Swimming is a great activity for everyone, whether you’re looking to learn or have years of experience. It’s fun and can be sociable, a family activity or perfect as a personal escape. It’s a full body workout and, because it’s low impact, it’s ideal for anyone looking for something easier on the joints than the gym or a fitness class.




Planning your swim – when to swim and what to wear

Each pool has different opening times and the programme will include swimming lessons and other activities which restrict pool space at certain times. It’s best to check the pool timetable first, to make sure you know when you can swim. ‘Swim for all’ or ‘Swim for adults’ sessions are great for those looking to drop in and swim. You can find the pool timetable on the leisure centre webpage.

Once you’ve found the right session for you, there’s no need to book – you can just turn up and swim!

For swimming it’s best to wear specifically designed swim-wear. For women, that’s a swimming costume, bikini, tankini or burkini. Fitted t-shirts and/or leggings worn under swim wear are also OK. For men: trunks, swim shorts, board shorts or fitted nylon leggings are best.

Goggles are great if you intend to swim with your face underwater or if you are concerned about getting water in your eyes.

Most of our pools sell a selection of swim-wear at reception. You can also find it in most sports shops or online stores


Once you’ve passed through the barriers, there will be signs to the changing areas. If any of the signs aren’t clear, our staff will be happy to point you in the right direction.

Depending on pool, the changing area will either be split into male and female change or there’ll be a changing village, with cubicles. Children under eight years old can get changed with their parent / guardian. Many of our pools  have family changing areas, as well as accessible changing facilities.

There’ll be lockers in the changing area where you can store your clothes while you are swimming.

Once you’re changed and ready to go, there’ll be a sign to the swimming pool.


Every pool is unique, but most will be rectangular and set up with lanes, where people can swim laps in a set direction. Lanes are generally separated into ‘fast’, ‘medium’ and ‘slow’ to allow you to swim with others of a similar speed. Signs at the end of each lane will show you what speed each lane is and the direction to swim in. Some pool space may also be allocated for ‘general swim’ or ‘family swim’, to swim without lanes.

Pools will generally have a ‘deep’ and a ‘shallow’ end, which are clearly signposted, along with the depths marked at each point. Shallow areas tend to be around 1-1.2 metres deep, so are comfortable for an adult to stand with their head above water and feel stable.

Most pools have hooks on the wall nearby, if you’d like to bring a towel or gown onto poolside.

Many of our pools also have a sauna, steam room or Jacuzzi.


If you’re not a confident swimmer already, then swimming lessons are a great place to start. The vast majority of our pools include group lessons for adults in addition to the children’s learn to swim programme.


Most of our pools have equipment in place to help you get into and out of the pool safely, should you find it difficult using a ladder or steps. Further information about accessibility is available on the leisure centre webpage.

Bringing children to the pool

Anyone aged 8 or over, who can swim 25 metres, can come swimming on their own. Kids under 8 and non-swimmers 11-17 need to be accompanied by a competent adult swimmer, with no more than two children accompanied by each adult.

Women's only

Lots of our pools offer sessions specifically for women, where all lifeguards are female and the pool area is closed off entirely from men. Check the timetable on the leisure centre webpage for details of when these sessions are.