Arabian gym, Bletchley leisure centre
Arabian School of Gymnastics is a not for profit charity located in Bletchley Leisure Centre in Milton Keynes. They do a a number of different classes and have gymnasts that compete in the UK and overseas. The classes include a baby and toddler class. As I write this, my two sons and four and two, but I’ve actually been taking them to that class sporadically since they were very little. It’s for children up to the age of five and they do pay as you go sessions throughout the week. Watch our video below and then continue reading for more information.
What is Arabian gym?
Arabian gym is a gymnastics hall with lots of equipment housed in Bletchley Leisure Centre. Throughout the week it’s used for lots of different classes. We have frequently visited over the last four years to go to the baby and toddler ones. In the sessions the children can use the equioment that’s normally in there like the balance beams, bars, springboards and long trampoline as well as a bouncy castle and baby and toddler toys. It’s a good size in that there’s enough for children to enjoy, but you can see them at all times. Unlike some of the purpose built soft play places you won’t lose them and don’t have to worry about chasing them up a big climbing frame.
How much does Arabian gym cost and where is it?
We last visited in December 2017. It’s not open all day every day but specific timed sessions run at different times throughout the week apart from Saturdays. I’d advise you to check their website for all of the up to date opening days and times in case it’s changed since we went. But just to give you an indication when we visited it was open Monday to Friday 9.30am – 11.45am. Classes are not on a Monday afternoon but do run Tues – Fri 1pm – 2.30pm. It’s NOT OPEN ON A SATURDAY but there is a class which runs Sundays 10am – 12pm. Do check though before travelling. It’s in Bletchley Leisure Centre MK2 2HQ. It’s free to park in the multi-storey car park – watch for the 30mph speed camera only a short distance away. Since we visited the cost has increased, and when I last checked in August 2018 the price was Adults £1, Non-crawler £2.50, Crawler £3.50, Walker £5, Sibling £7.
What do we most like about Arabian gym?
‘There are number of things that as a parent I’ve always liked about Arabian gym. It’s a good place to meet with friends if you have young children or babies because you don’t have the worry of much older children running around – even during the school holidays. If you have more than one child under five then it would suit both a baby – because of the soft floor and toys – and a toddler who has the freedom to run around but you can still keep an eye on them. It’s not as expensive as the bigger soft plays so is much more affordable to go to more often. You also pay as you go, which is handy when you have a baby as you may not want to book a block of classes and can simply dip in and out. Also the session is long enough so that if you don’t make the start of it then there’s still enough time to have a run around. As my boys get older what they most enjoy about it keeps changing. They both currently love the really long trampoline. My eldest enjoys swinging on the bars. My youngest likes the bouncy castle. But as babies enjoyed the toys that are scattered on the floor.
Anything disadvantages to Arabian gym?
I’d say like most places that have classes suitable for babies, the baby toys could do with updating every so often given the amount of children that play with them. I wouldn’t say it’s a disadvantage specifically but do be aware that this isn’t the kind of place you can sit with a drink around the edge of the room. Food and drink is not allowed – you have to go into the changing room to eat. Classes are on at set times so it’s not somewhere you can just go on a whim. Older siblings above the age of 5 are not allowed even in the holidays. They do other classes for older children at other times.
What else do we need to know about Arabian gym?
They have a changing room where you leave coats, shoes and bags. I’d suggest that you take any valuables with you into the gym itself – I tend to wear a small over the shoulder bag. They do a raffle, so you’ll be given a free ticket to win a small prize. Half way through they do songs. It’s always ‘sticks up high’ with sticks – sometimes we’ve been and they do more songs although on our most recent visit they didn’t. There’s a bubble machine that goes on after the songs – it doesn’t release a huge amount of bubbles. You have to sign a form if you want to take pictures of your children whilst you’re there. If you fancy a coffee with friends after the session then there’s a cafe next to the swimming pool. And lastly please don’t be fooled by my pictures, it can get busy there. I took these during a quiet session over the festive period and I generally take them at an angle so it’s just the equipment that is featured.
I'm Laura, mum of two boys - aged five and three. I started this website at the end of Sept 2015 whilst on maternity leave. I now work four days a week and do this blog late at night once the little boys are sleeping. It's won several awards over the last three years and I continue to run it for free and mostly focus on free, cheap, and good value days out. Do drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to contact me. Don't forget to follow all of our latest adventures on facebook, instagram and twitter and have a look at all of the videos of the places we visit on my new Milton Keynes Kids YouTube Channel - subscribe to it for notifications every time I add a new place. And remember... you may been reading this post months after we visited, do check with the destination you're visiting for up to date opening times and prices. If you find this blog useful then please do comment on my posts and leave me a Facebook review - it makes doing this all the more worthwhile.