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The 5 best swimming instructors in London who’ll keep you from drowning

Ever had that sinking feeling when you’re the only one at a pool party who can’t swim? At the last such party I went to, I was a lot less like Rose and more like Jack in Titanic, clinging to the edge of the pool like it was a door on the water.

That’s why I decided to dive into the deep end (figuratively and literally) and find the absolute best swimming instructors in London. Coaches from these swim schools won’t just teach you to swim – they’ll make sure you never do that awful dogpaddle again in front of your pals! 

How much do swimming lessons cost in London?

Swimming instructors in London typically charge between £30 to £65 per hour for one-on-one private lessons. There are usually packages for multiple sessions as well, which can range anywhere from £125 to £350. This depends on the type of program and the number of sessions required.

How we chose

  • Expertise and Qualifications: We chose swimming instructors who have solid credentials and plenty of experience.
  • Teaching Style: We looked for instructors who are patient and approachable. Learning to swim can be intimidating, so having someone who makes you feel comfortable and at ease is crucial.
  • Locations and Facilities: We considered how easy it is to get to the lessons and the quality of the facilities. Instructors who teach at clean, well-maintained pools in accessible locations made the cut.
  • Value for Money: We made sure to find instructors who offer great value for their services, especially as measured against the city average for fees. 
  • Packages and Programs: We chose swimming instructors who offer a range of packages and programs to suit different needs. This can include one-on-one courses, regular weekly sessions, or specialised programs like open water swimming or triathlon training.

1. Going Swimmingly London 

going-swimmingly-london-logo

Location: 100 Friars Ave, London SW15 3DU, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 7873 178154

Opening hours: Monday – Saturday: 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM | Sunday: 6:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Website

Adam at Going Swimmingly offers various swimming lessons, including private swimming lessons for kids, adults, and athletes training for triathlons. However, seeing his track record, we see him as a great choice for kids in particular.

This is because he is calm, patient, and reliable – three major things we’re looking for in a swimming instructor. He’s also flexible as he offers both residential and private lessons, which most parents appreciate.

On the downside, his services are more on the expensive side. But seeing that he is a fully qualified instructor who has been teaching since he was young, his experience makes the fees worth it.

Adam is also a personal trainer, which is why his inclusive approach focuses on the stress-relieving and health aspects of swimming. Plus, he makes the entire process enjoyable. 

Pros

  • Able to work with toddlers, kids, adults, and athletes
  • Offers residential swimming lessons
  • Fully qualified
  • Great personality and attitude

Cons

  • Relatively high rates

Adam is a brilliant swim coach, truly the best. We’ve known him many years and he has always been so patient and calm with our son, who has additional needs and struggles to walk… however he can now swim well thanks to Adam. Adam brings lots of energy and fun to his lessons and he is a genuinely lovely guy who is great with kids. I would highly recommend his lessons!

Justine Shih | Google Reviews 

Adam has been teaching my 6 year old son for over 7 months now. He has been amazing with him. My son wasn’t a fan of water, and didn’t want to go into the pool the first lesson, but now cannot wait for his weekly class with Adam. He has progressed so much, and it’s thanks to Adam’s patience and playful ways of teaching him. Highly recommended!

Shirley Turnheim | Google Reviews

2. Strictly Swimming Moorgate

strictly-swimming-moorgate-logo

Location: Nuffield Health Moorgate Fitness & Wellbeing Gym, 1 Ropemaker St, London EC2Y 9AW, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 7876 743656

Opening hours: Monday – Friday: 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM | Saturday – Sunday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Website

Strictly Swimming Moorgate focuses on top-level adult swimming lessons led by competitive swimmers and sports science graduates. Their private one-to-one lessons cater to adults of all abilities, from beginners to competitive swimmers and triathletes.

One standout feature of Strictly Swimming Moorgate is their focus on individualised learning. With private teaching lanes and tailored lessons, swimmers receive personalised attention.

Another thing worth noting is their amazing rates – they’re not only affordable, but they’re also transparent. For instance, lessons start at £25 and there are even flexible packages available depending on how many lessons you need in one course.

Unfortunately, some instructors can be rough on hard-selling these packages. On the good side, they have gift voucher options which is a nice touch for non-members.

Pros

  • Specialties in top-level adult swimming lessons
  • Solid roster of qualified instructors
  • Affordable starting rate
  • Flexible lesson packages
  • Gift vouchers available 

Cons

  • Some instructors may hard-sell lessons

Really enjoying my swim lessons with Strictly Swimming, the coaches Arvids and Lillie have both been amazing! Paul, the head coach, has been extremely flexible with my constant travel plans and has offered more than once for me to join a different session during the week because I couldn’t make the one I originally booked! Really appreciated, will definitely recommend and book again! Thanks!

Irina Liechti | Google Reviews 

I can’t recommend strictly swimming enough for all your swimming needs, it was extremely easy to organise lessons via the owner Paul who was super responsive and helpful, and fees are extremely reasonable. As someone who has spent their life petrified of water and unable to swim, I’m finally overcoming my fear and am learning fairly quickly because of the support from my brilliant coach Layth. If you’re thinking of taking the plunge GO FOR IT! And if you’re nervous in the water, ask for Layth, he’s hugely supportive and even though I’m still sometimes scared he manages to make lessons fun and enjoyable!

Daniela Haydar | Google Reviews 

3. Swim for Tri

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Location: Nuffield Shoreditch, 6 Bateman’s Row, London EC2A 3HH, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7247 2998 

Opening hours: Monda: 8:30 AM – 9:30 PM | Tuesday – Wednesday: 2:00 PM – 9:30 PM | Thursday – Friday: 7:15 AM – 9:30 PM | Saturday – Sunday: Open 24 hours 

Website

Swim for Tri is a great place to learn if you want to have a comprehensive swimming experience. Their classes cater to all levels, from beginners to Ironman, plus they have workshops both locally and abroad.

