Way out West near Ealing Broadway with its very Brutalist entrance stands the gigantic Gurnell leisure centre. It has 3 pools and looks like it’s a swimming pool distribution warehouse with a hive of activity under the corrugated metal roof.
On arrival up the huge stairs the staff were really nice and directed me down the stairs to the changing rooms. These have had a refurb recently and the big square space is clean and pleasant. There are some changing cubicles and the lockers of differing sizes take your 20p.
Out to the poolside and you are spoilt for choice as you have the 50m pool in front of you, full of screaming kids on a Sunday and without lanes. Initially a bit annoyed I then saw that the ‘deep pool’ was just beyond this, at just 25m (I think) and was split into 6 lanes. If you are going there thinking you can train in a 50m pool expect to be disappointed. I don’t know about other times but Sunday is playtime.
There is a further shallow pool for littl’uns and the whole place was bustling. It looks great and clean and I liked the wall with all of the canoes lined up along it. There are huge windows along the length of the building keeping it nice and bright even though it does feel as though you are paddling about in an industrial estate.
The deep pool is great as it has diving blocks and plenty of space to move and mess about without bothering anyone. It’s quite warm and chloriney, and the water level seems to sit quite low so you can’t really see much other than the white plastic edges once you are in.
The showers aren’t great, all in a long line at the far end of the changing rooms in a very open space without any cubicles. There’s a couple of weird design choices here which just make it a bit awkward. Or maybe just the amount of space is quite rare so I felt exposed!
This place is great for families and the amount of space helps you to feel free and unconstricted both in and out of the water.