Queensway Bowling & Ice Skating – (Bayswater)
Published 27 November 2009
Bowling seems to be a dying sport and past-time, at least in London anyways. I remember as a young teenager how we used to hang out at bowling alleys in the afternoon after school, or on weekends. Since moving to London though I can count the number of times I have been bowling on one hand, and come to think of it, the number of bowling alleys that I know of in the city.
This is my second time back to Queensway bowling alley on the Bayswater main road. I remember going there once before a couple of years back, and the place hadn’t changed one bit in the intervening years. There’s always some sort of bouncer when you enter from the ground floor entrance, and the stairs going down to the basement bowling hall cavern makes it look like you’re going into a seedy place that is being kept away from the prying eyes of the public. Sort of like a gentlemen’s club.
Once downstairs though, a million things seek to distract your attention. There are the bowling lanes right in front, with the constant sound of pins being bowled over like background music. To the right there is the video arcade with classic 1990′s games like Dance Dance Revolution, Time Crisis, and Daytona. In the far right side is a decent size ice skating rink.
Queensway Bowling is quite a weird place, as everything seems aimed at kids, from the arcade to the bowling bumper lanes, and the pizza and fast food joint on the premise. But it does have a full bar and restaurant at one side, plus the bouncer at the entrance makes one think that perhaps its a popular hangout place for drug dealers or just plain chavs and yobs. In addition, there were signs promoting the bar as a place to watch live sports on Sky Sports. I can’t imagine any self-respecting sports fan who will want to willingly watch live sports in a basement bowling alley bar/pub, with the din of bowled pins in the background and the kids running around screaming.
Anyways, on a Saturday afternoon we arrived without a booking, and although the place was full we were given a bowling lane after half an hour. Prices are quite reasonable I guess, at £5ish per game, although they do run a Mondays Madness promotion, and on Tuesdays they run student promotions. Be sure to call before going to check to see if they have a private kids or office party, as it often is completely booked out in the evenings.
Bowling aficionados and professionals will be shocked to find out that when we went to collect our bowling shoes, we were told that we could just wear our sneakers… what nonsense! Part of the bowling fun is having to wear those funny (and smelly) shoes. Nevertheless, we kept our shoes on, but it can’t be good for the polished wooden floors to have lots of dirty sneakers traipsing all over them.
Overall it was quite a typical bowling experience really. I haven’t tried the ice skating yet, but some of my friends have in the past and it seems to be quite a decent experience, although not comparable at all to the outdoor ice skating rinks in London during the winter. The ice rink did look very crowded though on that Saturday afternoon, so beginners and those afraid of falling might want to go at a quieter time.
Although I love bowling, Queens Ice & Bowl is not a place I would go all out to organise a trip to, but I wouldn’t mind going if a friend was organising a trip there.
Pictures of bowling & ice skating at Queensway from my recent trip:
Address: Queens Ice & Bowl, 17 Queensway, Bayswater, London W2 4QP (location map)
Nearest Tube Stations: Queensway Tube Station (1 minute walk just around the corner), Bayswater Tube Station (3 minutes walk)
Tel. No for Booking & Reservations: +44 020 7229 0172