Swim, Stretch and Sweat: Ways to keep fit in the Royal Docks

Art & Culture

Swim, Stretch and Sweat: Ways to keep fit in the Royal Docks

Bored of the treadmill or looking to get back into fitness? From ballet and bouldering to pole dancing and open-water swimming, there are so many great ways to work out in the Royal Docks. Here’s our pick of some effective and enjoyable ways to improve your fitness and boost your endorphins.‌

Take the plunge

Experience open water swimming in the Royal Docks. Whether you fancy a relaxing dip or you’re training for a triathlon, it’s great for your mind, body and soul. Before taking the plunge, you’ll need to sign up for a Cold Water Induction course and then book your swim session with Love Open Water. The iconic Dock2Dock swim event is also not to be missed!

Royal Victoria Dock pontoon (look out for the grass-covered gated pontoon opposite City Hall), Kamal Chunchie Way, E16 1ZE. Dates, times and prices vary.

Discover the power of group fitness

For ultimate motivation join Victoria Dock parkrun where over 200 people take part each week! Beckton parkrun is another great local alternative. The free 5km community events take place every Saturday at 9am. All abilities are welcome. You can walk, jog, run, volunteer, or simply spectate. It’s a great way to get fit without spending a penny!

Every Saturday, 9am. Victoria Dock parkrun -(meeting point - outside City Hall) Kamal Chunchie Way, London, E16 1ZE. Free

Every Saturday, 9am. Beckton parkrun - Will Thorne Pavilion, Beckton District Park South, Stansfeld Road, Beckton E6 5NE. Free

‌Registration required – see website for details

Free exercise classes in the open air

Take advantage of free invigorating workouts in your local park with Our Parks. The expert instructors will put you through your paces as you also benefit from greater exposure to natural light, breathe in fresh air and connect with nature. The classes are suitable for all abilities and include Box Fit, Circuit and Bootcamp and Abs, Bums & Tums. It’s another great way to keep fit for free in the Royal Docks. Just remember to register online and book ahead.

Monday – Sunday, times vary. Multiple locations. See website for details. Free

Work up a sweat at Peacock gym

Founded in 1978, Peacock Gym is one of the best-loved and respected boxing gyms in London. The family-run gym has produced many champions over the years and played host to top fighters including Frank Bruno, Lennox Lewis, and Floyd Mayweather. Besides boxing, you can also do Yoga, Circuit, Kick Boxing and Muay Thai plus personal training sessions with award-winning coaches. The facilities include a fully equipped gym, 3 boxing rings, free and fixed weight areas, aerobics hall and a café.

Peacock Gymnasium, Peacock House, Caxton Street, Canning Town, E16 1JL. Dates, times and prices vary. See website for details

Ballet for everyone

Experience the joy of dance at English National Ballet. As an exercise, ballet offers many health benefits including improved posture, balance, coordination, strength, and flexibility. Classes held at the state-of-the-art home in Canning Town include Absolute Beginners Ballet, BalletFit, Ballet-Pilates, and contemporary dance. Led by highly experienced teachers and dance artists, the sessions are a wonderful way to creatively explore movement, increase confidence, and improve technique. Dance for Dementia is also a welcoming and open dance class, designed to engage the body and mind of people living with dementia using seated and standing exercises for all abilities.

English National Ballet, Mulryan Centre for Dance, 41 Hopewell Square, E14 0SY. Monday - Friday 8.30am–5pm, Saturday – Sunday 9am–4pm. Prices vary. See website for full details

Workout at the University of East London

The University of East London’s Docklands Campus is home to SportsDock, a state-of-the-art sports facility. Did you know the public can also workout there too? The multi-use sports complex includes a gym, virtual cycling studio, conditioning centre, outdoor 5-a-side pitches and a dance studio. Join the friendly fitness instructors for one of the amazing weekly classes including Ironman, Bollywood, Body Burn, Strong Her, Zumba Step, Boxfit and PowerRide.

