Three mature men in a gym

Men’s Health Week: Free health checks and advice

Come and get involved in our free programme of activities in support of Men’s Health Week. You can check your vital health stats, get access to health advice and resources, come and try a workshop or exercise session.

Take some time this week to check in with yourself and observe what’s happening in your body and mind. Encourage your friends and family to do the same. This simple act can make a significant difference in your life or someone else’s.

Men’s Health Week Activities:

Self-service health checks

If you’re short on time you can check your vital health stats in just five minutes with our self -service health kiosks at Peckham Pulse Leisure Centre and The Castle Leisure Centre. They are free to use and are located in the foyers.

30 minute health and fitness checks

Meet with one of our health and fitness experts to check your vital health stats and help you understand what they mean. You can then take some basic physical tests to check strength, mobility and fitness. Just choose the ones you want.

  • Mobility check
  • Simple strength test (Bodyweight squats in 1 minute)
  • Cardio starter challenge (5-minute brisk walk on the treadmill

Where: The Castle Leisure Centre

When: 30 minute sessions are available during the following times.

Monday 10 June: 7am to 9am and 3pm to 5:30pm, Tuesday 11 June: 7am to 9am and 3pm to 5:00pm, Wednesday 12 June: 7am to 9am, Thursday 13 June: 8am to 11m and 5pm to 7pm, Saturday 15 June: 10am to 2pm and Sunday 16 June: 2pm to 4pm

Where: Peckham Pulse Leisure Centre

When: 30 minute sessions are available during the following times.

Monday 10 June: 9am to 1pm, Tuesday 11 June: 5pm to 7pm, Wednesday 12 June: 9am to 1pm, Thursday 13 June: 5pm to 10pm, Friday 14 June 6pm to 8pm

How to book:

Please call the leisure centre or visit reception.

Exercise Workshops and Classes

Come and join in a workshop or class led by one of our Fitness Motivators. 

Gym Floor HIIT Class: 45 minute high intensity fitness blast at Dulwich Leisure Centre, Monday 10 June: 12:30pm and 5pm

Gym Floor Strength Workshop: Learn how to lift weights effectively in this 45 minute workshop at Dulwich Leisure Centre, Tuesday 11 June: 2pm and 5pm and Sunday 16 June 10am and 2pm

Spin Class: Feel the exhilaration of a group indoor cycling class at Seven Islands Leisure Centre, Saturday 15 June: 9:30am to 10:15am

Core and posture analysis at Dulwich Leisure Centre, Saturday 15 June: 11am, 12 pm, 1pm and 3pm

How to book:

Please call the leisure centre or visit reception.

Men’s only swim session: supporting mental health

Swimming, like all exercise, releases endorphins in your brain. These are the feel good hormones. They help to increase positivity and bring about a sense of wellbeing and happiness. Join us for a one-hour men’s only swim session to float, swim, relax and enjoy the calm of the water.

Where: Camberwell Leisure Centre

When: Thursday 13 June, 7pm to 8pm

Free weight loss 12-week programme for men

We run a weight loss programme for men of over 45 who either live in or are registered with a GP in Southwark. Over 90% of men who take part lose weight, get more active, reduce stress and improve their mood.

>> Lose weight with free help: find out if you’re eligible today


Get a free health and wellbeing MOT

Get blood pressure and healthy weight checks at a free event. You can also get advice on diabetes, cancer screening, smoking, alcohol, mental health, and more

>> Find an event near you


Get help to stop smoking

The Southwark Stop Smoking Service provides 12 weeks of free, confidential one-to-one stop-smoking support which is available in-person or via the telephone service

>> sign up today


Walk and talk groups for mental health

Join The Proper Blokes Club for weekly walks along the south side of the Thames path on Thursdays at 6:30pm. Enjoy great views of the river to help you clear your mind and meet a great community


>> Join the next walk

Rows of exercise equipment at Dulwich Leisure Centre

Centre improvement highlights

Work to improve our leisure centres is gathering pace following the essential ‘behind the scenes’ work we undertook after taking back our Leisure Centres in June 2023.

This included significant investment in:

  • replacing pumps and fixing pipework for our pools
  • bringing faulty lifts back into use
  • servicing air conditioning and ventilation units
  • deep cleaning ducting
  • fixing boilers and doing some cosmetic improvements.

