There are baby/ toddler swimming sessions at Peckham Pulse, not sure exactly when but the pool is lovely. It gets really busy on Sundays though. There used to be baby swimming lessons there run by Aquababies but for some reason they have stopped now. Aquababies do have lessons running somewhere near Greenwich I think - it's on their website.
'Sure Start' West Bermondsey are organising baby swimming (lessons ?) at a Youth Centre on Druid Street in the near future. You have to live in the West Bermondsey area, roughly between Tower Bridge Rd and Borough High St I think. The contact is Alison on 020 7407 2586.
No there is not a swimming pool at E&C that close down several years ago cos the roof was falling in, and various other reasons that meant the health and saftey executive shut it down on the spot.
I find it apalling that an area with the population of SE1 is without a public swimming pool. My sons school was critized by ofsted for not providing swimming lessons which are part of the nat curriculum. As have other schools. It seems a bit unfair. They now take them to rotherhithe but that takes quite a chunk out of the school day and ofcourse the transport issue is a drain on the funds. Some school can't even do this becuase the demand is so high there is not enough time for the Rotherhithe pool to fit in all the school that want lessons!
I can highly recommend the adult&child swim courses at Peckham Pulse, though they are a bit expensive: 33 pounds for a set of 5 classes. Fater that one should have enough confidence for jellybabies. More info is on http://www.fusion-lifestyle.com
By the way, getting there with a pram/pushchair is ok by bus, e.g. 78 from Tower Bridge Road, or 343 from London Bridge. Peckham Rye train station unfortunately has stairs.
Alternatives to the West are the Latchmere Leisure Centre in Battersea, heartland of nappy valley, which runs a whole range of swimming and other (ballet etc) classes. Its on the 344 route. (Get off by the Latchmere pub.) Swiming teaching is good and they certainly used to do baby swimming. They also do crash courses in the holidays.
Or the Queen Mother near Victoria which again is popular. Plenty of my friends recommend Peckham, and a few use a pool in Dulwich (Dulwich baths?) which I think has something other than chlorine in the water - useful for babies with exzema. Others use a pool at Clapham Manor. For children of about five plus there are swimming clubs, including the South West Swimming Club, which operate mainly by using school swimming pools in the evenings.
We are supposed to be getting a pool behind LWT, but the last I heard it was going to be a 25 meter lap pool. No use for kids. Hmmm. Much better to reinstate the Elephant pool - but I suspect kids don't really come into the equation.
The Lidos (Tooting and Brockwell) are also great and one of the best features of summer in the city with kids.
I take my daughter to baby swimming classes at Guy's Hospital hydrotherapy pool. These are proper supervised sessions lasting 1/2 hour with an excellent instructor, James Munday. The sessions are for small groups of children of similar proficiency (no more than 7).
I was unhappy with some baby swimming sessions in pools which were just glorified baths: the water is warmer and you are left to get on with it. With James Munday, there is a real project (ensuring that your child does not drown - water safety is paramount), and a progression towards that goal.
Jamers Munday can be contacted on 020 72372110 and 0795 219645. His e-mail address is [email protected]