Virgin Active Debuts Revamped Wimbledon Club

Virgin Active

Virgin Active opened the doors to its new London flagship club in Wimbledon.

What’s happening: On completing phase one of its £15M UK network revamp, Virgin Active launched its new 2,575-square-metre London flagship in Wimbledon. Leaning into holistic health, the £3M club development was redesigned around movement, nutrition, recovery and rest.

Strength sells. Catering to demand for strength training, Virgin Active bulked up its fitness floor with 10 lifting stations while significantly cutting back on cardio equipment.

A “progression zone” for those new to or intimidated by training offers lighter weights and space for PT sessions. Plus, group barbell classes and a Teen Lift Club, coming later this year, aim to accommodate women and youth members.

Stretch and sculpt. Embracing trends in mindful movement and low-impact exercise, members’ demand for Reformer Pilates is “killing off” mat work, resulting in a 16-machine studio. Chain-wide, 13 locations run 60 Reformer classes a week, with additional clubs following suit.

Well-rounded. Thinking holistically, Wimbledon’s Kauai Café offers nutritious meals, with the concept slated to roll out across the UK network. In aquatics, a 20m indoor pool, steam room, sauna and spa add to the amenities.

Meanwhile, a meditative sound bath class has seen waiting lists grow “off the charts”, signalling soaring interest in mind + body programming.

Matt Harras, Virgin Active’s UK Head of Fitness, said the gym chain’s business model had to shift to deliver a “broader wellness requirement”:

“Our members are becoming more educated about holistic health, and we have to be able to offer that. We’ve moved away from the ‘no pain, no gain’ type of approach.”

Coming soon. Out of 32 clubs, Wimbledon, Wandsworth, Swiss Cottage, Clapham and Notting Hill are complete. Phase two will target Sheffield, Nottingham, Bromley, Northampton Coventry and Northampton Riverside Park by mid-November, plus more in 2024.

Takeaway: Virgin Active is joining the ranks of clubs like Gymbox and Third Space catering to consumers’ changing wellness needs. Members are speaking up and – as Virgin Active’s 16% increase in UK membership this year shows – the smartest operators will listen.

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