Sport & Fitness

Your guide to sporting events, health and fitness in London

Sport and fitness

London football club guide

Ticket info, good pubs and places to eat pre-match - get the lowdown on the capital's footie clubs 

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London's best running shops

Keep your feet happy by stocking up on running shoes, clothing and equipment in these great shops

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Things to do

Running in London

Get trim on the cheap with our guide to the city's best running routes, events, shops and more

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Shopping

London's best spas

Fluffy towels at the ready; it's time to get pampered

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London's best pilates classes

Because nobody ever got beach-worthy abs by running for the bus

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The best spas in London

Health and beauty

Spa London

A rare affordable day spa in in the capital

Users say
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Shopping

The Porchester Spa

One of London’s more authentic spa experineces

Users say
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Health and beauty

May Fair Spa

One of central London’s most tranquil hotel spas

Users say
  • 2 out of 5 stars
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The best lidos in London

Sport and fitness

London Fields Lido

A dogged 18-year campaign by the London Fields User Group saved this 50-metre lido from demolition, and it reopened in 2006. Open year-round, it’s now run by Greenwich Leisure Ltd. It’s heated and well used: during busy holiday periods it closes at lunchtime between sessions to make sure as many people as possible can enjoy it. Picnicking is off-limits but there are two cafés.

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Things to do

Hampstead Heath

Wild and undulating, the grassy sprawl of Hampstead Heath makes a wonderfully untamed contrast to the manicured lawns and flowerbeds found elsewhere in the capital. The heath stretches across 791 acres of woodland, playing fields, swimming ponds and meadows of tall grass in north London from Hampstead to Highgate, and has provided the inspiration for countless films, books and poems. On hot summer days, the Hampstead Ponds are perfect for a refreshing dip, while the dizzying heights of Parliament Hill provide a popular destination for kite-fliers when the weather turns breezy.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Sport and fitness

Tooting Bec Lido

South London’s vast pool, with its iconic, Pantone-coloured changing huts, has been treasured by fortunate locals since it opened as a bathing lake in 1906. At just over 90m, it’s this country’s largest outdoor freshwater pool and inspires devoted swimming all through the year, although to swim in winter you must be a member of the well established South London Swimming Club, which has been based at the lido almost as long as it has existed. Facilities include a paddling pool for kids, a café, and lockers for small valuables.

Users say
  • 2 out of 5 stars
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Sport and fitness

Brockwell Lido

The 50-metre pool is surrounded by art deco Grade II-listed buildings which house the Lido Café (winner of a Time Out Eating and Drinking award for 'Best park cafe' in 2011) and exercise studios, offering year-round dance and pilates classes and activities for pre-school children. An eclectic range of events are organised on the site, from film nights to furniture fairs, and the Brockwell Lido Users’ Group (www.brockwelllido.com) is active in ensuring the facility meets the needs of the community. On weekdays before 10am admission is free to people over 60. Opening for 2012 commences on April 20.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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London's best gyms

Sport and fitness

Gymbox

Some of London's wittiest workouts

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Sport and fitness

Central YMCA

A favourite with every possible type of workout and activity

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Sport and fitness

The Third Space

A kitted out gym with the latest equipment

Users say
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Theatre

The Place

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.

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Sport and fitness

Pineapple Dance Studios

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.

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London's best sports museums

Sport and fitness

Arsenal Museum and Stadium Tour

Arsenal players themselves provide the commentary on a stadium tour here, whether that’s a Legends tour, guided by a former player (such as Lee Dixon, Kenny Sansom or Charlie George) or a self-guided audio tour with anecdotes from Robin van Persie and Jack Wilshere and a motivating pre-match speech from Arsène Wenger. On both you’ll see the home changing room, the players’ tunnel, the dug-out, the directors’ box and the press lounge – on the interactive audio tour you can have a go at conducting your own post-match interview. Make sure you give it 110 percent. The tour also gives access to the Arsenal Museum, which covers club history from the times of Woolwich, Highbury and the Emirates Stadium. Exhibits on show include medals, shirts and caps belonging to David O’Leary, Lee Dixon, Michael Thomas, Brian Marwood and many others, as well as a customised trophy presented to Arsenal by the FA Premier League for remaining unbeaten in the 2003/04 season. New additions include a shirt signed by the 1933/34 team.

Users say
  • 2 out of 5 stars
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Museums

Chelsea FC Stadium Tours and Museum

Chelsea's new high-tech museum opened in June 2011 and is now the largest football museum in London, with all manner of interactive gadgetry, games and videos to inform and entertain as well as memorabilia collected across the club’s 107-year history. You can visit the museum on its own or as part of an hour-long stadium tour which takes visitors behind the scenes at Stamford Bridge to live our their dreams of footballing glory and see the changing rooms, dugout, player's tunnel, press room and other areas normally reserved for the players.

Users say
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Museums

Marylebone Cricket Club Museum

The big draw here is actually something very, very small. The legendary Ashes Urn draws tens of thousands of visitors each year, as the centrepiece at the world’s oldest sporting museum. Aside from the Ashes, you can see a wide range of cricket-related exhibits, including the stuffed sparrow that was ‘bowled out’ by Jehangir Khan in 1936 and displays dedicated to the life of WG Grace. Four hundred years of cricketing history is laid out, with many items dating from the nineteenth century alongside rather more recent objects, such as Shane Warne’s cricket kit (pre-Liz Hurley makeover), plus cricket-related paintings by Fanny Rush and Karen Neale. It could be a short browse for those with a casual interest in cricket, but there’s a lot more to delve into for the hardcore fan. There’s also The Brian Johnston Memorial Theatre which enables visitors to see footage of some of cricket’s greatest performances. A visit to the museum is included in the Lord’s Tour and it can also be visited by match day ticket holders. Lord’s plays host to the Olympic archery events in 2012 so the museum will be closed from July 2-Aug 15, opening only for archery ticket holders during the events. From Aug 16-20 the museum is open only to ticket holders for the Test Match.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Museums

River and Rowing Museum

Designed by David Chipperfield Architects to reflect the style of local boathouses and barns, Henley’s family-friendly museum explores the history of the Thames, the sport of rowing and the community of Henley-on-Thames and makes a good out-of-town jaunt. The rowing gallery has video footage of races from 1897 onwards, including what is believed to be the first cinematic show reel and a recording of the 1936 Olympics race won by the GB team and watched by Hitler. A virtual reality exhibit allows visitors to experience the cox’s view of a race, but the top attraction is probably the Sydney IV boat in which Steve Redgrave won his fifth Olympic gold medal in 2000 – visitors apparently never fail to comment on the size of the rowers’ shoes, which are still in the boat. In time for London 2012, the special exhibition ‘Perfect Rower: 100 Years of Racing for Glory’ gathers artefacts from the previous London Olympic Games in 1908 and 1948 and looks at how the design, technology, training and psychology of the sport has changed over the last century (Mar 31-Sept 30). A permanent exhibition on the ‘Wind in the Willows’ portrays Kenneth’s Grahame’s story (and costs extra).

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