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.
North London's best gyms and fitness centres
Adelaide Road, London, NW3 3NF
From the dazzling 25-metre main pool and 20-metre teaching pool on one side, to the impressive climbing wall on the other, this is a gem in both sporting and architectural terms. It reopened in 2006 as part of the wider Swiss Cottage regeneration project and really does offer something for everyone. The massive sports hall caters for most court and racket sports, and there's a wide range of group exercise classes in two bright, light studios. The gym is stuffed with state-of-the-art gear, including newly installed Power Plate machines, and its lower level can be programmed for specific group needs such as women-only, 50-plus and GP referrals. There’s also a Rascals adventure zone to keep the under-12s active.
6 Erskine Rd, NW3 3AJ
Triyoga is the biggest yoga studio in London with more than 50 teachers and 250 yoga and Pilates classes a week covering every form, with beginners particularly well catered for. Its flagship Primrose Hill studio is beautiful: an ex-factory refitted with stained glass windows, a spacious reception with excellent café and chill-out area and four therapy rooms. There are branches in Neal's Yard and Soho plus a new centre that opened in Chelsea in 2011.
407 Hornsey Rd, London, N19 4DX
There’s a range of dance classes available at this small but lovingly formed centre, from the long-established tango and salsa classes to more recent additions such as zumba, ballet and pole dancing (with classes for beginners, intermediate and advanced). A newly refitted gym boasts Kinesis stations and Technogym cardio equipment, while The Factory also offers boxing circuits and a full personal training programme.
The Avenue, London, N10 2QJ
Sitting in the shadow of Alexandra Palace, this former British Rail laboratory has been transformed into a beautiful and sophisticated gym. There is an underground swimming pool as well as an exercise room with the most up-to-date Cybex strength and cardio equipment which faces out on to pretty tree-lined views. There is also a well-spaced weights room and functional zone, four beauty and holistic treatment rooms and a poolside day spa and relaxation area with dedicated manicure and pedicure spaces. There's also a wide range of yoga classes on offer.
The Old Flower Shop, 93a Weston Park, London, N8 9PR
Set up in 2004 and approved by the British Wheel of Yoga (BWY), teachers guided by the BWY and other professional qualifications are trained here, which means it's suited for experts as well as beginners. The range of around 50 classes includes Astanga self-practice, Iyengar, hatha vinyasa flow and pregnancy.
207a Junction Rd, London, N19 5QA
It's not every day you get the chance to train with a genuine Shaolin, but Shi Yanzi is a thirty-fourth generation fighting monk sent by the Abbot of the Shaolin Temple in China's Henan province to spread the word in the UK. Archway is where he pitched up, running a busy programme of kung fu, tai chi, chi kung and san shou (Chinese kickboxing) classes for all ages and standards – plus, for those wanting to learn more about the culture, occasional workshops in Mandarin, calligraphy and Buddhism. The Temple also has an offshoot in Lewisham.
173 - 175 Queens Crescent , London, NW5 4DS
Michele Pernetta was the first teacher to bring Bikram 'hot' yoga to the UK. She now has four schools across London, the most recent of which opened in Primrose Hill in 2011. All teachers have trained under the technique's founder, Bikram Choudhury, at his LA school.
43-47 Lonsdale Rd, London, NW6 6RA
Daphne Pena-Higgs' studio follows the teachings of Joseph Pilates as espoused by Romana Kryzanowska's New York studio. The studio offers the full repertoire of Gratz equipment built to the specifications of the man himself.
16 Northwold Rd, London, N16 7HR
Set in a former church, this stunning women-only gym is well equipped with a pool, sauna, steam room and a gym spread out over three floors. Cardiovascular equipment and resistance machines are tucked in under the roof's arches and a large studio space in the centre offering everything from zumba and capoeira to spinning classes. The club also has a small lounge area-cum-café at reception, crèche and children's activities, and two treatment rooms offering beauty maintenance and complementary therapies. The attentive and friendly staff will devise a specific training programme for each new member.
2a Wrentham Avenue, London, NW10 3HA
Alongside classes for adults, this centre operates as a charity providing yoga therapy for children with special needs. This can have a hugely positive effect on respiratory patterning, physiology and muscle tension among other things. The centre offers a wide range of classes including hatha, dynamic flow, Iyengar, Ashtanga, therapeutic, gentle and pregnancy yoga plus the widest range of classes for children in London.
2b Heath Hurst Road, London, NW3 2RX
At this centre, as in Australia, Pilates is taught mainly as a rehabilitative technique rather than a form of exercise – an approach embraced by the specialists here. There are also branches in Kilburn and Wimbledon.
11 Allen Road, London, N16 8SB
Small enough to be friendly and approachable but with a good sense of space, Yogahome has a wide range of yoga styles to choose from, with nearly 20 teachers covering ashtanga, Iyengar, yoga for relaxation, hatha fusion, vinyasa flow and pregnancy yoga.
193-199 Camden High Street, London, NW1 7BT
Overlooking Camden Town tube, this branch of Soho Gym takes an upbeat approach to working out with in-gym DJs, a cool blue-and-silver interior and an energetic vibe. As well as all the usual gym equipment in the main workout space, there's a bright studio towards the back with more sedate tai chi, yoga and Pilates plus Thai kick-boxing. There are saunas for men and women. There are also branches in Borough, Clapham, Earls Court, Covent Garden and Waterloo.
Hampstead Road, London, NW1 7DF
This is a serious place to undertake strength training – particularly in relation to the back. Research has shown that 80 per cent of back problems are the result of weak muscles, and that targeted strength training can help prevent problems altogether. It can also be helpful for people with existing ailments; with the extensive range of weights machines, as well as the high-tech medical area, the centre seeks to sort out musculoskeletal problems. Helpful staff debunk common exercise myths while assisting on the variable resistance machines. On joining, you receive a free medical evaluation and personal training session.