Saturday, September 25, 2010

The largest amusement centre in central London - the baroque styled Trocadero

Mention amusement centres to a Londoner and he'll point you to the many neon-lit entertainment centres in Leicester Square and Chinatown. These dodgy places will invariably house a couple of arcade machines up front. Nothing fancy, some first person shooter machines, perhaps the latest Time Crisis if you're in luck.

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The real money spinners, however, are the fruit machines at the back end. You could bet 10p to a couple of quid per line in the hope for the jackpot. Some more established places even have their own mini casinos with the whole works. Of course, there are always the tamer billard tables that go by the game or even per hour. In short, these aren't exactly the place where you'll bring your family to.

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If you are looking for some good clean noisy fun, look no further than the Trocadero. A stone's throw from the Eros at Piccadilly Circus, this some what grand looking building is home to the largest amusement centre in Central London.

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Stretched over five storeys, the Trocadero, named after Battle of Trocadero where the French triumphed over the Spanish, was once the venue of a brothel for the wealthy. Today, even though its Baroque facade remains, the interior has been thoroughly gutted and replaced with neon lights, a confusing myriad of escalators and shops catered specifically for bored tourists and teenagers with some spare cash.

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Arcade machines, scores of them with some programmed with current games, filled the floors. You could of course break a tenner for a bucket of 2p coins and head to the coin tables machine (I'm sure they have a name for those). Make no mistakes, there are fruit machines but they're all placed round a corner and out of sight. There's even a cinema with a couple of screens and some bowling lanes to boot.

A place to deposit your teenagers? Probably. But this is definitely the place to leave your guy if you're on a shopping trip along Regent Street.

Have you been to the Trocadero? What do you think of it?

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12 comments:

Emm said...

Ohhh, I realy don't ike Trocadero. It is horrible and soulless! The Husband far prefers to be deposited in the Ferrari shop up Regents Street.

Nora Din said...

Used to hang out there when I was living in London in 2002. All neon lights and very noisy to boot!!

C K said...

@Emm,
I'm sorry, I have got this terrible weakness for arcade machines, something that was carried over from my secondary school days. heheh..

The Apple store along Regent Street works for me too!

C K said...

@Nora Din,
It's a bit run down these days. I assume it was better back then. Looking at its facade, you'll never guess what's within it, isn't it?

William K Wallace said...

Not my favourite place in London, but I would rather be there enjoying all the neon signs and noise than the madness of Regent or Oxford Street!

C K said...

@William,
Regent's Street not that bad really. As there's always Carnaby Street to escape into. Oxford Street is a totally different matter altogether, especially towards the end of it nearer to Primark and Marble Arch.

Anyway, are you there for the Regent Street Festival today?

Lisa Teng said...

When I first went there as a teenager in '97, it was then called Segaworld. Up the escalator was a huge statue of Sonic the Hedgehog and you had to pay an entry fee to go in. Thank goodness now it's free to go in to use the machines. Sometimes I go there to relive some of the games I played back in Singapore. :)

C K said...

@Lisa,
Ah, didn't know that. I could totally imagine a huge looming Sonic the Hedgehog. How much was the entrance fee then?

I couldn't get enough of the Macross machine at Trocadero... I just can't handle those VS games. What are some of your favourite games back home?

Lisa Teng said...

@CK

Wow, I can't remember the actual entry fee...perhaps it was around a fiver or something...

I just remembered that the entry fees included three tokens...so we had to choose our games carefully since £1 per game was very dear to us back then.

I'm really bad at the VS. games...I used to play (and I still play these games from time to time) Dance Dance Revolution, Puzzle Bubble and other games where you accumulate tickets to get a prize :)

C K said...

@Lisa,
Haha, I could never figure out Dance Dance Revolution. Never tried that lest I ended up looking like a wounded octopus.

Used to collect lots of tickets but gave up after spending a small fortune in return for a miserable eraser. lol, guess I'm not too good at those machines, am I?

Lady Banana said...

Again another place I've not been to in years. But when I did go I didn't like it, in fact I dislike the whole area of Piccadilly and Leicester Square, it's so trashy.

However I do remember it back in the late 70's when every other shop was a sex shop with booths for you know what in the basements and prostitutes openly paraded the area..

C K said...

@Lady Banana,
I believe the sex shops are still in Soho but I'm not sure about the prostitutes though. Then again, most of the West End theatres are in the area so you'll find me around there quite a bit. :p