We have also addressed some long-standing issues at Surrey Docks (new pontoons on the Docks), Camberwell/Dulwich (leaking roof) and Peckham (new lift).

Current changing room improvements

We are currently working on improving the changing facilities including repairs to lockers, cubicles, ceilings, lighting, tiling, replacing showers and vanity areas. There are replacements to alarm systems and access control systems planned, keeping you safe and improving your visit.

Centre decoration

As part of the programme of general decoration across the centres, we are repainting walls, replacing ceiling tiles, repairing damaged areas and generally freshening things up! You will have seen the improvements at Peckham already and the work that is taking place in Camberwell. Dulwich, Surrey Docks and Castle will be coming soon.  

Our net zero commitment

Southwark council is committed to becoming a net zero carbon emitter by 2030. We have a huge programme of carbon reduction initiatives across our centres in support of this ambition. Included in this are:

  • new pool covers to reduces heat loss overnight
  • new efficient LED lighting
  • upgrades to our building management system and photovoltaic panel installations are all coming in the next 12 months.

These investments are testament to Southwark Council’s commitment to addressing health inequality, by enabling more people to have an improved experience in the leisure centres, and more opportunities to continue to increase their health and wellbeing.

What’s happening at your centre?


  • new air conditioning systems in the studios and gym
  • replacement ventilation system throughout
  • locker upgrades
  • a more welcoming reception area
  • general decoration throughout
  • upgraded Pool Plant for a more pleasant bathing experience
  • changing room improvements
  • a ‘library of things’ (tbc)

The Castle

  • a more welcoming reception area
  • general decoration throughout
  • upgraded Pool Plant for a more pleasant bathing experience
  • locker upgrades
  • new televisions and display panels


  • new air conditioning systems in the studios and gym
  • repairs to the heating and ventilation system
  • locker upgrades
  • a more welcoming reception area
  • general decoration throughout
  • upgraded Pool Plant for a more pleasant bathing experience
  • changing room improvements
  • new televisions and display panels
  • A ‘library of things’ (tbc)


  • new air conditioning systems in the studios and gym
  • repairs to the heating and ventilation system
  • locker upgrades
  • upgraded Pool Plant for a more pleasant bathing experience
  • changing room improvements
  • a new accessible pool hoist
  • new televisions and display panels

Surrey Docks

  • locker upgrades
  • changing room improvements
  • new televisions and display panels

Why it’s good for young children to learn how to swim

A recent Sport England survey found that more than one quarter of children cannot swim the length of a pool by the age of 11. That means that they are potentially unsafe in water and at risk of drowning.

Our Southwark Splash Swim School encourages children to take up swimming as early as possible. It a vital life skill it and provides many other benefits.

10 reasons why children should learn to swim

  1. Safety: Learning swimming skills can help children be safer around water and prevent drowning accidents
  2. Physical fitness: Swimming is a great form of exercise that helps children build strength, endurance, and improve cardiovascular health
  3. Confidence: Mastering swimming skills can boost children’s self-confidence, as they overcome challenges and learn new abilities
  4. Social skills: Swimming lessons provide opportunities for children to meet and interact with new friends, developing their social skills and teamwork
  5. Discipline: Swimming requires discipline and dedication, teaching children the importance of regular practice, setting goals, and working hard to achieve them
  6. Stress relief: Swimming helps children relax and reduce stress by releasing endorphins and providing an enjoyable way to unwind
  7. Coordination: Swimming improves children’s coordination, balance, and fine motor skills as they learn different strokes and movements in the water
  8. Emotional development: Swimming lessons can help children regulate their emotions, as the water provides a soothing and calming environment
  9. Cognitive development: Swimming involves learning new techniques, rules, and strategies, stimulating children’s cognitive development and problem-solving skills
  10. Lifelong skill: Swimming is a lifelong skill that children can carry into adulthood, providing them with opportunities for recreation, fitness, and potentially even competitive swimming

Our swim school follows the Swim England framework offering lessons for all ages and abilities. If you’re interested in learning more enquire today or ask in-centre.


5 reasons active hobbies are good for your wellbeing

Spring is here so what better time to get out and about and find a new healthy hobby to help you de-stress. Hobbies can bring about so many positive benefits; personal fulfilment, increased social connections, improved work-life balance, stress relief and enhanced mental wellbeing. All of this makes for a healthier, happier life.

