Guest post by Rick Patterson
Swimming is a full-body activity that provides plenty of physical and mental benefits when done on a regular basis. Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky enough to have their own private pool. But fear not, there are plenty of public swimming pools around London where you can get your fix on a budget.
1. Identify The Cheapest Leisure Centres
Leisure centres are all around London and most include a pool in their facilities. Leisure centres provide a number of ways for people to keep active and fit at an affordable price.
Most include basketball and squash courts, an aerobics studio, and rooms for meetings or parties. Relaxation is also an important component, with many including a solarium or steam room for you to unwind in. Leisure centers are all priced differently, but a day pass will usually run you about £10. Most offer deals the more you use the facilities (a monthly rate is close to £1 per day), and some offer multiple swims for a set price.
- Marshall Street Leisure Centre. Newly refurbished and art-deco inspired, this 30.5m pool dates back to the 1930’s, with original marble lined floors and arched ceilings for those who want to swim in luxury.
- Central YMCA on Great Russell Street. Boasting a 25m heated indoor pool, the membership-based YMCA is “Central London’s Largest Gym”, providing modern facilities for children and adults to enjoy.
- Golden Lane Leisure Center. A smaller pool at 20m, it’s also a less busy facility which works out great if you’re into lane swimming.
2. Don’t Rule Out Sports Centres
Sports centres are similar to leisure centres but they’re strictly focused on providing facilities geared toward sports. These centres can be an indoor space, an outdoor space, or a mixture of both.
Common things you’ll find in a sports centre are ball courts, swimming pools, spas, steam rooms, and fields for hockey or footy. If you want to participate in other activities besides swimming, a sports centre will be a good place for you.
Cost wise, they’re pretty affordable at around £10 for a day pass, and £30 for a monthly pass. Locker rental is an extra £1, and don’t forget to bring a towel as those cost extra as well.
- Queen Mother Sports Centre. With 3 pools catering to all swimming levels, you can enroll in lessons, go lane swimming, or simply enjoy their flume slide.
- Oasis Sports Centre. This sports centre dates back to the 1700’s and has both an indoor pool and Central London’s only heated outdoor pool.
- Chelsea Sports Centre. A 25m, 4 lane pool and a 13m teaching pool make this a great option for those that are looking to keep fit or learn how to swim.
3. Move To A Low-Cost Gym With A Pool
Those who are looking for a more varied workout can still get their swim on after hitting the weights by going to a gym that has a pool on site.
Gyms will have all the equipment one needs to stay in shape and the inclusion of a pool provides a therapeutic element. Some gyms also include steam rooms to help relax the muscles after an intense workout. Bundling these activities will keep your costs down, killing multiple birds with one stone.
A lot of gyms offer a day pass or package deals to the general public, but others are strictly membership. Costs vary as some gyms are more upscale than others. A day pass can run anywhere from £10 to £30, package deals from £110 to £255 (depending on the amount of visits), and monthly memberships offer the best price at around £100.
- The Castle Centre. A state of the art facility with a gym, pool, sports hall, and fitness studio, you can get a great workout here at an extremely cheap price for London standards.
- Rena London City. This upscale facility offers the best bang for your buck as a monthly membership, with a gym, pool, spa, and multiple treatment rooms for total relaxation.
- Spa At The London Landmark. A little on the pricey side, but this luxurious London spa allows you to customize your membership to suit your lifestyle and workout needs.
4. Consider Taking Up “Wild Swimming”
If you’re really on a budget, you can always take advantage of the great outdoors.
London has various outdoor swimming holes that you can swim at for a small fee (usually under £7) , and in some cases, they’re free! Just be careful as these places usually have minimal to no lifeguard supervision.
- Hurst Park. This open space is a popular swimming spot you can take a dip in and then grab a drink at the cafe on site when you’re finished.
- Hampstead Ponds. 3 swimming ponds are available on this stunning 800 acre site. Of note, those over 60 and under 16 can swim for free in the mornings.
- Shepperton Open Water Swim. Only £6 for a dip in this lake, which is used strictly for swimming. Coaching is also provided for an additional fee.
Rick Patterson is the owner of Poolonomics.com – a pool and spa care blog.