If you're looking for a brilliant swimming pool in a historic building that is well maintained, then you'll find it in Bethnal Green. The 33m pool of York Hall Leisure Centre is divided in half - with one side dedicated to serious lap swimming and the other to just mucking about, which is precisely what I wanted to do. It was quiet on a Thursday afternoon, although not dead by any means. I caught the tail end of a school swim group, and when I was getting ready to leave, a group of very young children was about to begin a swimming lesson in the teaching pool.
The changing rooms and showers are functional for a community leisure centre. This is to say, the water was warm in the showers, but the rather sizable mangle of matted hair on the floor left a little something to be desired. As did the trampled remnants of a few crisps on the floor of the changing room.
I was about to splash out £24 for a 3-hour session in the underground spa to take advantage of the Turkish baths and saunas, but it was a male-only session during my visit. Some other time, then.
A non-member swim was a mere £4.20. Totally worth it for the occasional romp about with a friend in the pool. Just check ahead of time to see what's going on in the pool, and in the spa for that matter.
I got to York Hall to swim, having found that it's run by the same people as manage Ironmonger Row Baths so I'm automatically a member of both centres as well as loads of others, which is awesome.
Compared to shiny new refurbished Ironmonger, York Hall is a bit grotty. The changing rooms look fairly dirty (bring flip flops!) and your 20p for the locker is not returned. Also it's 20p for a hairdryer! I also didn't really like that there were fairly old boys getting changed in there with their mums. I'm not particularly precious about that kind of stuff in general, but it made me feel a bit uncomfortable.
The pool itself is huge and the medium lane is 3 lane widths which means you have an overtaking lane. I thought this would make my swim a lot easier than at Ironmonger where there's a lot of traffic but you tend to get people randomly floating about which messes the whole thing up. I don't understand why (a) they don't figure out they should just go to the giant designated slow lane and (b) why the staff don't say anything. Stressful.
Overall though it's a very good pool and as it's super convenient to me I'll keep going. The whole historic/boxing side is really cool, too!
I spent most of today sat in York Hall. If you didn't know this is the huge room attached to York Hall Leisure Centre that is used for various events throughout the year and it's a fabulous space.
Now being a person who goes to a lot of events I know a good venue when I see one and this one with it's super helpful staff and clean modern loos is perfect. The room itself has a stage and bar and a small kitchen attached. It also has this fabulous dark brown real wood floor that brings back memories of school assemblies and Brownies. This time around I was here for The Affordable Vintage Fair but I've been before for Bust's Craftacular, both splendid events. It's the retro space with it's 70s style that make it so endearing. Seriously, check out what they have going on and head on down. Totally worth it.
It's just a hop, skip and a jump from Bethnal Green tube and right next door is the Gallery Café for snacks.
Another newly renovated building in E2 - this is so much nicer to swim in now. The ladies changing rooms are actually nice now.
The pool and its great cavernous ceiling has an adjacent babys pool (slightly warmer ) for very young swimmers.
It is a nice pool but can get very crowded during lane swims - the fast swimmers are serious and there is not alot of space for mistakes.
Late morning swimming is quite geriatric or you are competing with the schools and you can get stuck in with the too slow !!- a big pool but this pool is used alot -
The great thing is though if you have some extra cash and want to treat yourself you can always forget swimming and just book into the spa downstairs which is quite upscale.
Lovely robes and slippers as you enter - steam rooms and saunas are on offer ( a whole corridor full) plus a lounge with various waters and magazines .
Totally enjoyable -in fact just forget the swimming altogether !!
If it wasn't just 5-minute-walk from my house, I would probably choose some other centre. The swimming pool looks a bit old and not being cleaned. The the changing rooms and toilets are usually dirty - but that's probably due to high number of school kids coming to this place. And it's impossible to plug your own hair dryer, you have to use the ones fixed to the wall for 20 p.
But probably I shouldn't complain, as they offer free swim Fridays for the residents of Tower Hamlets and it's usually OK, not overcroded (the small swimming pool fopr mothers with children is usually full, though). Plus the Mon-Fri free swim Schweppes promotion has been extended till next year (all you have to do is to bring the cap from Schweppes mineral water), which means you actually swim there for free all week long!
