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A spontaneous trip to London for many means a meander around some shops, a few tourist hotspots and cocktails before finding somewhere for dinner or a last minute show.
There might have been a rough plan for the day and an idea of where writer Danielle Elton of 2Chill wanted to visit, but there were definitely no firm bookings made.
But then came the pandemic and the writer says "bookings became a must".
After planning a trip to the capital with her sister to celebrate her finishing university, she thought they'd hop on a train and pop into anywhere that took our fancy.
She said: "We didn’t want just any bar, we wanted quirky, different, fun – something London has in spades.
"Numerous Tik Tok videos were shared between us of bars with ball pits, boozy bingo, circus performers…there was even a bar inside a prison.
"But after realising that maybe we might need to book, we were frantically googling places on the night before, unfortunately to no avail. Everywhere seemed to be fully booked."
The girls did not, however, postpone their trip and stuck to their original plan.
They were were determined to find some places that accept walk-ins, which they did, but said some places were very limited.
Getting off at Liverpool Street, they tried Dirty Martini where there was no queue but it was a no.
They weren’t the only naive ones and a stream of people followed after with everyone asking the same questions. Could they get in without a booking?
But with an amazing-sounding bottomless brunch menu, Danielle said she wanted to give it a try but next time will definitely book.
Heading in the direction of Shoreditch, they didn’t have to wander far and came across Dirty Dicks.
"Thankfully, they got us in," said Danielle "Although we could only have our table for 45 minutes. Plenty of time for a few G&Ts.
"Knowing a manager at Swingers, she mentioned we’d be able to get in there if we found ourselves stuck. They hold a number of tickets back daily for walk-ins.
"So off we went to Swingers – an indoor crazy golf venue. We really wanted to find somewhere with an activity so this was perfect."
"What struck us as soon as we walked in' Danielle said was a "real club vibe".
"It had a real buzz to it, although you do have to wear a mask while going around the course, and unlike usual times, you can’t take your drink around with you.
The girls both commented on how we should have just gone straight there.
They really liked the atmosphere, and the staff really looked after us and there is not a long wait for a drink which you can order online.
At Swingers, there was a choice of street food vendors including pizza, burgers or tacos and burritos snd the pair were surprised how affordable it was.
"We both went for the mushroom and truffle pizza which was just over £10 each, and they were massive. In hindsight, we could have done one between us.
"We also had a little peruse over the cocktail menu, but decided on a few more G&Ts"
The golf course, they said was "pretty busy", but never required a wait for the people ahead of them. except when playing the last hole.
There are two nine-hole courses in the city venue – the Lighthouse, where the girls played and Windmill course.
"It was surprisingly easy", said Danielle "We didn’t actually need the six shots on most holes, and we both even got a hole-in-one.
The golfers, however, found a lot of different obstacles to get around including hole nine where you have to get the ball through the windmill.
It emerged as the favourite because it's where she got her hole-in-one.
They finished with cocktails, a Grapefruit Margarita and which they described as delicious.
After spending a few hours at Swingers they headed towards Liverpool Street with a plan to drop into The Alchemist on the way back.
This, however, was also a no-go without a booking.
But just a couple of streets away All Bar One could fit them in as they grabbed the last table
Danielle says: "So what did I learn on my trip to London?
"Well firstly, I’m not as bad at crazy golf as I thought, and secondly, it’s definitely worth booking. Not a mistake we’ll be making on our next trip.
"We’re living in a different world post-pandemic with the hospitality industry having to really refine their way of operating to keep in line with current restrictions.
"So with things as they stand, if you want to guarantee yourself a table, you really do need to book."
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