Discover one of North Finchley’s most well-kept secrets: a local leisure centre that boasts a gorgeous main swimming pool, a brilliant leisure pool complete with wave machine and water cannons, a teenager-friendly gym and, best of all, changing facilities that have just been refurbished. We’re talking about Finchley Lido Leisure Centre in Great North Leisure Park, a perfect (but often overlooked) destination for some energetic family fun. Whether you have older kids who want to practice their backstroke or little ones who want to splash their Sundays away, there's something for everyone here. The main swimming pool is right next to the kid-friendly leisure pool, so you can supervise your younger kids while keeping an eye on the more proficient swimmers as they do their laps. Here's all the information you need to spend an afternoon there with the kids.
However competent your little ones are in the water, there’s a pool to please them. For serious strokes, the 25-metre main pool is a pleasure. It has soaring ceilings and huge windows that flood the room with natural light. It’s easy to forget you’re exercising here. And for younger water fiends, the leisure pool is a dream come true. Heated to a balmy 30 degrees, this swimming pool will keep your little swimmers happy for ages. There are water cannons, rapids, air jets and yes – a wave machine! The pool starts off extremely shallow and deepens to maximum depth of 1.4 metres, so you will need to supervise your non-swimmers. There needs to be one adult for each two non-swimmers or under 8s (or one adult per each under 5). In the summer, Finchley Lido Leisure Centre has a beautiful outdoor pool as well, which is a real treat. Get there early though, because it does get busy on those rare sunny days!
Please note: the swimming pools at Finchley Lido are currently closed due to roof repairs. They are expected to reopen in May 2020. The outdoor pool opens for the summer in May or June, depending on the weather.
Work It Out
If your teens are into fitness, they’re in luck: Finchley Lido Leisure Centre has a newly refurbished gym, with state-of-the-art equipment. Although under 16s cannot use the gym whenever they want, there are daily Junior Gym sessions for ages 11-15. Your fitness fanatics can feel like grown-ups while making use of the fantastic gym equipment under the watchful eyes of a qualified instructor in a fun, sociable environment. The gym has Wi-Fi too, as well as a high-tech monitoring system called Boditrax (precision body composition and cellular monitoring). Sessions run after school on weekdays and on weekend afternoons. You can swim as a non-member, but only members of the leisure centre can use the gym.
Tots Water World
For your little fishies, there are daily toddler sessions in the pool during the week. Tots Water World is a free play session – there is no instructor or set activities. Think inflatables, water toys and floats; a brilliant way to enjoy quality time with your active toddler. Check their website for timings.
If you're feeling peckish, vending machines can be found around the leisure centre (and there is sometimes a snack kiosk at the outdoor pool in the summer), but if you're looking for more than just a snack you're in luck too: Finchley Lido is located in a larger leisure complex that includes several restaurants, including Nando's, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Wagamama and Ask Italian.
The recent refurbishment has made Finchley Lido better than ever, with extra family changing facilities and a general spruce up to all the changing areas. No need to say more - nothing can make or break a day out than the state of the changing facilities!
Anyone can use the swimming pools or join a fitness class (for a fee), but the gym is only open to members (including the Junior Gym sessions). Membership to Barnet leisure centres is reasonable and can be used across all the leisure centres in Barnet.
A visit to Finchley Lido will entertain your troops for a good few hours . If you're looking to make a day of it, there is also a Vue Cinema and Hollywood Bowl within the leisure park – a great way to take it easy after a morning of energetic activity. There is also a very tempting arcade next to the bowling alley with games to suit all ages, from shoot 'em ups and racing games to air hockey and the wheel of fortune.
Finchley Lido Leisure Centre is part of Great North Leisure Park in North London, a leisure park consisting of Finchley Lido Leisure Centre, Vue Cinema North Finchley, Hollywood Bowl and a number of cafes and restaurants. There is a large, free, car park on site, too.
Barnet local leisure centres have a wide range of activities, and their websites are very helpful, giving plenty of information about facilities, activities and a weekly timetable that is kept up to date. So have a browse for more information before planning your trip to make sure you get the most out of your day.
Shari is a Londoner and mum to four inquisitive and energetic boys. She looks forward to the weekends, which are about sparking joy, igniting curiosity and burning off energy in equal measure. Shari loves going on family adventures that make the most of our amazing city, and takes extra delight in discovering someplace new.