5 reasons to find an active hobby

  1. Reduce stress: hobbies help us to relax and unwind from the pressure of daily life. Whether it’s gardening, running, sport, sailing, walking or something else they can divert your attention away from stressors and promote a sense of calm
  2. Enhanced self-esteem: achieving goals and developing new skill sets can boost self-confidence and your self-esteem
  3. Mindfulness and relaxation: Focusing on your hobbies requires concentration which can promote mindfulness and help you stay present in the moment
  4. Social connections: There are many clubs that bring people together for hobbies. Here you can meet new people, build friendships and create support networks. Social connections are good for maintaining a healthy mental state
  5. Increased happiness: Taking part in activities that bring you joy gives your mood an automatic boost and increase feelings of happiness. Engaging in active hobbies releases endorphins, which are mood enhancers, and can contribute to a more positive outlook on life.

Hobbies to try

At Southwark Leisure we’ve got so many inspiring active hobbies to get you moving. All are available on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Aqua cycling

It’s exactly what it says it is – cycling in water and you can do it in the swimming pool at The Castle Leisure Centre, SE1. It’s great fun, helps burn calories, builds core strength and improves flexibility and balance. Give this fun class a try! Call the centre for information on 020 7091 4243.

Sailing at Surrey Docks

There’s something very therapeutic and relaxing about being on water. It helps to boost our sense of wellbeing and happiness. Activities such as sailing, kayaking and SUP are not only great fun but can promote relaxation, reduce stress and provide a sense of tranquillity and connection with nature. Get involved at Surrey Docks Fitness and Watersports Centre where there are courses for beginners through to the advanced. The season kicks off mid-April so get ready!


You won’t be disappointed by the positive mental health benefits of yoga. I’m sure you will have heard your work colleagues, friends or family, raving about how good it makes them feel. Maybe it’s time to see for yourself?

Yoga, an ancient practice deeply rooted in philosophy, blends physical postures, mindful breathing techniques and meditation to create an exercise that nurtures the body and mind. What’s great is its inclusivity. People of all ages, experience and flexibility levels can enjoy yoga – it’s accessible to everyone.

Whether you’re looking for a gentle, relaxing experience or a vigorous workout, there’s a whole range of yoga classes available across the Southwark leisure centres. Visit for more information.


If you want to get your heart pumping but the gym’s not your thing then badminton is a great choice. Badminton is a fun sport that can be enjoyed around your busy schedule and can be played socially or competitively. The sports hall at The Castle Leisure Centre has courts to hire during the day, evenings and weekends on a pay-as-you-go basis. For more information visit

Weight lifting

Some people view weight lifting as a form of exercise whilst others see it as a hobby that challenges you both physically and mentally. Great satisfaction can be gained from setting goals, tracking progress, and continuously pushing yourself to stronger limits. Although you can weight lift at home if you’re new to it then it’s best to seek advice from a fitness professional to avoid over exertion and injury.

Dance based exercise classes

Music, movement and friendship; there’s lots of enjoyment to be gained from dance based classes such as Zumba or the popular Les Mills SH’BAM class. Not only will you find your groove you’ll have great fun whilst getting that heart pumping. There’s a whole class programme packed full of different class styles. Check them out at or download the Southwark Leisure app to book.

It can be daunting embarking upon something new so, get together with a friend and start a new active hobby together and feel the benefits of a healthy mind.


Free fitness classes at Una Marson library

Move to your next chapter with FREE fitness classes

In our mission to get more people moving, we’re trialling classes in the brand new Una Marson library for six weeks starting on Tuesday 20 February. We recognise that a leisure centre environment isn’t for everybody. That’s why we’re bringing fitness classes to other Southwark venues, to encourage healthy minds and bodies for everybody.

Classes are free for the first six weeks during the trial. If they are popular, we will look at making them a permanent  library fixture. It might encourage people to try other classes within the leisure centres too.

Classes start 20 February for six weeks:

Yoga with Barbora – Tuesdays 10:15am – 11:15am

This is a gentle yoga class suitable for all ages and abilities. It includes gentle movement sequences, breath work, supported silent meditation and guided relaxation to support increased awareness and mindfulness of the breath and body.

HITT with Tara – Tuesdays 12pm – 12:45pm

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT workouts involve exerting your maximum energy during short periods of time. They require high intense bursts of strength and cardiovascular exercises followed by rest. All abilities welcome as you workout at your own pace.

