Axe-throwing with Whistle Punks in South London

I recently had some spare time at my hands and googled quirky fun things to do in London. When Whistle Punks’ axe-throwing (or “urban axe-throwing” as they call it) popped up, I knew I had to book myself in.

Not sure if that is normal, but I always wanted to do some axe-throwing. I am a very peaceful, cautious, rational person, but it just sounds and looks like so much fun. Also, hard to imagine better ways of getting rid of a bit of frustration which in these testing times inevitably accumulate.

For £22 off-peak (£29 full price) it seemed reasonably priced. I booked a one-hour single ticket for the following day’s evening.

 

To find the venue is not easy. Most people will arrive by train, bus, or tube at Vauxhall station. At time of writing, the direct path to the venue is blocked by construction sites.

 

Please check yourself before you visit, but when I visited, I found it helpful to walk towards Vauxhall Leisure Centre, 50 South Lambeth Road, London SW8 1DY. Once there, just continue to walk down South Lambeth Road some 100 more metres, then turn right into Miles Street, cross under the railway tracks, then immediately turn right into Bondway. The venue is one of the first ones on your right-hand side in one of the railway arches, you cannot miss it.

   

The chirpy and cheerful staff are clearly well-trained on Covid-measures and even take your temperature. A good thing in my book.

There is a funky, hipster vibe with a few more quirky elements, like fainted red splatter on the ground which does not look much like blood, but must have been intended to evoke a vague association to blood. All fine, as far as I am concerned, I like it.

You can order packaged snacks like crisps, and drinks, including alcoholic drinks. The staff gave me the impression that they would stick with their policy of preventing any intoxicated guests from throwing any deadly weapons. Personally, I would have slightly preferred if alcohol would not be mixed with axe-throwing, but that is just me, no one else seems to have an issue with it.

Our instructor, Alice, in her late teens, made a great and rather successful effort in making us feel welcome and entertained us with an exuberant, loud but family-friendly, I-am-your-Killer-Squad-buddy-join-me-for-the-peaceful-light-heared-fun-and-games one-woman show. Well done there.

Most importantly, she took the safety briefing very serious and had a great way of teaching the other four guests (two couples in their twenties) and me the best throwing techniques.

We started with the upper single-handed throwing technique, the most basic, traditional technique. I am not extremely gifted motorically, so was not expecting to be able to make it anywhere near the target, but my second attempt already landed the axe two inches from the bull’s eye. No one in our group took more than five attempts to at least hit the target and make the axe stick, quite an achievement!

It is shockingly easy to throw an axe, it requires next to now physical effort, an eight-year old could do it without breaking sweat.

Next up, we learned how to throw the axe with both hands above our head. It turned out that this was going to be my thing. I started landing the axe in the target again and again. Usually in the outer circle, so just one point. An inner circle is three points, bull’s eye five. If you hit one of the two red spots to the left and right above the target it is seven.

The groups per double-throwing lane can be up to twelve persons big. So with us being just five guests we were very lucky. Each of us threw the axe more often than I could count (well, not boasting: I can count up to at least a hundred, but you know what I mean lol).

Next up, we entered our first competition. Then we did some under-arm throwing technique, at which I sucked miserably. It feels totally unnatural to me.

Towards the end we did a final competition, including a knock-out stage to determine the overall winner. I lost narrowly against one of the ladies. Funny enough, but on average the ladies were doing better than the blokes.

Did it fell safe at all times? Yes.

   

Did I think all precautions taken were perfect? Maybe not. I would have preferred if the throwing would take place in a proper cage, with no risk of an axe leaving the area. They just have barriers along each side of the double-lane. And those two barriers, left and right, only start at the line behind which you stand when you are throwing.

The risk of some freak accident where an axe flies off sideways, upwards, or backwards from a thrower seems very low, but I would feel better if there were a barrier that caught the axe, should it happen. That’s all I am saying. Axes are deadly weapons and some of the guests will use all their available force to throw the axe.

That said, I will almost certainly be back soon, most likely with a whole group of friends, so that we can have a double-lane for ourselves for a few hours. Throwing an axe is good exercise, great fun, and an absolutely fabulous way of getting rid of frustrations and freeing yourself. 4.5 out of 5.

Looking for more fun activities in London? Check out our review of Vauxwall, the Vauxhall indoor climbing wall, literally two minutes’ walk away, our Sherlock Holmes escape room experience, our trip on a Thames Rocket, our murder mystery experience, or that time we did some sight-seeing with a helicopter. And why not have a look at our article about packrafting in Wales.

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8 Comments

  1. Axe-throwing as leisure?!?!?! You Brits *are* weird (please don’t mind these salsa-loving Cubans)! Guess it must be good for all those London street-rage cases, right? 😉 No, seriously – it really seems to be better for letting off some steam than good old bowling! Loved this post! 🙂

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