If you’re short on cash, you don't have to splash out on a pricey gym membership to get in shape. From running clubs to yoga workouts, there’s all sorts of exercise classes taking place around town. And the best bit? They don’t cost a penny. Here’s our pick of the best free fitness classes in London.
6.30pm-7.30pm every Wednesday
For the more experienced runner, Asics’ free Bootcamp is a great choice, focusing on strengthening, preventing injury and improving the efficiency of your run. It’s a balance of high intensity cardio drills and technical training, with an emphasis on stride length and cadence (that’s running speak for how you move).
Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays, various branches
There’s a lot more to a Lululemon shop than pretty exercise gear. On Tuesday and Wednesday evenings you can rock up to their flagship store in Covent Garden, King’s Road or Spitalfields to join a weekly run club. All abilities are welcome for a fun jaunt around town, but if you prefer a more zen-like start to the day, try a yoga and chill session at the Spitalfields branch on Sunday mornings. Call up the branch in advance for times.
Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, various locations
If you’ve clocked a solid posse of runners breezing through King’s Cross, Battersea Park or Niketown in the evening, you’ve probably spotted NRC – Nike’s free run club of buff coaches and pacers open to anyone who wants to learn how to run like the pros. Alternatively, there’s the Nike Training Club for all fitness levels, covering interval training, core workouts and cardio drills. It’s not one for blokes, though – the classes have a women-only policy.
The next time you just want to ‘turn up and tone up’, head to Our Parks – that’s the motto of this brilliant initiative that works with local communities to bring free fitness group classes across the city. They’re led by qualified instructors and you can join anything from BoxFit at the Olympic Park to yoga in Victoria Park – just remember to register online and book ahead.
Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 8pm
Reebok’s Covent Garden Fithub runs freebie workouts twice a week in partnership with Gymbox and 100% MMA. Have a go at a class delivered by the hip gym’s PTs on Tuesday evenings, or try out a heady combo of HIIT and bodyweight exercises on Wednesday, delivered at the Jubilee Hall Gym. Whatever you choose, just expect to sweat (a lot).
Daily, various locations and times
With over 70 classes to pick each week, it’s no wonder yummy mummies flock to Sweaty Betty to keep their fitness on track. But to sign up for a class, it’s fastest fingers first – places can be booked up to a week in advance so simply register online and keep your eyes peeled for a free spot.
Sundays to Thursdays, various locations and times
Running can be a lonely old slog. Sweat Shop’s run clubs, held at branches across London, aim to make it a little more sociable. We’d recommend this for more experienced runners – the entry level distance is 5K – but a pace keeper at the back means you won’t be left lagging behind. Each session logged earns you a stamp which can be redeemed against products in store, like a cardio Boots card.
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Petershams Millinery Supplies
Easily spotted by its bright orange door, you won't miss Petershams Millinery Supplies at The Artworks, Elephant & Castle's equivalent to Boxpark in Shoreditch. Founded by Californian Michelle Osborne, this is a place you'd come to get everything you could need to make a hat, fascinator or elaborate headband. Rolls of fabric line the walls, crowded with feathers, trims, bases, pins, combs, veiling and all kinds of decoration. There's also a box of vintage hats – for viewing purposes only – in case you're after a little inspiration.
Venue says: “Spring is here! Pop in store for pretty pastels and florals for your hat making needs.”