Thousands of people visit new Britannia Leisure Centre in first week

Over 10,000 excited people have already made their way through the doors of the state-of-the-art new Britannia Leisure Centre after it opened last week.

Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, councillors and Better staff opened the centre at 7am on Wednesday 30 June following a two year build as part of the wider Britannia project, which is delivering a much-needed new secondary school and hundreds of new homes.

The state-of-the-art new facility features five-a-side football pitches on its roof with panoramic views of London, a water flume, two first-class swimming pools, an introduction to water pool, a splash pad, stunning fitness studios, squash courts, a sports hall and a cafe and toilets that also serve Shoreditch Park.

Right from its opening, the praise came streaming in. 

Luke, Vivian and Malcolm (pictured) all headed straight for the gym. The verdict was near unanimous.

“The best gym in England,” Malcolm, from Hoxton, said.

“It’s amazing - the best gym I’ve ever been in,” Luke agreed. “There’s so much space to do what you want. And so nice to look out onto the park and see people walking their dog.”

For Lisa and Russell (pictured), among the first through its doors on Wednesday, visiting the new centre is coming full circle.

Lisa was a lifeguard at the old centre in ‘91, and Russell learned to swim there exactly thirty years ago.

Lisa said: "It was very emotional to do my last spin class in the old centre yesterday - but it's a positive thing to move forward. The new centre is the future and is needed in the area. I've been coming for 30 years, and hope to see you again in another 30!"

Russell said: “I learned to swim at Britannia 30 years ago so I came this morning to complete the circle”.

Merdan, from Hoxton, goes swimming to help a leg injury: “It’s a great new leisure centre. I’m going to tell everyone to come - everything is new!”

Nadia and Peter from De Beauvoir, stopped by on a walk to have a look. “It’s very impressive, all the facilities are great with amazing views from the roof.”

Cllr Chris Kennedy, Cabinet Member for Health, Adult Social Care and Leisure
The new Britannia has been developed in consultation with local people so it was wonderful to experience the sense of excitement felt by residents as they used the incredible facilities for the first time. 

“This new centre is part of the biggest public sector investment in the area in a generation and is built for local residents so I can’t wait to see them use it more and more over the summer.
Cllr Chris Kennedy, Cabinet Member for Health, Adult Social Care and Leisure
The new Britannia Leisure Centre provides some of the best public facilities in the capital and it’s great that we have welcomed so many local people since it opened – including many families.

As a social enterprise, Better exists to get more people, more active, more often and reduce barriers to participation.

All our staff are looking forward to a busy and fun-filled summer and guarantee a warm welcome to all.
Katie Foulger, Hackney Partnership Manager, Better

Designed in partnership with users, Britannia Leisure Centre features: 

  • A six-lane, 25m main swimming pool (with sauna and steam room), a 20mx10m training pool, a leisure pool with jets, a introduction to water pool, and water features with a flume complete with interactive lights
  • A six-court sports hall, four squash courts, two rooftop five-a-side pitches and two tennis courts
  • A fitness suite, group cycle zone and flexible studio spaces
  • A cafe, creche, soft play area and public toilets

The centre is operated by Better, the charitable social enterprise that runs all Council leisure centres, with affordable prices for local people and discounted memberships for those on low incomes. 

In line with social distancing guidelines and to help manage capacity, all activity sessions must be pre-booked ahead of a visit. 

The new centre was developed directly by Hackney Council through its in-house, not-for-profit building programme. Hackney is building hundreds of much-needed new homes and high-quality new infrastructure and facilities despite a lack of government funding. The wider transformation of the leisure centre site also includes a new secondary school for the City of London Academy Shoreditch Park, which opened to pupils in June, and hundreds of new homes, including homes for genuinely affordable social rent and shared ownership.

To celebrate a summer of play, under 16s will get unlimited flume and leisure pool visits at the Britannia. The time-limited offer at the brand new facility will mean that, after paying £1.35 for a pay and play card under 16s, students and U18 concessions who live in Hackney will be able to ride the 8m high flume and splash in the fun-filled leisure pool - with its water fountains, slides and drenching bucket - on as many days as they choose*.

In line with all other indoor centres in Hackney, registered under 18s and over 60s will also be able to swim for free in the main pool and teaching pool on a permanent basis.

To book a session at the new Britannia Leisure Centre, use the Better app or visit https://www.better.org.uk/.