The London Aquatics Centre

The Aquatics Centre, home to Olympic 2012 swimming, is now open to the public. This gives a huge boost to sports in east London and it’s great news for swimming fans. As a personal trainer in London I encourage anyone to include swimming in their fitness regime. It’s one of the best cardiovascular training methods, and works pretty much every muscle in your body if you swim hard.

Where is it?

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, London E20 2QZ.

What facilities are there?

Two full size 50 metre olympic pools. The competition pool has 10 lanes for serious swimmers who want to do lengths, and the training pool is for families and fun.

There is also a 25 metre diving pool, which Tom Daley uses regularly (look out for him!). The top board is a whopping 10 metres high.

Can I get swimming and diving lessons?

Yes – swimming lessons in London have entered a new era with this amazing facility. For more info check out betterlessons.org.uk.

What are the opening times?

6am – 10pm seven days a week.

For more info on pool times for lane swimming/family swimming/kids swimming/lessons/club sessions check out this website:

better.org.uk/leisure/london-aquatics-centre

Who runs the Aquatics Centre?

GLL, a charitable social enterprise. GLL is the largest operator of sports and fitness centres in the UK.

Who built the Aquatics Centre?

Designed by architect Zaha Hadid. The curved roof looks like a manta ray or giant pringle, and the vast walls of glass flood the interior with natural light. Total cost of the Aquatics Centre: £269 million.

What the papers say

“The water doesn’t feel as chemical as some public pools. Neither does it have the usual muffled sounds of swimming pool acoustics.” (Miranda Bryant, London Evening Standard)

“This is not your average local pool.” (Jamie Merrill, The Independent)

“Like swimming in a big Asda at peak shopping hours.” (Bernadette McNulty, The Telegraph)

“It’s like swimming in a spaceship,” says local kid. “It’s the most spectacular space I’ve ever swum in.” says adult swimmer. (people interviewed by Oliver Wainwright of The Guardian)

What are the prices?

£4.50 peak adult, £3.50 off-peak adult, or £29.50 monthly membership.

Ring 020 8536 3150 to check latest prices and membership options.

Dominic Londesborough is a personal trainer in London and author of this blog.