How young south west Londoners are taking up old pastimes

By SWL staff
November 28 2019, 12.25

Every so often, an old pastime that seemed to be slowly consigned to the past suddenly comes back into fashion.

It’s usually the younger generation that are responsible for reviving these trends – let’s take a look at a few that have returned to the fore. 


Arguably the pastime to see the biggest surge in popularity among young people in recent years is baking. The main reason behind this is fairly obvious – the huge popularity of the TV show The Great British Bake Off. This show first aired in 2010 and has gone on to become on of the UK’s most popular TV programmes. The show now features a diverse cast of contestants, including plenty of young people. In the 2019 series, seven members of the 13-strong cast were in their twenties and two contestants were just 20-years-old.

Cooking has always been a popular pastime across all age groups, but baking is now very much in vogue. It’s not just cakes and cookies, though – millennials are even flooding Instagram with pictures of home-baked bread. Instagram is one of the biggest motivations behind the baking boom, and for young people the creative, aesthetic appeal of baking goes hand in hand with social media.

The process of baking also has a therapeutic quality which appeals to many youngsters living in the hustle and bustle of London. Of course, the fact that it’s hit at dinner parties and is a great way to impress you friends helps as well. Who doesn’t love a slice of cake, after all? There’s also social media stars like Deliciously Ella, who went viral thanks to her vegan sweet potato brownies, and loads of dairy-free baking alternatives are popping up in a similar vein.

While there are loads of YouTube videos you can use to learn how to bake, there are also a number of classes available in south west London, such as at Cake Boy in Battersea and Ma Baker in Fulham.


Probably one of the activities people are least likely to associate with young people, knitting isn’t exactly the dying art some people may think it is. Far removed from being a pastime restricted to your old nan, more and more young South West Londoners have taken up knitting in recent years. 

One of the reasons behind the surge in knitting’s popularity is that it provides a way for young Londoners to take a break from what can often be stressful effects of technology and fast-paced city life. Research even suggests that knitting can reduce anxiety, depression and even slow dementia. 

On top of that, knitting is a great way for people in their 20s and 30s to express their creativity. It’s a fairly easy and cheap hobby to pick up, and it’s also something you can do when travelling – it’s not uncommon to see people knitting on their daily commute on the tube. The fact that young celebrities such as Carla Delevigne and Demi Lovato have been pictured knitting is probably also partly behind this knitting revival.

It’s not just scarves, hats and jumpers that young people are knitting, though. ‘Yarn bombing’ is a knitting trend that has cropped up in recent years and is essentially the knitting version of graffiti. This form of street art involves adorning public places with knitted icons and has popped up all over the capital. It’s done either to simply add colour things or to make social and political statements. That’s right, knitting can be political!


Chances are, when you think of bingo, the image that comes to mind is a bunch of elderly people crossing numbers off a sheet. However, while traditionally associated with the older generations, bingo is now very much in vogue among South West London’s young inhabitants.

Just look at Bongo’s Bingo. This has revolutionised bingo by transforming it from the relaxed, simple pastime of yesteryear to a high octane, party-style event complete with music, stage performers and plenty of drinks. Bongo’s Bingo has become hugely popular among young people and hosts events across the world, with several in London.

There are a number of venues across the capital that have taken a similar approach to bingo, similar to how alcohol-influenced activities like indoor crazy golf and darts have become popular among young Londoners. One such example is Bogan Bingo in Fulham, which mixes bingo with a comedy game show and throws in plenty of 80s and 90s tunes. You don’t have to visit a bingo hall to join in on the fun, though. With a wide number of online bingo sites available, twentysomethings can now enjoy a game of bingo anytime, anywhere.


While you may see someone knitting every now and again on the tube, something you’re more likely to see is people doing puzzles like sudoku and crosswords. Again, these are activities that aren’t typically associated with the younger generations, but more and more young Londoners are taking up puzzles.

Picture puzzles are a great form of mental stimulation and are a good way of keeping your brain active without relying on technology. The same goes for sudoku and crosswords, and these can be played in newspapers and books as well as on smartphones, depending on your preference. Research suggests that regularly doing sudoku or crosswords can help keep your brain younger and healthier, which is something that appeals to a lot of young people.

The fact that crossword and sudoku puzzles are portable and can be picked up from any point is another bonus. Everyone has their own way of passing the time while on the tube, and the engrossing, challenging nature of number and word puzzles mean these have become the go-to option for many young Londoners. 

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