Eating Out Events/Classes London

Umbrella Bar at Will to Win, Hyde Park

June 21, 2016

Summertime, and the living is easy…

Except when you live in London where summertime is temperamental and selective about when it decides to make an entrance! But if it wasn’t this way, whatever would we do for small talk? Come rain or shine, the great British summer is officially upon us which means we Londoners are either planning weekends in the country or praying for those impromptu picnics and backyard barbeques!

I like the countryside jaunts as much as the next city slicker with a penchant for fresh air once in a while, but there’s something to be said for a spontaneous frolic in one of London’s many green spaces. Our usual park of choice is nearby Clapham Common where as soon as the sun is out, every SW Londoner and their dog is fighting for a piece of the action. This year however, we might find ourselves heading to Hyde Park since we’ve discovered this fantastic little gem, nestled in one corner of the grounds…

If you weren’t looking for the Will to Win Tennis Centre, it’s unlikely you’d find it. Even if you did stumble upon it, you’d probably be fooled into thinking it’s a private club for the Knightsbridge elite. Understandable, but how wrong you would be as Will to Win was actually founded to be quite the opposite – they’ve got centres all over London so people can have a game whenever they want, no membership required. I’d totally grab a racket and get on the court if I could actually hit a tennis ball but thankfully they’ve also got lawn bowls and a putting green to keep me occupied!

Naturally, with all these opportunities for such strenuous activity, you’ve got to keep your energy up… which is where Will to Win’s new Umbrella Bar comes to the rescue. When we trotted along to their garden party in honour of the new bar, we were warmly welcomed with a Sipsmith London Cup – definitely a bolder, more aromatic drink than their rival Pimms – while learning a little bit more about their gins… A certain someone and I were both particularly taken by the rich flavour of their sloe gin!

As Will to Win are responsible hosts, they also offered us a delectable selection of mezzes which included cured meats and cheeses, all sourced from small scale artisan producers – these guys really care as much about their food and drink as they do about their sport! They can easily put together large platters for a group or even these great little ‘tin plates’ for one so there’s no excuse for a lack of sustenance before or after your sporting escapades. And don’t forget the ice cream… Jude’s gin and tonic flavour made with Sipsmith’s gin is the perfect treat for adults!

Now it was time to get down to business. Both a certain someone and I have played lawn bowls before (in varying degrees of intoxication, not at all pros) so we were excited to get back on the green. And before you go thinking it’s only for the oldies, lawn bowls is the perfect casual summertime activity – not at all onerous, plenty of fun, and quite hilarious if you don’t tell new players about the weights in bowls… not that I would ever do that!

Once we were quite bowled out, we took advantage of the late summer sunsets and even snuck in a cheeky once-round the putting green before calling it a night! However, that was not the last they’ll see of us… because we will be back the next time the London sun is shining, with a group of friends in tow!

What are you plans for the summer? Have you ever played lawn bowls before?

Thanks to Will to Win for a wonderful evening in the temperamental British summer, but as always, all opinions are mine and mine alone!

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