Thursday, 30 September 2010

Willes Pool, Kentish Town.

Kentish Town Sports Centre finally reopened a couple of months ago and it is a stunner.
The Willes Pool is the most gorgeous indoor pool I've ever swum in. It's huge (five lanes, all marked out in perfect new tile!), the vaulted roof has been restored to utter perfection, the viewing gallery has been lovingly restored, even the walls are a gorgeous muted lilac. There are also two other pools, a 25m pool and a teaching pool, so the big pool is less busy.

Willes pool

The facilities are also absolutely mega; individual changing rooms each with a state of the art shower with one big soft button. (Although the hairdryers are pants. Those tubey things that barely breathe on your hair. Although they're free, so that's a bonus.)


There's also an amazing gym space, shown here before being filled with brilliant brand new machines. I tested it out a week ago; it was lovely to be able to stare out into the sky whilst torturing yourself. Again, it was probably the best equipped and prettiest gym I've ever used, with the restored wooden floors and huge attic feel. But the joining and membership fees are expensive, on a par with the premium private gyms. The pool ain't cheap either, at £4.05 for a non concessionary adult swim. If you're a Camden resident it's all a bit cheaper, though.

Top marks to Camden Council for not only preserving the building but turning it into an absolutely first class facility. I literally can't stop thinking about diving into that pool, I'm going later.

[Edited to add: I used to go to this pool before it was refurbed: the changing rooms were made out of brieze blocks, the roof was netted over to stop falling debris and pigeons lived in it.
I also had my worst ever public pool experience there once, I won't repeat it but my friends know the story. Horror! Which makes the transformation even more mega.]

Contact: Kentish Town Sports Centre, Prince Of Wales Rd, London NW5 3LE. Telephone: 020 7267 9341.

[Images with thanks to Camden Photos]


  1. It really is, Isa. I was having a bit of a moment first time I went! Haha. Come over one day, let's go. (The building itself is beautiful too and so perfectly cleaned up and restored!)

  2. That might even tempt me to North London....
    Nice profile pic BTW ;)

  3. Funny you should post about this! I just joined the GLL gym for camden with a premier wellbeing membership and it's brilliant value. I pay £45 month and get to use Swiss Cottage (my nearest), the beautiful new kentish town gym and my local at work- the Oasis. It's unlimited for everything! So good. Must get myself to Kentish Town ASAP buy the looks of the pool.

    Also, may not be near you, and it's now autumn, but the Oasis in Holborn has a lovely rooftop pool! x

  4. Also if you join today, the last day of september, they'll waive the joining fee! x

  5. And almost opposite, when you come out onto Prince of Wales Road, is the finest off-licence in Kentish Town, "Drinker's Paradise" where they sell a vast array of unfamiliar-looking liqueurs. The 2 for £5 red wines are often almost drinkable, and they are the nicest shopkeepers in Kentish Town. A win-win situation! Must go in and look at the pool, lovely pics.

  6. Come on over J9. Sunday? (Went last Sunday and it was pretty empty.)

    Swiss Cottage is awesome too, E, big up Camden and their ace facilities. I find the Oasis a bit grimey, although it's cool that it's right in the centre of town. I like the YMCA off Tottenham Court Road, and can't wait to try out the Marshall St pool in Soho.

    Oh, and I might be moving out of the hood in a month, so I didn't want to invest in a membership. But to pay and go use it you have to pay a joining fee plus £25 for an induction. Totally too expensive, it's annoying!


  7. Fiona, that totally cracked me up. I know exactly which offy you mean. I went today and tipped my hat at it in your honour. (Went to the pool I mean, not the offy.) x

  8. Caroline, you are a woman of taste and distinction! It's rocking in there,like a secret club, you have to check it out! xx

  9. Brilliant, almost makes me want to go for a swim ..... almost.... next time I visit my (top, wonderful, gorgeous)dentist in Kentish Town...or maybe I'll just check out the offey!!

  10. What a beauty, if I lived in North London I would visit a lot!

  11. Dear Caroline, what a gorgeous pool! I like the sound of the showers too. Hope you're having a good weekend xx

  12. that really does look lovely

  13. It is a fantastic facility. We should write a thankyou note. Theres also a tall beautiful women working in Gym. She has her hair tied back, cute eyelashes and a perfect physique. Certainly helps to let your imagination go wild when under physical pressure. Not sure if shes single. Probably got no chance anyway.