Soho gym covent garden, very fake atmosphere, Rascist, a lot of gossiping ab o u t member ..Old equipment ..Do NOT make a mistake of going there
The best gyms in London
Discover the best fitness centres across the whole of the capital
From state-of-the-art gyms to heavenly swimming pools, brilliant boxing clubs to dynamic dance studios, Time Out round up the best places to get fit in central London plus our recommendations to the best gyms in north, south, east and west London. So, no more excuses: it's time to get in shape.
Central London's best gyms and fitness centres
100 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6JS
This centrally located gym offers some of London's wittiest workouts from its 'Tour de Holborn' spinning class to the jolly 'Lady Gaga' class. Located underneath High Holborn, this compact space combines the atmosphere of a nightclub with state-of-the-art facilities. A full-size boxing ring dominates the main space, along with a large movie screen. There's also an impressive free weights area, spinning studio and two exercise studios. While the boxing theme might suggest a macho environment, more than 50 per cent of members are women. A newer branch in Covent Garden (at 42-49 St Martins Lane, WC2) boasts a vast studio and Olympic-sized boxing ring.
30 Covent Garden Piazza, London, WC2E 8BE
Affordable membership and an unpretentious community atmosphere means this London stalwart attracts a healthy mix of people from well-honed blokes bulking up to more average-shaped folk who just want to keep fit. There's no pool but there is a huge open gym and exercise studios which more than make up for the absence of dipping facilities. A variety of classes are offered, including hatha yoga, ballet and flamenco. The cardio and weights machines have all recently been upgraded, while the café has wi-fi access.
112 Great Russell St, WC1B 3NQ
A perennial favourite with those working in the West End due to low membership rates, a fully equipped Pilates studio, large cardio theatre and up-to-date resistance training equipment. It isn't glamorous but that's not the point here; Central YMCA provides every possible type of workout and activity including climbing, trampolining and volleyball, taught to a very high standard (YMCA Fitness Industry Training is an industry leader and many of its graduates instruct here). A good 25-metre pool is divided for lane swimming; there's also a chapel, therapies and a decent café to boot.
16 Hewett Street, London, EC2A 3NN
Founder Greg Smith and partner Zack Cahill have put together a high-calibre team of specialist trainers and therapists. Their 3,000 sq ft gym near Liverpool Street station offers ample workout space, plus rooms for a range of treatments. There's no joining fee; you simply pay for as many sessions as you want. Aegis also provides one-one-one, semi-private and bootcamp training.
13 Sherwood Street, London, W1F 7BR
Spread across four levels and connected by open steel staircases, the club's facilities include a skylit climbing wall, boxing ring and even a table tennis table set on a glass floor above the pool. The gym is kitted out with the latest cardio and free weights equipment, and those about to compete at high altitude can prepare by working out in a hypoxic chamber with reduced levels of oxygen to simulate conditions at 8,500 feet. There is also a Pilates and Gyrotonic studio and 130 free classes every week as well as a Fresh & Wild juice bar, gym kit laundry service, wi-fi access, integrated medical centre offering complementary therapies and a live DJ four times a week. The Third Space has a second gym in Marylebone, which opened in 2011 and offers reciprocal access for members.
17 Duke's Rd, WC1H 9PY
A beautiful glass-fronted building, The Place lifts an otherwise barren spot just off Euston Road. Inside you'll find a clean modern space catering for both dance students (as young as five) and visitors to the excellent Robin Howard Dance Theatre. The large studio has 300 seats raked to a stage 15m by 12m and affording a truly electrifying visual experience. It's the perfect host to the annual 'Resolution!' season that acts as a platform for fresh contemporary choreography. Founded in 1990, 'Resolution!' is a must for those looking for genuinely emerging dance talent, though any night at The Place is a safe bet, as the venue prides itself on being a leader in modern and inventive physical performance. There are also classes and courses for adults and children of all standards in ballet and contemporary techniques.
16 Balderton St, W1K 6TN
Since 1982, Danceworks has offered Europe's largest selection of classes in six well-appointed studios. You can choose from more than 160 dance, fitness, martial arts and yoga workouts each week. New trends include belly dance, poledancing and singing classes.
