What?: I feel like I should mention before I say anything else about it, this place has an inexplicable over-7s-only rule that I obviously wasn’t aware of when I visited with my five- and two-year-old. That said, we went and they played and nobody tried to stop them – and I only know about it because someone messaged me on Instagram after they’d tried to book tickets and been told by the venue that they “don’t recommend this environment for younger children”. So there you go, there’s your warning.
To be honest I’m sick to death of mini golf. I feel like we completely exhausted it over lockdown when adventure golf courses were the only remotely interesting thing that was still open. Adam, a golfer, is excruciating when it comes to anything golf-related, even when it involves toddlers, and pretty much every family mini-golf experience we’ve had has been stupidly stressful. That said, I will make allowances for exceptionally pretty courses, and this one is by far the most attractive we’ve visited.
Birdies Battersea is a nine-hole course, making it pretty manageable with young kids in tow. The set design, while not obviously following an overarching theme, is excellent, with holes featuring liquorice allsorts, dropped ice creams, plenty of Memphis styling and even secret holes behind closed doors. The whole thing takes maybe 45 minutes, bearing in mind you’ll probably have someone who doesn’t have small kids and is completing the course much faster than you right up your arse, so you do have to get a bit of a move on.
The cocktails here are good and strong, and there are drinks tables for you to rest your tiki cup on next to every hole, which along with the low lighting and railway arch location give this place a weird kind of nightclub vibe – which might be the ‘environment’ they’re refering to… or it might have something to do with the numerous tripping hazards. Regardless, Birdies really does bring the fun, and when you’re done you can tuck into their banging burger menu, which includes kids’ portions and vegan options.
Where?: We went to Birdies Battersea, which is located at 6 Arches Lane, Nine Elms, London SW11 8AB, and is a 12-minute walk from Battersea Park mainline station. Birdies also has a course at Roof East in Stratford.
When?: Birdies is open from 3pm on weekdays (closed Mondays) and from 12pm on weekends.
Cost: £12 per adult and £6 for under-18s.
Where to next? From here you can catch the Thames Clipper, which will take you pretty much anywhere your heart desires. If you’re staying local, then Battersea Park is always a good bet with tinies thanks to its excellent Children’s Zoo and humongous playground. Chelsea’s National Army Museum and Saatchi Gallery are close by too.
Roma gets her golf on at Birdies, Battersea