Karting: the most accessible motorsport of them all. No racing licence required (until you get up into the big leagues anyway), no need to buy kit or the kart itself and the chance to race for well under £100. Nice!
But if you’re a Londoner, what are your best options if you’re itching to get out on track? The capital has a tidy selection of indoor and outdoor tracks for casual racers, while some championship-level kart circuits lie just outside of the M25.
Here are our five favourites…
1. Revolution Karting
Closest station: Mile End tube
Address: 422-424 Burdett Rd, Mile End, London, E3 4AA | MAP
Opening hours: Monday-Saturday (9am-10pm), Sunday (11am-7pm)
Located just a 10-minute walk from Mile End tube, Revolution Karting is the only proper outdoor track in central London. The facility boasts 36 electric karts which can reach speeds of 45mph along the 750m track. And while you won’t catch many pros honing their art here, Londonites need look no further if some quick and dirty outdoor karting action is what you’re after.
2. TeamSport Tower Bridge
Closest station: Bermondsey tube
Address: Tower Bridge Business Complex, 100 Clements Rd, London, SE16 4DG | MAP
Opening hours: Monday-Sunday (9am-11pm)
TeamSport is the king of UK indoor karting, boasting 22 tracks throughout the land. Five of those are in London, with locations in Mitcham, Edmonton, Acton, Docklands and, our pick, Tower Bridge. Freshly fitted out with a new fleet of electric karts and new 800m track design, you can easily reach the fun, dual-level track after a hard day’s work in the city. Then once you’ve finished vanquishing your rivals, check out a couple of Bermondsey’s hip craft beer producers for some post-karting bevvies.
3. Capital Karts
Closest station: Becontree tube
Address: Unit 1, Rippleside, London, IG11 0RJ | MAP
Opening hours: Monday-Wednesday (9am-11pm), Thursday-Saturday (9am-12am), Sunday (8:30am-12am)
Claiming the record of longest indoor karting track in the UK at 1,050m – lap times here are around the 1m20 mark – Barking-based Capital Karts is worth the pilgrimage for Londoners looking to scratch their motorsport itch. The venue uses RiMO Alpha 270cc petrol karts, which hit speeds of up to 45mph down the 80m straight, while Capital was voted the UK’s best indoor circuit by Karting Magazine readers in 2015 and 2016.
4. Rye House
Closest station: Rye House
Address: Rye Rd, Hoddesdon, EN11 0EH | MAP
Opening hours: Monday-Friday (4pm-10pm), Saturday-Sunday (10am-10pm)
Slightly pushing the boundaries of ‘London’ here, given that Rye House lies outside of the M25, but it would have been foolhardy not to mention this top-level facility that’s a mere 36-minute train ride from Liverpool Street station. None other than Lewis Hamilton began his career here, and the track is a staple of a number of UK karting championships. Everything about Rye House screams ‘Pro!’, so make the trip out if you’re looking to get some serious karting done.
5. Daytona Sandown Park
Closest station: Esher
Address: More Lane, Esher, KT10 8AN | MAP
Opening hours: Monday-Saturday (9am-9pm), Sunday (10am-6pm)
Located in leafy Surrey, Daytona Sandown Park is the only National Karting Association and Motor Sport Association approved track to be found within the M25. Drivers can tackle the outdoor circuit in either 390cc Sordi RT8 or 125cc DMAX two-stroke karts, while none other than Fernando Alonso has graced the track with his presence. And if it’s good enough for Nando…
MORE: Check out our best go-kart tracks from across the UK.