7 Langley St, WC2H 9JA
Debbie Moore named her studio after the pineapple warehouse in which her studio was founded in 1979. It still retains its 'Fame'-era charm and there are more than 30 dance classes each day.
Esporta at the O2 Centre on Finchley Road is my favourite; very clean, with good service and modern equipment. The members have decent standards of etiquette which contributes to a good user experience. It is now a Virgin Active gym.
Cannot recommend Boot Camp Pilates enough. Took 3 classes, results were visible after the first one. The downside is that it is quite pricey but well worth it.
Following being a member of The Third Space I wouldnt recommend it to anyone. Broken equipment, poor hygiene and very unfriendly atmosphere especially poor when considering the inflated membership price. I cancelled my membership and considering Soho gyms as when I have been invited by friends it always seems a lot more friendly.
Check out H2 Bike Run in Soho - a club designed specifically for runners and cyclists! Perfect! Provides showers, secure bike parking, cycle servicing, dry cleaning and laundry, locker rental, resistance -based training area, top notch Spinning studio (done properly!), running clubs, personal trainers and sports therapists. Really swish, cool and CLEAN! Great staff and friendly atmosphere. Membership and pay as you use options available. Am addicted to this place!
Hi guys, Moving to Marble Arch tomorrow. Would really appreciate suggestions of good gyms that are close by to join? The more detail about your experience you can provide i.e. equipment, amenities, cost, distance from tube (as a reference point) etc..., the more helpful your comments will be. Thanks in advance!
I found payasUgym.com where you can buy cheap passes pay as you go gyms in london. process is really simple. i went to Jubilee hall which is mentioned above and saved about Â£2 on my visit.
Top notch at london bridge have a pool which doesnt use chlorine, still quite a rarity in london. they stopped using chlorine a few weeks ago and the difference is unbelievable. losing the chlorine stench has improved the whole club
I have been at Soho Gyms for nearly three years. I would say best gyms I have used in London - great kit, vibe, clean, friendly and staff know their stuff. The other thing I like is that they seem to keep improving their equipment, gym, etc and everything works. PAYG options too but I pay annual now as works out cheaper for me. No complaints from me anyway. Mike
I noticed no one had mentioned Paris Gym in Vauxhall. I have been a member for 10 years!! It's male only and mostly gay but it's such a cool place - very relaxed and not cruisy at all - which is quite a novelty. Great equipment and very clean - just go watch the staff they never stop cleaning! Anyway check itout. They do have a website.
I am new to London and am desperately looking for the barre method workout (bar method) in south east London or London Bridge area. This workout consists of yoga, Pilate's and ballet. It is also known as the Lotte Berke method. Does anyone know where I can find this class in these areas? Thanks in advance.
Google GymVisit London - I found my gym through them (Jubilee Hall) it's seems to be the most comprehensive listing
New River Fitness - Essex Road N1 Don't fall foul of this gyms incompetance - the staff will reassure you that 'express' gives you a good work out in 30 mins... fact is you cant get an appointment for a month... maybe more in Jan (even then their poor appointment system will fail) So rest assured that for Â£79+ thats over Â£1.50 per minute
I use Nuffield Health and absolutely love it. Especially all the health stuff I get (which I didnt from any of my previous gyms)
There is a great Pilates place called Beautcamp Pilates just off Old Street tube. They do fast paced reformer Pilates. It's the best in London coz you see results after 1 session
THEGYMGROUP VAUXHAUL The Gym Group system does not work. VISITORS TO LONDON. DO NOT USE THIS GYM. Purchased three day passes. None of them worked. Staff onsite would not/could not help. Website provided no solution. Phones did not work. LET THE BUYER BEWARE. DO NOT JOIN THE GYMGROUP GYMS.
Does anyone know anywhere to practice yoga/pilates, as a beginner, near EC2 e.g. Finsbury Square/Liverpool Street?
Does anyone know of a good yoga spot in South Kensington, I am near queens gate place. Is there a Bikram place nearby? Thank you
So Bikram Yoga London - Canary Wharf finally opened and I must say that practising there is WONDERFUL and well in line with the high spec one would expect to find in Canary Wharf. Large space, clean and luxurious and just a couple of mins from the tube and DLR. Their new members offer is a bargain at 20 quid for 2 wks and packages are reasonably priced thereafter. I highly recommend this place. Downside is that parking is free but somewhat limited but I take public transport most of the time anyway...
