Same old doesn’t work for fitness. You've got to mix it up, stop it getting boring. That’s where gyms with swimming pools come in. One price, one pass, and a choice of workouts depending on your mood.
Refurbishments, new standards and new tech means London pools are great places to be. Try out these venues for a swim in a place you won’t want to leave.
If you think you’ve seen Bannatyne Health Club Millbank somewhere before, you’re right. The exterior is a popular filming location and the BBC are still based there.
Nothing historic about the pool here, though, which is 16 metres of warm water complete with spa pools and loungers. The club offers a massive selection of fitness classes, plus a gym with all the cardio and resistance machines you would expect.
The club is on the riverside and ultra-central. Many buses pass by the door. It is a five-minute walk to Westminster tube, a little further to Waterloo and a short stroll to Millbank pier for the Riverbus.
With three tubes within five minutes’ walk, Nuffield Health City Fitness and Wellbeing Gym could not be easier to visit for anyone based in the City.
This adult-only gym has a great quirky setting in the Cannon Street railway arches –the station itself is also a stone’s throw away. The pool is a calming 17 metre oasis, with the brick architecture providing a welcome change in background.
The gym features everything from suspension trainers to rowing machines. There’s Sky Sports to cheer on your team while you get fitter, and a coffee bar and lounge area to toast them afterwards.
Charing Cross hospital staff and visitors can take a welcome break at the adjacent Charing Cross Sports Club. Located on Fulham Palace Road, this excellent-value gym provides all you need for a great workout.
The pool is a huge 25 metres by 10 metres, one of the largest in London and perfect for racking up the lengths.
Users praise the cleanliness and friendliness of this place. They also offer a range of fitness classes and a variety of equipment that would not shame much pricier venues.
What is Victorian on the outside but ultra-modern on the inside? Camberwell Leisure Centre boasts a 25 metre pool beneath a splendid arched roof. With five lanes available, the pool keeps everyone happy from rapid lane swimmers to those who like to splash and chat. There’s also a separate learner pool. The centre runs sessions for seniors, ladies, families and adults-only, as well as many swim lesson classes.
The huge 130-station gym has the latest in cardio and resistance kit. The functional fitness space includes medicine balls and battle ropes (that’s how big it is!) With an extensive menu of classes including a dedicated cycle studio, Camberwell offers something for everyone.
All you need do is register with Everyone Active on your first visit and watch the induction video, then you're good to go.
Several bus routes pass by, and Oval tube station or Denmark Hill mainline are under 2 miles distant.
Another venue with a 25 metre pool is the Central YMCA club, the largest fitness facility in Central London. The club is ultra-central, right in the middle of Bloomsbury on Great Russell Street.
This bigger-on-the-inside venue not only offers great swimming but a massive range of fitness opportunities. There’s a large and well-equipped gym. There are six exercise studios, kitted out for everything from TRX suspension training to cycling, with space for Zumba, pilates and much more. A sauna and steam room warm things up afterwards, and a café provides chillout space.
25 metres long, six lanes wide, easy step entry – the pool at the recently refurbished Castle Centre is a real showpiece. Flooded with daylight and with plenty of space, the pool is a delight to use. An adjacent baby pool provides a separate space for little ones to get the hang of the water. There's a lively timetable of events and classes in the pool, so check what's going on to find what suits you.
On the dry side, there's a well-equipped gym with a good selection of equipment to cater for all fitness needs. A large sports hall can host team games, and a fitness studio offers a wide selection of classes.
This centre is also run by the Everyone Active group, so if you are new to their venues you’ll need to do their short induction. Once that’s done you are ready to use all their facilities. There are plenty of staff on hand to help, with personal trainers also bookable.
The centre is very near to Elephant & Castle tube, with bus stops even closer.
Talking of buses, pick one of five or a short walk from Tooting Broadway tube to get you to Tooting Leisure Centre. Despite the keen price, this venue boasts both a large 33 metre three-lane pool and a 12 metre teaching pool. The pool offers lane swimming, learn to swim sessions and aqua fitness classes in a packed timetable.
An array of fitness equipment awaits you in the gym, plus two fitness studios to host all their exercise classes. Users comment on the space, cleanliness and friendliness of this gym, proof that standards don’t need to slip if prices do.
Also well-priced is Putney Leisure Centre, which makes the best use of space with an unusual L-shaped swimming pool. One arm hosts six 33 metre swimming lanes, while the other side gives space for splashing and diving. There’s also a learner pool here.
The gym has a good range of cardio machinery, with a separate weights room for muscle builders and resistance trainers.
Weather permitting, you can enjoy a six-lane 33 metre outdoor pool at Pools on the Park in Richmond. Warm summer days and its situation in the park make this a very popular venue for all ages.
There’s another equally large pool indoors, plus a separate 12 metre pool for teaching and training. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a fully equipped gym with a wide selection of machines and free weights. Fitness studios offer an incredible 75 different classes, plus a Jacuzzi and spa to wind down afterwards.
The venue is on the edge of Richmond Old Deer Park, close to Richmond train and tube stations.
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It's great that there are still large pools! I'd written off gym pools as not much bigger than a bath, but with 33m available that's clearly not the case. I'm there!
I love to have a swim once a week after a workout so like to use gyms with pools. I do like them to be at least 25m ones though, and more if I'm going in specifically for a swimming workout.