• By Ellen O'Riordan on Mar 4, 2016

Top 7 Affordable Swimming Pools in London

Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise as it is low-impact, improves cardiovascular fitness, respiratory control and the water provides resistance to strengthen and tone the muscles.  It doesn’t place the same pressure on the knees and ankle joints as running does, and provides a more even body tone than cycling.  It is a hugely effective calorie burner making it the ideal exercise for weight loss as well as general fitness.  It is also thought that the tranquility of the water and rhythm of the breath reduces stress levels and boosts your mood.  With these benefits in mind, here is a list of London’s best and most affordable pools, for a great swim without having to splash too much cash.

Central YMCA on Great Russell Street (nearest station Tottenham Court Road)

A multi-lane 25 metre pool in the heart of London’s West End.  The YMCA doesn’t do extra frills, but its low membership rates and expansive facilities keep people going back.  Go between 9 and 10am or 8 and 10pm for a more solitary swim.

Opening Times:  Monday 06:30-20:30, Tuesday-Friday 06:30-22:00, Saturday 09:00-20:00, Sunday 09:00-18:30.

Amenities:  Pace timer, sauna, steam rooms.

Extra Services:  Instructors, Swim club.

Pricing:  Members only, but excellent value for money and great student deals.  Request a free trial to see if it floats your boat.

Oasis Sports Centre (nearest station Covent Garden)

A 25 metre indoor pool and a year round 27.5 metre heated outdoor lido.  The outdoor pool can get quite busy during the summer months, meaning that any Michael Phelps wannabes should stick to butterflying indoors.

Opening Times:  Monday- Friday 06:30-22:00, Saturday and Sunday 09:30-18:00.   

Amenities:  Towel hire, non-refundable 20p or £1 refundable locker hire.

Extra Services:  Swim for fitness classes.

Pricing:  £10 pay as you swim, Swim only monthly memberships start from £29.50.

Ironmonger Row Baths (nearest station Old Street)

The baths were originally built as a public wash house, but were later upgraded to a Turkish bath.  The facilities have recently undergone a 17 million pound refurbishment, with both the 30.5 metre pool and the Turkish baths reopened to the public.  Despite its contemporary refurbishment, its 1930s essence is still preserved.

Opening Times:  Monday -Friday 06:30-21:30, Saturday and Sunday 09:00-18:00.

Amenities:  Hot rooms, saunas, steam rooms, ice-cold plunge pool, day spa.

Extra Services: Swim Fit, Water Workout and Swim School classes among others. 

Pricing:  Drop in session is £10.  Memberships start from £17 per month, no contract.

Golden Lane Leisure Centre (nearest station Barbican)

With 20 metres and 4 lanes, this is a relatively small venue, but well worth a dip as it’s much less busy than many of its larger competitors.  Visit late evening on a weekday and you might even get the entire place to yourself. 

Opening Times:  Monday-Friday 06:00-22:00, Saturday and Sunday 08:00-17:00.

Amenities:  Lockers (bring your own padlock).

Extra Services: Private swim lessons, water based fitness classes.

Pricing:  10 swim pass for £45.

Queen Mother Sports Centre (nearest station Victoria)

A trio of swim holes; the 25 metre main pool, 16 metre teaching pool and 13 metre leisure pool.  The pool can start to get a little overcrowded during the post work rush so off peak times are preferable.

Opening Times:  Monday- Friday 06:30-22:00, Saturday and Sunday 08:00-22:00

Amenities:  Lockers £1 rental

Extra Services:  Swimming lessons.

Pricing:  Day pass is £10.

Marshall Street Leisure Centre (nearest station Oxford Street)

Just a turn away from the commotion of Regent’s Street is this newly refurbished, grade II listed centre.  The beautiful marble-lined, art deco pool, sitting underneath the high arched ceiling, is the perfect escape from the crowds.  It is 30.5 metres long and fits 5 lanes.  Despite its busy, central location, the pool doesn’t get overly crowded.

Opening Times: Monday-Friday 06:30-22:00, Saturday and Sunday 08:00-22:00.

Amenities:  Saunas, steam rooms, day spa.

Extra Services:  Swimming lessons.

Pricing:  £10 day pass.

London Aquatic Centre (nearest station Stratford)

The pools that witnessed the triumphs of Olympians such as Rebecca Adlington, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.  With two of its pools now open to the public, swimmers are divided by standard.  Children and less competent swimmers can splash around in the 25 metre training room, whilst confident swimmers can train across 10 lanes in the 50 metre competition pool.  Special ‘Dive for All’ sessions are available four times a week for people to attempt their Tom Daly twirls and flips in a safe and supervised environment.

Opening Times:  Monday- Sunday 06:00-22:30.

Amenities:  £1 refundable locker hire.

Extra Services:  Dive sessions, dive academy, swim lessons, swim clubs, family and kids sessions.

Pricing:  £4.95 off peak, £5.20 peak.

Local venues

Gymbox Covent Garden

42 - 49 St Martins Lane Covent Garden Central London WC2N 4EJ

PureGym London Piccadilly

Rex House 4-12 Regent Street Piccadilly London Central London SW1Y 4PE

View more venues

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