I tried a company called Fit UK and found it really good fun, better than training in a gym and i made some new friends too. Thoroughly recommended and much cheaper than a gym membership. Find them at fituk.com not sure if they do all london or just west but they have classes in different parks in the boroughs.
The Power Yoga Studio in Parsons Green is by far the best yoga in London (and I've tried them all)! Amazing.
I'm loving Esporta Repton Park in Chigwell, great gym in cathedral-like setting. And amazing swimming pool. Also the Esporta in Ilford (my membership allows me to use all the Esportas in the UK) is really good - great big floor to ceiling windows and a really open circular cardi area.
There is a new Ashtanga Yoga studio in Canary Wharf called Yoga Creation - http://www.yogacreation.co.uk/ They offer Ashtanga Yoga in the Mysore style as well as Hatha and Vinyasa styles of yoga. Classes taught by Catherine Haylock and Sarah Burgess. The studio is based right by Westferry DLR - E14.
Can anyone recommend a really good swimming pool in London? Too many pools in London have really dirty changing rooms with mouldy shower areas. Any really good pools out there? Public pools rather than pools that are part of expensive gyms, I mean.
Outdoor training in Fulham & Central London. SW Boot Camp offer 1-1 programs as well as group based classes outdoors. Also have private studios. Tough workouts, but great fun!
I read about these guys in the Telegraph who are based just outside London in Sevenoaks. I'm so impressed that I get the train or drive down there every Saturday for personal training and they really know their stuff. They're called The Better Body Shop and I think their site is www.betterbodyshop.co.uk - hope you guys find it as useful...
I have been to several yoga studios in London. If you love Bikram yoga in and of itself, exactly only the intense yoga in a heated environment, then the Soho studio is by faaaaaar the best. The heating systems in the other studios in London are inconsistent, and frequently drop to bordering cold. The Soho studio has the most advanced heating system in the UK with a 42 degrees solid during the entire 90 mintues. When I switched to Soho my endlessly screwed up hamstring healed in 4 weeks. More over it is clean and friendly. I do it for the yoga, and I don't care if things are "pretentious" or not. However, I think Bikram at Kentishtown has a cozier studio, but the heating absolutely sucks. And after all, if the heating doesn't work, then why do Bikram in the first place? I'll never switch from the Soho studio unless Kentishtown upgrades their heating system.
The problem with big gym chains is that they recruit too many members. The result is massive overcrowding. And they don't invest in cleanliness or repair of equipment to a sufficient extent. The result - mould in the showers, dripping shower-heads, no soap in the dispensers, filthy floors, loos that smell like some kind of slum in Calcutta. And in the gym, machines that say "out of order" for months on end.
I have just moved to North West London and I am looking for a gym to join and take part in some classes. I am looking for a friendly gym where I can meet new people and have fun, was wondering if anyone could recommend some good gyms, thanks, Lucy
In response to Dunstan, it seems you are mistaken. Aegis training may not be a bodybuilding or powerlifting gym - we specialise in weight loss- but it does have a wide variety of equipment and is regularly used for olympic lifting, strength training and strongman type training. The fixed db'd go up to 35 but there are adjustable olympic dumbbells, and also has a 150kg crane tyre - for flipping and sledge hammer work, a weight sled for dragging and heavy sandbags and even a beer keg. Plenty of stuff to keep the strongmen happy.
For a review of the 50 best gyms and fitness centres, its disappointing to see that there wasn't one bodybuilding / powerlifting gym included. The gyms listed are all the type of place where the dumbells dont go heavier than 20kg and there's someone doing bicep curls in the squat rack. If there even is one.
