Up at the top of Holloway Road, on MacDonald Road, directly behind the MacDonalds is Archway Leisure Centre. Having researched this pool online it looked as though it was a super child-friendly play area and I wasn’t convinced I’d be able to swim here (like Britannia) so I’ve avoided it for a while. After seeing an ‘Adults’ session I thought that give it a go.
It doesn’t look like much from the outside, and on the way in the staff were really chatty and friendly. This pool has a great sense of community about it. The lady at the desk directed me to the end of the corridor to the changing rooms. The way the facilities have been put together almost look like they ran out of budget half-way through. The changing cubicles have poorly hung shower curtains to retain your diginity, which might as well not be there, and in the female changing half, I think they ran out of lights. The lockers give you your £1 back (I’d have happily donated it to pay for changing cubicle doors), and you are advised to shower in the fully completed, clean and well-built showers before going poolside.
Once you are out into the pool, there is the ‘beach’ effect where you have to wade into the water like you are walking into the sea. There are various islands and a small slide, and the massive swirly slide towards the back. This is obviously a pool built for families and playtime (much like Brittania or Leyton). About 20m towards the back there were 3 lanes set up. These clearly are only used for the adult lane swim, but did do the job.
I’m not sure how long the pool is, I’m guessing 25m, certainly short enough to feel like you are in a kid’s pool. The width of the lanes is reasonable and you can pass people without feeling like you are going to smack hands. The heating is a bit odd and the whole pool is very warm, with hot water pouring in through a pump in a central pillar. There is a metal bar along the edges which I always think is quite a nice touch, and as you swim along there is an inspirational wall of word art to read that brightens the place up.
It seems like a very nice place to be. the pool tiles look very new and clean, but at the same time strewn with dirt and sand. This combined with the heat and high chlorine levels just makes you feel a bit gross.
Hitting the showers was the best bit for me, the 4 of them are modern, push-button, with a good amount of force, plenty of room, and have actual doors. The weird thing was that the water didn’t seem to go anywhere. With no sign of drainage, again I didn’t really enjoy the feeling of dirt just moving round and round the place, like in the pool.
Back to the dark changing rooms (which the staff seemed to be relentlessly cleaning, just moving dirt around more) I drew my curtain and searched for my clothes. On the way out I passed a hair drying area, but was so hot I sped for the exit.
Another pool for the kids and families here, not really up my street.