Yoga with Tara – Thursdays 12:15pm – 1:15pm

This is a gentle yoga class suitable for all ages and abilities. It includes gentle movement sequences, breath work, supported silent meditation and guided relaxation to support increased awareness and mindfulness of the breath and body.

Our friendly class instructors are fully qualified and teach classes within our leisure centres. They will guide you through each class and support you in your new fitness chapter.

What to wear and bring

Please wear comfortable gym clothing (nothing baggy). Leggings or shorts and top and gym trainers is advised. If you have a yoga mat please feel free to bring it otherwise mats will be provided for those who don’t. Please bring water with you and eat at least two hours before each class or a light snack one hour before each class e.g. banana or yogurt.

How to book

Spaces are limited so you must book in advance by calling Camberwell Leisure Centre on 020 7703 3024. Only 20 spaces are available, so call early to avoid disappointment.

How to find us

62 Thurlow Street
SE17 2GN*

*Online maps are still learning the location of this new building. We recommend you search for ‘Una Marson Library’ rather than the postcode.

How to get there

Bus: 42, 136, 343

View library on map


Free online classes – available until 31 March 2024

Take advantage of free online classes available on the Southwark Leisure app. Enjoy exercising in the comfort of your own home. Read more

We look forward to moving with you!


Top tips to balance your December out and stay well this winter

When the festive season arrives it’s difficult to avoid all the tasty treat temptations and late night socialising. Here’s some tips on finding a good balance throughout December so all your hard work towards your goals doesn’t go to waste!

  • Make time for exercise. Get more steps in walking safely to and from venues, or your place of work? Or why not fit in your gym class and arrive a little later to the party? If you’re out partying, head onto the dance floor and bust a move to burn some calories
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine by balancing partying with tee-total days/nights to avoid burnout. Plan what you will drink and have fun finding alternatives to strong or calorific tipples. Intersperse alcohol with water to minimise damage the next day!
  • Avoid mixing with people with cold, flu, cough or virus symptoms, and stay away from gatherings if you are not feeling 100%. Rest and fluids are the best way to recover
  • Party foods are typically salty, so quench your thirst with water instead of alcohol or sugary drinks
  • Try an indoor sport with friends. If you want to stay out of the cold there’s lots of indoor activities to keep you moving. At The Castle Leisure Centre you can play badminton, basketball, 5 a-side football, volleyball or enjoy a leisurely swim in the pool
  • Aim for healthy food swaps, pile on the salad/vegetables and avoid constantly grazing at the buffet table. Have a filling breakfast/lunch so you’re not starving and tempted to scoff
  • Enjoy the outdoors! We can all feel a little sluggish after indulging in a party or two but getting outdoors in December will do well for your mental health. There are plenty of parks in Southwark so enjoy the nature around you · Make mindful food choices such as allocating vegetarian or vegan days. Veganuary is an option but you can don’t have to dedicate a whole month to it or wait for January
  • Grab a power nap to help you through the day. If you’re struggling with energy levels just 15-30 minutes of napping is ideal – set an alarm so you don’t over sleep and feel groggy

Key takeaways

There’s no need to neglect your fitness or wellbeing just because it’s winter and party season. Winter can seem cold, dark and a bit miserable but planning for your health and fitness can make all the difference to how you feel. Instead of eating, drinking and hibernating, take time to appreciate the outdoors, move more, find healthy alternatives and joy through new activities or hobbies. Taking steps to be as healthy as possible will give your defences the best chance to keep you physically and mentally well and active.

Move more in ‘24!

Why staying active is good for your wellbeing and 6 ways to feel inspired.

It is expected that in 2024 we will see a greater return to the office or workplace for employees in and around Southwark. For some, it will mean moving more to get to your place of work, but for others, the commute will make the day shorter, meaning less time to spend on physical exercise and activities that make us feel good.

Southwark Leisure is committed to improving the wellbeing of residents and local workers and shares why it’s important to make time for being active and mindful as we adjust to a change in work-life balance.

Why being active is good for your wellbeing

>> Regular activity releases endorphins, improves mood and reduces stress

>> It enhances cognitive function and promotes better sleep

>> Boosts self-esteem

>> You feel more energised

>> It can provide new opportunities for social interaction

Incorporating physical activity into your daily routine will keep your mind and your body healthy for improved wellbeing.