I am unashamedly a complete Bikram Yoga nut and having being do it for over four years now. Without it I would not have been able to even think about running the London Marathon yet alone do it. I been hearing a lot good things about Bikram Yoga Soho for some time now and last week I went to see what all the talk is about. Wow now I know. Clean, great atmosphere and HOT & SWEATY. If youâ€™re into Bikram you must go there is - ITâ€™S FANTASTIC!
aquaterra in islington has a decent pool but is overcrowded. dont know much about the gym as i dont use it. some of the staff are bit wotless and not very upto speed with whats going on when you ask them an easy question regarding the facilities that they offer.
I don't agree with Steve or Mandy. I love Bikram yoga and have also been to many of the Bikram yoga studios in London, and several in Australia - and Bikram Yoga Soho is by far the most pretentious, clinical, crowded and unpleasant studio I have been to, with the rudest and unfriendliest staff. The location is good, but I try to avoid this studio if I can.
Jen- apparently there is a Bikram studio opening in Canary Wharf this summer. Just do a search in "International" on www.bikramyoga.com
This is a great compilation! Great work Time Out! Just to make a general note and a piece of advice: I made the unfortunate mistake of joining Fitness First Black Label - AKA Globogym (for those of you who have watched dodgeball). While the staff and trainers at my local branch were very friendly and made the gym feel as much as a homely environment as one could expect from such a large facility, dealing with head office was a NIGHTMARE! I would not wish this upon anyone. From troubles with cancelling my membership, misinformation, and problems with the direct debits i found my mouth got the biggest workout of all arguing with people over the phone! My best piece of advice - stick to your local 'small guy' fitness club as much as possible. The people are usually friendlier, you get more personalised service and you don't get caught up in the loads of corporate hotlines.
The Factory Gym (North London) have so many new classes, Bollywood fusion, belly dancing as well as new classes in the next few weeks I am eager to try, like the Jazz fusion and newly added street dance class (even though I have no rhythm). Don't underestimate the power of dance for a full work out!!
I used Gymbox on the pay-as-you go option ... however, this did not turn out to be the case. Following the cancellation of my membership they continued to extract money from my account and the staff's attitude completely changed when dealing with customer complaints. Very very disappointing
The aquaterra at Islington is dreadful. The free weight training areas consist of one tiny rubber mat in front of a mirror but the free weight rack is in the same space, so anyone who wants to grab a weight has to somehow get around the person who is using the tiny mat to train. There is another tiny mat area but "priority" is given to staff who have clients to train, to the extent that they barged around me without even waiting for my set to finish. So rude, what kind of work out ethos is that? Also, only one pair of 3kg free weights, although this is the most popular size used by women. Dirty. Machines time limited to 15 minutes. bureaucratic. Dull. Dingy. Depressing.
Steve's comments aobut Bikram Yoga Soho is spot on! It rocks! I did the ten day trial then signed up for the year. Just a few minutes walk from Oxford St tube and so so hot!
Does anyone know the biggest sports centre in London? I'm after somewhere with 3 indoor basketball courts, as well as 3 astro turfs...? Any ideas? Thanks Sam
Swiss Cottage is truly dreadful. It has just taken them the best part of 3 months to fix the broken air conditioning and it's only 3 years old! There are far too many members (seeing as Camden/GLL only seem to interested in maximising revenue) and the staff couldn't care less. Granted the raw materials are there for a great gym but by God do they make a pig's ear of it.
Where can I find a gym in Central London that I can work out at cheap as a non-member? I'm only visiting London for two weeks but am serious need of a gym that I can work out in. Can any please give some budget/economical suggestions?
I agree, The Circus Space has a great set of classes and is located near Old Street. There are several other places you can go for fun, circus-oriented fitness classes in London. The Hangar, near Woolwich Dockyard, is one. I hear you can take hula hooping near Oval. And Acroyoga near Finsbury Park. It would be great to see an article on some fun classes like this that don't involve a traditional gym.
Bikram Yoga West have a new Therapy clinic just opened - Mother Nature Clinic 260 Kilburn Lane W10 4BA There are some great opening offers on the website www.mothernatureclinic.com
Without question the new Bikram Yoga Soho studio off Great Portland Street is the best â€“ clean, spacious, funky, hot. Over the past five year Iâ€™ve been a bit of a Bikram junky going to all the London studios. But now there is only one place to go. If you are doing a Best of 2009, Bikram Soho has to be a hot runner.