Fancy playing five-a-side football on a roof, whooshing down a water flume or playing a game of tennis with a view of the City? Head to Hoxton’s incredible new Britannia Leisure Centre as it is set to open its doors this month.

The centre – which is part of the biggest public sector investment in the area in a generation – will open on Wednesday 30 June, giving local people the opportunity to join their community for a summer of sport and play in what will soon be one of London’s best leisure facilities. 

Developed by Hackney Council, the incredible building boasts rooftop football pitches and tennis courts with panoramic views of London, two first-class swimming pools, a leisure pool with jets, a paddling pool and additional leisure water areas, stunning fitness studios and a cafe and toilets that also serve Shoreditch Park.

It’s also one of Hackney’s most inclusive public buildings, with accessible changing areas (including two changing places), pool pods for wheelchair users, a pool with sensory and interactive light features, and individual changing rooms. 

And yes – it has a flume. And yes – it’s amazing.

The centre will be 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, including further surprises to come for local residents.

Following extensive consultation with local people, construction of the new leisure centre began in 2019, and despite significant challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Council’s contractor Morgan Sindall has successfully completed the stunning new building. 

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 paddling pool, leisure water for children and families, 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 opening will be subject to coronavirus restrictions, and in line with relevant social distancing and other guidelines that apply at the end of June. Further details will be available later in the month.

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 will also include a new secondary school for the City of London Academy Shoreditch Park, due to open to pupils this month, and hundreds of new homes, including homes for genuinely affordable social rent and shared ownership.

Hackney’s creative and community spirit will also be showcased inside the building by exhibiting the work of local photographer Jenny Lewis – whose portraits of 102 local people will welcome visitors – and outside the building by the new BRAFA public square.

Jenny said: “One Hundred Years is a celebration of our community – 100 portraits from every age 1-100. To display this series at the Britannia is a wonderful opportunity. Instead of individuals, they will be viewed as a solid grid, united as a community which feels symbolic and hopeful as we move out of isolation.”

The existing centre, which will be demolished as part of the project as it nears the end of its life, will close as the new centre opens. Existing bookers will be contacted directly about moving existing bookings into the new building.

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