It's big, slap bang in the middle of Manchester's biggest student area and adjacent to Oxford Road: Manchester Aquatics Centre seems all you need for a day or night of water aerobics.
It's cheap too: £3.10 to use the huge indoor pool, which is split into four lanes. Opposite the main pool is the smaller diving pool which has four diving boards for tentative jumpers and more practised divers. It's fun to watch others pirouette, plunge, and effortlessly dive into the deep blue, and if you're brave enough you are welcome to have a go.
If diving isn't your thing, however, and after a few lengths (trust me it's tiring) you're a little breathless, why not relax in the health spa area. Equipped with two saunas, a steam room, jacuzzi, and loungers, the spa area is a little bit of heaven.
Beware of visiting at busy times though because the steam room is especially packed. We even saw a man sitting on the floor because he was so keen on the steam room effect (not recommended). The main pool is also a bit crowded at times and many swimmers decidedly ignored the swim-lane directions (which was quite annoying when you're doing backstroke).
Swimming in the zone
If you're visiting with little ones they also have a shallow children's pool complete with two large slides, a mini slide and rocking water elephant. Children love swimming; it's fun, easy, and a great way of getting them to exercise without even realising it. There's an upstairs gym too, so don't be fooled by the centre's title. The gym is fully equipped so you can have an all body workout.
Overall it's great value for money, especially considering the cost of swimming at private health clubs is between £10 and £15 for non-members.
Membership is available from £25 and children's swimming lessons from £14.50 per month.