How much should we be moving?

The current government guidelines state that adults should be doing either 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week plus strength exercises on 2 or more days.

What gets you moving?

We all like doing different things. What gets your colleagues moving might not get you moving! Cycling, jogging or walking to work could rack up your weekly exercise minutes or you might enjoy doing one of the many activities across the eight Southwark Leisure Centres. There’s something for everybody including swimming, gym, classes, and a wide range of activities.

Find something you love to do and that will keep you active, more often and for longer.

Set a goal for added motivation

Setting yourself a goal for 2024 could help keep you focused and motivated. A goal can be as challenging as you want to make it. You might want to take part in a challenge, practice mindfulness every day, get better at a particular sport, lose weight, exercise three times per week, build strength, gain flexibility and improve mobility. The list is endless. If you have a goal and need help achieving it, you can speak to a fitness instructor or personal trainer to get a be-spoke programme to help keep you on track.

6 Ways To Feel Inspired

The good news is that you don’t have to go far to find lots of facilities and activities. There’s plenty to do right here in Southwark.

1. For the sporty types – challenge friends to a game!

Have fun in the sports hall at The Castle Leisure Centre. You can hire it for 5-aside football, badminton, netball and basketball. Or why not challenge friends or work colleagues to a game of tennis at Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Sports Facility.

2. For the adventurous – make watersports your new hobby

Find a new hobby on the water with sailing, kayaking or paddleboarding at Surrey Docks Fitness and Watersports Centre – you might want to wait until it warms up in March!

3. For mindfulness – it’s not all about high energy fitness

Enjoy a leisurely swim at one of the many pools across the leisure centres. Try a holistic class such as yoga or Pilates or enjoy nature as you stroll through one of the many parks.

4. For the social ones – find a class you’ll love

Group exercise is one of the most social activities across Southwark leisure centres. They have all the favourite classes including Les Mills, great tunes, friendly instructors and a fun community that will entice you back for more! Plus the Council has just invested £150k in refurbishing all the studios for an enhanced workout experience.

5. For the first timers

Not sure what to do? Why not come and book a tour at your nearest local leisure centre. You can meet the team and share your goals. They’ll then be able to give you best recommendations for how to achieve them. The hardest part is taking that first step. Once you’re through the door, you’re already on track to reaching your health and fitness targets.

6. For the fitness fanatics – set a goal and go for it!

The choice is yours! All the leisure centres are equipped with a good range of cardio equipment, functional kit, and weights for strength training. Set yourself a goal for the new year and ask a member of the fitness team for some inspiration to add variety to your programme. Or why not book a session with a personal trainer for some 1-2-1 inspiration!

£150k Upgrades to group exercise studios

Southwark Council are investing £150k in upgrading group exercise studios across our Southwark leisure centres. The exciting refurbishment project will give the studios a fresh, new invigorating look to enhance the overall group exercise experience. Studio fitness is a huge part of the centre community at Southwark Leisure. With 288 classes running per week it provides a fun, social environment where local residents come together to exercise to music. The great thing is that there’s a class to suit everybody regardless of your age or ability.

The improvement works covering Group Cycling studios, Mind and body studios and Active Studios will be completed in December 2023.

New decoration

  • Newly painted walls to suit the mood of the studios
  • Mind & Body – calm, warm colours to suit the holistic classes
  • Active – a vibrant colour feature wall to motivate members
  • Cycle – dark and moody for that intense high energy vibe

New lighting

Lighting can provide a whole new dimension to fitness. Create a club-like feel for high intensity workouts or set a more serene mood for lighter sessions. The correct lighting can help define spaces and energy levels and bring the class to life for an unforgettable workout experience.

New equipment

All centres are getting new upgraded equipment that will take your training to the next level! This includes new mats, weights, swiss balls, steps, plyo box, ViPR and more. Plus we’re excited to be getting the new to market YBell which is a 4 in 1 piece of kit integrating the kettlebell, dumbbell, double-grip medicine call and push up stand to streamline your workouts!

This exciting six-week refurbishment programme will transform group exercise throughout the centres in time for the new year fitness peak. We will also be launching a new class programme for 2024 with new and extra classes as well as the old favourites. We hope you love our new studios and using the new equipment – see you in class!

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