University of East London, University Way, E16 2RD. Dates, times and prices vary. See website for details

Stretch, sweat and dance at your local community centre

Another great place to workout in the Royal Docks is in our fabulous community centres. Royal Docks Learning and Activity Centre, Britannia Village Hall, Royal Wharf Community Dock and St Mark’s Community Centre are just a few of the centres offering free or low-cost classes to keep all ages fit and nimble. The fun includes karate, wrestling, Tai Chi, bowls, yoga, Zumba, gymnastics, football, table tennis and Salsa. It’s a great way to connect with your neighbours and build new friendships locally too.

Royal Docks Learning and Activity Centre, Albert Road, North Woolwich E16 2JB

Britannia Village Hall, Royal Wharf Community Dock, 65 Evelyn Street, E16 1TU

St Mark’s Community Centre, 218 Tollgate Rd, London E6 5YA

Dates, times and locations vary. See websites for more details. Free

Reach new heights with Rise Climbing

Head to Rise Climbing for a stress-busting full-body workout. The climbing centre includes a range of bouldering, traverse, and training walls plus a gym. Shoes and chalk are available to hire or buy. As you climb, you’ll challenge your strength, flexibility, balance, coordination and problem-solving skills. From complete beginners to experienced climbers, all are welcome. There are also family sessions for 3 years and over. Plus grab a post-workout cuppa or cold beer in the café.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10am – 10pm, Tuesday Thursday 6am - 10pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am – 6pm. Rise Climbing, Unit 6 Caxton Works, Hoy St, E16 1ZA. From £8.50

Jump in the ring

7-25 years olds are invited to join Fight for Peace Academy for free boxing and martial arts training. The charity also helps young people to develop personal development plans to become champions in their everyday lives as well as in the ring.

Fight for Peace, Academy, Woodman Street, London, E16 2LS. Dates and times vary. See website for details. Free

Ride the waves

WakeUp Docklands is a seriously cool watersports centre in Royal Victoria Dock. The experienced and friendly team will help all abilities master paddle and wakeboarding. You can then progress to show off your skills on the jumps and obstacles. WakeUp Docklands is currently closed for winter, but it will reopen its doors in spring. Trust us, it will be worth the wait! The nearby Oiler Bar is a great place to relax after a fun session on the water.

WakeUp Docklands, 1 Dock Road, E16 1AG. Dates, times and prices vary. See website for details

Explore the local green spaces

Get your walking boots on and head to one of the beautiful parks in the Royal Docks. Enjoy a brisk walk through the hedge maze at Thames Barrier Park, go for a run in Lyle Park taking in the river views or book a court for a game of tennis at Royal Victoria Gardens.

Various locations, see interactive map for details. Free

Make a splash at the London Regatta Centre

For a workout with a difference, head to the London Regatta Centre, a dedicated watersports facility in Royal Albert Dock. The centre includes an impressive 2,000m rowing course with seven race lanes, a large boathouse, and an indoor rowing tank. You can try out a range of paddle sports and sailing activities with one of the many clubs based at the centre. The fun and friendly clubs include the Queen Mary University of London Boat Club, London Youth Rowing, Curlew Rowing Club, University of East London Boat Club, Raging Dragons Dragon Boat Club, Thames Dragons, Wave Walkers, Windy Pandas, DBC and Typhoon DBC.

London Regatta Centre, 1012 Dockside Road, E16 2QT. Dates, times and prices vary. See website for more details

Get fit in a library

Do you know you can work out for free in your local Newham library? From Salsa and walking basketball to yoga and Bollywood dance, there is something for everyone. Don’t forget your library card so you can borrow a good book too!

North Woolwich Library, 5 Pier Parade, North Woolwich, London, E16 2LJ

Custom House Library, Prince Regent Lane, Custom House, London, E16 3JJ

Canning Town Library, 18 Rathbone Market, Barking Road, Canning Town, London, E16 4HA

Beckton Globe Library, 1 Kingsford Way, Beckton, London, E6 5JQ

Dates, times and locations vary. See website for more details. Free

On your bike!

