park are a particular attraction.
One of the best football initiatives in Dulwich is ‘Freedom Football’ run by Dulwich College Sports Club every Monday and Wednesday evenings. No commitment is needed and you can simply turn up and play for a fiver (or pay monthly for £17.50). Otherwise grass 11-a-side football pitches are available at , Belair Park and Dulwich Park. Indoor sports halls are available at Alleyn’s School, Dulwich College Sports Club, JAGS Sports Club and all these venues offer Astroturf football pitches too.
Dulwich and Sydenham Golf Course is certainly the signature golf course in Dulwich with stunning views over London from the clubhouse. The only bad news is that is strictly members only and the high quality course justifies its premium. But do not despair as pay and play golf is available at Beckenham Place Park, only 15 minutes’ drive from Dulwich. A round at Beckenham Place Park is inexpensive, the quality is perfectly reasonable you can often just turn up and play too. If you just want to smash some balls, head to World of Golf Croydon which is the nearest Golf Driving range to Dulwich.
If you are looking to pump some iron you have several options. Pay and play gyms are available at Hamlets Health Club, Dulwich Leisure Centre and Crystal Palace National Sports Centre with all the cardio and weight equipment you could possible need. Others options available to members only include Dulwich College Sports Club, JAGS Sports Club and La Fitness Sydenham. These all require a monthly fee.
If you are looking to play regularly then look no further than Tulse Hill & Dulwich Hockey Club who consider themselves to be South London’s ‘Friendliest Hockey Club’. Dulwich also has an extensive selection of Astroturf pitches available which are often used for hockey such as at Dulwich College Sports Club, Alleyn’s School, JAGS Sports Club and Kingsdale Foundation School. It is worth contacting these specific venues to see if there are any open community groups playing such as Rush Hockey which is a shorter format of the game promoted by England Hockey.
Indoor Cricket is a growing sport, mainly because the English weather is so miserable. Cricket nets are available for hire at Alleyn’s School, Dulwich College Sports Club and Dulwich Prep London. These sports halls can also be used for which is typically played with two teams of eight players and is currently being widely promoted by the English Cricket Board.
Dulwich College Sports Club offers drop-in Freedom Football every Wednesday from 9pm to 10pm in their sports hall for only £5 per session if you are time-strapped and want to avoid committing to a team. Otherwise you can hire indoor sports halls at Alleyn’s School, Dulwich College Sports Club, JAGS Sports Club and Dulwich Prep London.
Dulwich is an excellent area for running given its inherently leafy and open area and abundance of parks. However motivating oneself is difficult which is where Parkrun in Dulwich Park is ideal. Well organised, timed 5km runs start at 9am every Saturday throughout the year. However if you don’t need the motivation then is a fantastic jogging location either way and has an open air gym too.
Judo and Ju-Jitsu
If you want a combination of self-discipline, exercise and focus then head to Dulwich Leisure Centre every Friday from 4pm to 6pm for their judo class. Ju-Jitsu is also on offer which is slightly more physical and takes place every Saturdays from 1.15pm – 2.15pm.
Karate is a striking martial art which uses punches, kicks, knee strikes and elbow strikes, making it ideal for helping you get on the train in the morning. It was made famous by Wesley Snipes and the Karate Kid and Saizen Kai have a variety of classes at the every weekend.
Dynamite Gym have a variety of Muay Thai classes (main form of Kick-Boxing) available throughout the week at venues such as Dulwich Constitutional Hall and the Goose Green in Dulwich. Furthermore they offer a free trial for their first lesson.
Sam is the founder of a local Dulwich startup – . He is bringing some of the Dulwich sports facilities online to allow locals to book them such as the Rosendale Playing Fields, Dulwich Sports Ground and Alleyn”s School.