Keeping fit whilst travelling is always a challenge. Exploring the attractions, going on culinary adventures and late nights can play havoc with your daily routine, and that’s before you’ve even factored in the travel time! Exercise can often come with a hefty price tag too, particularly when you’re in a new place or an expensive city such as London.
Fortunately, we have some inside tips on how to work out in London for free! Coupled with sourcing one of the attractive special offers available on London hotels, a free work out leaves you with plenty of spare cash to enjoy the rest of your time in the city. Our suggestions are flexible so you can work them in around your holiday or business needs whilst in the city.
Free Outdoor Gyms
Beat gym fees by taking advantage of one of London’s council-funded outdoor gyms which are free to use and open year-round. The initiative aims to encourage a more active and healthier population, and are fun to use. The Great Outdoor Gym Company operate one in the Paddington Recreation Ground including a chest press, abs bench and cross trainer. Located next to Maida Vale Underground station, this one is very convenient for those with accommodation in Paddington London. Alternatively, you can download their free TGO Activate app to find an alternative option.
Not only do Sweaty Betty sell some of the slickest workout gear in the city, but they also offer free exercise classes – no strings attached. Classes range from yoga, barre and pilates to HIIT, circuits and Betty Bootcamp and take place at Sweaty Betty’s locations throughout London. Depending on the class, they can vary from 30, 60 and 90 minutes. Use the Sweaty Betty website to book your free class in advance, but make sure you get in there early – the classes book up fast.
Our Parks is a unique initiative which connects professionally qualified instructors with local communities to bring free classes in London’s parks, across the boroughs. Turn up, tone up; get fit for free is their motto! You can choose between bootcamp in Queen’s Park Gardens (Kensal Town) or yoga at the Tudor Rose Community Centre (Hammersmith) to get started. Download the free Our Parks app or use their website to find out what’s on and book your free space during your time in the city.
Don’t let the languid name deceive you, the Sunday Stroll is a group skate! Meeting at Hyde Park’s Serpentine Road every Sunday at 2pm, you’ll be guided on a slow, gentle skate around the park. Staffed entirely by volunteers it’s free to skate, but you will need to add your own skates or blades to your Park Grand London Paddington packing list. Note that children must be accompanied by an adult. Advanced skaters might prefer the London Friday Night Skate which is more demanding and faster-paced.
Do good, get fit. This is the ethos behind Good Gym which gives runners community-based tasks which helps you keep fit whilst helping those in need. This idea is that you run to a specific location, complete what’s needed of you, then run back to the Park Grand Paddington. Deeds include group projects planting trees and gardening work. Independently, you might be tasked to run to the home of an elderly person and change a lightbulb, move furniture or ‘run’ an errand. Good Gym is flexible to suit your schedule, but you will need to register a few weeks in advance as the charity will need to complete a background check and complete some online training before assigning you your first task.
London City Runners
London City Runners is the largest free running club in the city and is not affiliated to any retailer. Running newbies, gentle joggers right through to seasoned marathon runners are welcome at the club. The club meets every Tuesday and Thursday evening and Sunday mornings at their clubhouse (130 Druid Street, Bermondsey). Runs take place year-round, whatever the weather. They do not run during the week of Christmas or on Easter Sunday, the day of the London Marathon or the Big Half so check those dates before you make plans. Tuesday night’s Thames Run is very popular and you can opt to run 5k, 6k or 10k.
An alternative running option is with the volunteer-led Park Run. They organise free, weekly 5k runs in beautiful parks of London and nationwide and welcome runners from all experience levels. Use their website to find your nearest Park Run event. You can usually find events in Hampstead Heath, Highbury Fields and Southwark Park. Alternatively, you can venture of central London to run through the lush parklands of Alexandra Palace, Richmond Park or Herne Hill. They even have ‘junior’ runs which consist of a series of 2k runs for children.
Happy Bootcamps take place every Saturday and Sunday in parks around the UK and are ideal for those seeking a sociable workout. Their enthusiastic, professionally trained volunteers aim to send their patrons home feeling fitter, happier and more confident. Expect to spend your work out practising bodyweight training, sprinting and playing games. The sessions are suited to all levels and ages, so don’t be shy. The current meeting location in London for Happy Bootcamps is the Wellington Arch. Check their website before you go.
Sample a free dance class
Swap your sneakers for your dancing shoes and put your best foot forward in a dance class. Whether you’re fancying having a go at tango, salsa, samba or K-pop, you will be able to find a dance school in London. Most of the dance schools offer a free taster class – so shop around and contact the instructor before you go. You can email DCG Dance for a free K-pop class or shake your hips Latino style at Salsa! (Charing Cross) who occasionally host free classes.