One notable perk of choosing Swim for Tri is their diverse range of courses and sessions, from one-to-one coaching to technique master classes – they even open water skills workshops where students can swim freely in lakes. 

Additionally, their team of coaches has over 50 years of combined experience, which is the kind of expertise we’re looking for. 

The admin team was also fantastic as they make the entire booking process easy – we just wish they responded more promptly to queries. Once you get on board with them though, communication is pretty much seamless. 

Pros

  • Workshops local and abroad
  • Offers open water skills workshops
  • 50 years combined experience 

Cons

  • Slow to respond at times

I’ve known Dan, Keeley and the gang for well over fifteen years now and I still use tips that Dan gave me when I began Openwater swimming! To say their help and advice has absolutely pushed me onwards is an understatement. My husband did a swim session with Keeley to help him with an intro into Openwater swimming and really enjoyed it. If you’re unsure, give these guys a go, they’ve got the knowledge and vast experience to help everyone from beginners to those who think they’ve learnt all there is to know!

Shannon Pearce | Google Reviews

I had a session with Cedric to improve my technique for triathlon. He very quickly identified the weaknesses in my stroke, and set me off on some drills to improve form and timing, using fins so that I didn’t need to worry about propulsion. He took video of me swimming, and emailed that to me afterwards with instructions for the drills so that I can practise myself in training. It was great, and I feel like I now know the right direction to start aiming for my stroke technique.

Chris Burt | Google Reviews

4. Turner Swim 

turner-swim-logo

Location: The Dilly Hotel Spa (formerly Le Méridien, 21 Piccadilly, London W1J 0BH, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7157 9902

Website

One of the things we loved about Turner Swim is that they operate in luxury hotel facilities, which makes the lessons feel more premium. However, that feeling doesn’t exactly translate to price as they’re still a pretty competitive option. 

Their programs are diverse, offering everything from adult one-on-one sessions to overcoming water phobia. They also have programs focused on open water skills for triathletes, as well as Olympic breaststroke programs. 

We also found it convenient that clients can book sessions online up to 4 weeks in advance. However, there were instances where clients felt like they were pressured into getting larger packages unnecessarily. It didn’t happen to us… but it would have annoyed us too if it had.

Still, with highly qualified and experienced instructors, we still have confidence in their skills. Plus, they offer gift vouchers, which is a nice present to a friend or family who also wants to learn. 

Pros

  • Operates in luxury hotel facilities
  • Can book up to 4 weeks in advance
  • Wide range of swimming programs 
  • Easy online booking

Cons

  • Tendency to hard-sell packages 

I booked a few lessons with Alejandro to overcome my water phobia and I exceeded my own expectations by becoming a swimmer and actually learning different swimming techniques. The swimming instructor was very professional, calm and patient with me which I needed to overcome my anxiety. He made sure to provide constructive feedback and a step by step solution to address any issues I had at the time with my swimming. If you have some sort of water phobia or looking to improve your technique, I definitely recommend taking the 1 to 1 lessons with Alejandro.

Ella Yusufzai | Google Reviews

Huge thanks to Josh for getting me through the head-up breast stroke to front crawl course! I’ve always found front crawl really difficult and felt like I was struggling and flailing around in the water, totally exhausted after one length. After five lessons I understand how fluid and efficient it can feel when you’re doing it properly, and it’s extremely satisfying! Josh has plenty of patience, enthusiasm and knows what he’s talking about, and I’ve really enjoyed my lessons. Excited to practise what I’ve learned and I expect to go back for more lessons in the future.

Virginia Clark | Google Reviews 

5. LearnToSwim

learntoswim-logo

Location: Fitness First Cottons Cottons Centre, Tooley St, Bridge, London SE1 2QN, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 7508 178499 

Opening hours: Monday – Thursday: 6:35 AM – 9:35 PM |  Friday: 6:35 AM -8:35 PM | Saturday – Sunday: 8:35 AM – 7:35 PM

Website

LearnToSwim, led by Mark, offers swimming instruction tailored to beginners and experienced swimmers alike. As students often note, Mark is patient and humorous, which actually makes the lessons more casual and enjoyable than strictly methodical.

Apart from this approach, we also liked that students get exclusive use of a 20m lane. We found this helpful for various practical demonstrations, which speed up the learning progress.

Another thing we loved is the set of perks that a lot of schools don’t have. For instance, students can get a 10% discount on all swimming-related products (Nabaji and Olaian by Decathlon).

Booking is also easy thanks to the LearnToSwim which interested students can easily sign up for. It can also be done via the web through Mindbody online.

Pros

  • Exclusive use of a 20m lane
  • 10% discount on certain products
  • Easy online booking via app 

Cons

  • Lack of packages and programs 

 Mark is a great instructor and the lessons are tailored to you. You essentially drive the lessons. He provides a variety to the lesson so it’s not swimming all the time, he gives you the theory which helps you better understand how it works. I’d recommend to anyone who is thinking of doing lessons – regardless of competency, his lessons are suitable for all!

Sindy C | Google Reviews 

I feel very fortunate that I came across Mark as my relationship with swimming has already changed drastically, with only four lessons. Mark is really knowledgeable and enthusiastic about swimming, and really patient. The lessons are all tailored to your goals and needs. It’s super easy to book classes on the dedicated app, and venue itself is great and having a lane to yourself is really helpful. Looking forward to many more lessons and to learning more, and would highly recommend Mark to anyone.

Victoria Stepanova | Google Reviews 

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