Get your heart pumping and take in the sights with a vitalising bike ride. If you don’t have one, simply hire a compact Brompton folding bike from a locker in the Royal Docks. Collect and keep a bike for 24 hours or longer from just £5 per day. Plus, it can be returned to any one of over 70 nationwide lockers. It’s the perfect way to keep fit and look stylish at the same time!

70 nationwide lockers including Royal Albert Station, Custom House station, Cyprus Station and Beckton station. £5 per day. See website for full details

A space for your mind, body and soul

Wonderful Things is a beautiful and cosy space in Canning Town offering a variety of well-being and spiritual practices. Speak to the knowledgeable team to learn more about the various classes on offer to find the perfect one for you. Wonderful Things has something for everyone.

Wonderful Things, Hoy Street, Thanet Tower, Unit 11, E16 1ZA. Dates, times and prices vary. See website for details.

Work up a sweat at Diesel Gym London

Do you know your 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu from your Muay Thai? Don’t worry, the expert team at Diesel Gym London has got you covered. Located in Royal Albert Dock, Diesel Gym London is one of the most successful mixed martial arts gyms in the UK. They also have an amazing track record of nurturing international competitors and champions. You don’t need to be interested in competing, the majority of users are complete beginners who are there to improve their fitness, skills and confidence. Check out the packed timetable which includes a range of free community classes too.

Diesel Gym London, 1012 Dockside Road, London, E16 2QT. Dates, times and prices vary. See website for details.

Volunteer for feel-good fitness sessions

Join the lovely people at GoodGym who get fit by doing good. The team of volunteers run, walk or cycle to do practical tasks for local community organisations and isolated older members of the community. This could be anything from helping to lift boxes at a food bank, to painting a community centre or gardening. It’s a great way to improve your fitness, meet new people and have fun while helping the community.

Dates, times and locations vary. See website for details. Free

Strength Room - making every rep count

Strength Room gym champions health, wellness, and personal growth. The expert team pride themselves on helping members to reach their potential and achieve goals with personalised programmes and tailored nutrition advice. Whether you’re looking to build strength, lose weight or increase endurance, the Strength Room team can help.

Monday to Friday 6am - 8.30pm, Saturday 8am – 2pm, Sunday 10am – 2pm. Strength Room, Unit 22, 21 Botanic Square, London City Island, E14 0LG

Find your zen with Hum Meditation

For yoga, pilates and meditation classes with a difference head to Hum + Meditation. Classes are based on sonic frequencies to enhance and deepen your yoga and meditative experience. The benefits are believed to include enhanced creativity, relaxation, improved mood and sleep patterns.

Hum yoga + meditation, Lyell Street, London City Island, E14 OSZ. Dates, times and prices vary. See website for details

Get flexible at East London Gymnastics Centre

Discover the joy of gymnastics at East London Gymnastics Centre. The walls of the centre are covered with photos showcasing the award-winning athletics that it has developed over the years. Whether you are a complete beginner or want to build on existing skills, East London Gymnastics Centre is the place to be. The Adult classes include pole dancing, aerial hoop, sling, trapeze and silks plus traditional gymnastics. Children’s gymnastics classes are also in high demand.

East London Gymnastics Centre, 1 Triumph Road, E6 5LW. Date, times and prices vary

Royal Docks Fitness

Royal Docks Fitness is a gym that specialises in functional fitness. This type of exercise supports your daily life and includes movements such as walking, pushing, pulling, bending, squatting, lunging, and core workouts. If you’ll benefit from group motivation this is the place for you. The members are a proud community who work hard and support each other, no matter where anyone is on their fitness journey.

Royal Docks Fitness, Unit 1A Warehouse K, Seagull Lane, E16 1DR. Dates, times and prices vary

And relax

After your workout soothe your weary muscles with a sauna at Sweheat. The wood fired outdoor sauna features a Finnish design stove and comfortably seats up to 12 people. For the ultimate experience, alternative your time in the sauna with refreshing dips in the cold plunge pool.

Monday, Thursday and Friday, 4.30pm - 10pm. Saturday and Sunday, 10.30am - 10pm. From £19.99

Sweheat Sauna, Western Beach, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Dock Road, London, E16 1AH (next to Nakhon Thai restaurant).