Best place to swim in east London, the 33 m pool is most of the time empty at the week-end so no wonder its closure was at stake! Ladies swim on Tuesdays, therefore the place gets super busy on this day and you annoyingly need to queue to enter the pool! (2 slots: 6.30-7.30 or 7.30-8.30). Also difficut to join at the middle of a session... So forget about Tuesdays!
Free swims every Friday ( never been there though), guess it is packed as well!
Gym is also nice with plenty of equipment, but never tried their classes.
Staff not welcoming at all but, hey, you're there to swim, it's not a 4-star hotel!
Just a hop, skip and a jump from Bethnal Green tube, this leisure centre is part of a group of such in Tower Hamlets, where membership allows you to use any of the centres.
In York Hall, there's a swimming pool and gym plus a programme of classes ie. yoga, pilates and kid's clubs, teams, etc. There's quite a community feel to much of the activities here - with pictures of local teams recieving trophies from Eastender stars on the walls. How cute. The staff are quite friendly. It's not luxury, but it does the trick fine for the price it is. Some good membership deals for different situations. Recommend it to people who live in the area.
Not a bad place for a swim, don't know about the gym.
The changing rooms are in need of a tidy.
Shame the place doesn't have cafe, but you can get a good coffee at the Museum of Childhood or all day breakfast at Hulya's cafe
York hall was on the verge of being closed a couple of years ago, but thankfully it has been saved and money put back into it.
Hosting, boxing, swimming, spa and a gymnasium, as well as badminton, yoga too, this is truly a diverse leisure centre. I have often had an issue with the politeness of the reception staff, although it seems to have improved and in any case if I get annoyed, it makes me swim more lengths.
The gym is very up-to-date and the swimming pool is a substantial 33 metres long, so if you want to get fit, then this place is as good as any, thank goodness it was not closed.
I love using the gym here, the staff are friendly (most of the time), it can get a little busy but the equipment is of a high standard, best of all though, its in such a nice historic location. York Hall is world famous for its boxing and you can feel the history of the place.
The York Hall Leisure Centre is great because you won't need no fancy and overpriced membership and sign for a contract for the next year or so. Well you do need a membership but with £2.70 it more like a joke and after you just pay as you go £1 each time. Fab!
But this is no luxury, its just cheap. The pool area is very plain. There is just one fairly spacey pool, good for exercise. The shower rooms looks like a bit worn out and I would recommend to bring your own flip flops with you.
I heard just now that there is actually a separate spa downstairs, with a different price of course. As the place upstairs is missing a sauna I could definitely go here to warm up during the winter.
York Hall leisure center is great. The staff are friendly, the pool clean, the classes brilliant (just need to book a few days in advance). The Gym is great although can sometimes get a little bit smelly. They have really improved it over the last year, new equipment, redecoration. Lovely!!!!
I live next to Victoria Park, the perfect place for my morning runs. But as the days grow shorter, colder and wetter, the prospect of running outside becomes increasingly less appealing.
I do a lot of yoga and tried some of the local classes but averaging at £10 for an hour, my budget couldn't stretch to it and I had to make do with my practice at home. I also spent some time looking for a good local gym, but most of them seemed to cost £50 per month with at least 6 months contract.
I finally came across York Hall gym and haven't looked back. At £25 per month for students, no minimum contract and access to all the equipment, this was just what I needed. A good selection of classes, yoga, pilates, aerobics and even capoeira to keep you busy. The gym is pretty good, and there is a swimming pool which is fairly quiet during the morning sessions - just make sure you get there before the school kids do!
Best yoga place in the city. Even it is far from home, I often go there for training. Really good instructor
York Hall in Betnal Green is a health and leisure centre primarily known for being a boxing venue. I enjoy watching boxing but most big fights are on late to cater for American audiences. For those of you who have often wondered what it would be like to be ringside at a fight York Hall is a must. I was there last night to watch Danny Williams and Junior Witter (among others) and the atmosphere is one of friendly excitement. Sadly Brixton boy Danny Williams lost, but even if you turn up to a boxing event for one person you still have a whole undercard of fights to watch making a trip to York Hall excellent value.
Just a 5 min walk from Bethnal Green station, the York Hall is a great part of East London history. The Affordable Vintage Fair is held here at least 4 times a year and I always go for a good time.
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