Babylon Park is a chain of indoor amusement parks founded in Israel in 2012. The first branch opened that year in Eliat, and it has since been followed by three more: Belgrade (Serbia) and Tel Aviv (Israel) opened in 2021, and the first European branch opened in Camden Town in June 2022. One suspects that more will follow in due course if the business model proves successful.
The Camden Town branch is accessed from street level. The front door leads more or less directly to a pair of descending escalators and a basement area filled with rides and arcade machines. The space has a high ceiling and a very colourful themed decor based around an extended family of alien mascots, and it has to be said that it looks really good even if it can be a bit silly in places, not least in the bathrooms where the doors are descriptively labelled as “Hooo-men Pee-Pee & Poo-Poo”.
The bad news for enthusiasts (and for that matter everyone) is the pricing, which is best described as a violation. Access to attractions requires purchasing a pack of “game coins”, and if you haven’t done that online ahead of time the cheapest available on-site is 240 tokens for £25. Worse yet, this figure does not include an additional £1 for the required smart card. The value of the British Pound has crashed in recent weeks thanks to some bizarre political decisions, but even allowing for that this remains an utterly bonkers amount of money for someone just after a quick credit.
E.R.S. (#3041) is a new style of family coaster from SBF Rides. It comprises a tyre-drive lift, a descending helix, an airtime hill, and an inadequately banked turn back to the station that is loaded with lateral forces. The train handles the track very well, and as a result the four-lap cycle is great fun and the sort of thing I’d happily have done more than once. Despite our £26 investment, however, my partner and I only had enough tokens left for one off us to repeat – and rather than go solo I decided I might as well donate the value to a fellow enthusiast we’d planned to meet later in the day for dinner.
At a quarter of the price I’d happily go back to Babylon Park on future trips to London. As it stands, however, I rather suspect that I’ve made my first and only visit barring something truly dramatic happening. Such is life.