Girton village website

Focus on The Barn Health and Leisure

Interior view of The Barn Health and Leisure

Fitness centres can be intimidating places, full of high-tech equipment, television screens and insistent music. Girton's version of the genre is called "The Barn Health and Leisure" --and the difference is obvious once you arrive. Having parked your car securely and easily a few yards from the door (where else can you do that outside a similar facility in Cambridge?), you find a calm air-conditioned atmosphere of welcoming wood and glass, beneath a high vaulted roof. An array of fitness equipment does indeed extend before you, but is not overrun with perspiring addicts. A welcoming cup of real tea or coffee is on hand, but no fast-food restaurant and no bar to offset all the benefits of your exercise. In short, The Barn is very "Girton", emphasising health (not brute strength) and leisure (not fanatical fitness).

The Barn opened in 2000 on the Oakington Road, just to the north of the village. It is a modern purpose-built construction on the site of agricultural buildings of the former Camboro Farm. It is run by its director-owner Mike Allan, who previously ran the Cambridge Squash and Fitness Centre on the Histon Road. Having been in leisure management for many years, he saw the need for a distinctive type of health club in Cambridge. So along with The Barn's present General Manager Sean Sallis, he founded a totally-independent club on a greenfield site.

The objectives of The Barn are to provide a friendly, bright, easy-going facility, run to high professional standards, to help its many members maintain and improve their levels of fitness and health. As a private club, they welcome all. Each new member undergoes an assessment, designed to evaluate their individual needs, and to assist the instructor in writing up a personal fitness plan. Re-assessments and programme reviews are then carried out periodically. There is an annual (or optional monthly) subscription and a small joining fee.

Besides a plethora of modern cardio-vascular and resistance fitness equipment of every possible type and purpose, there is a light airy studio for a wide range of classes, a supervised play area for little ones, sauna, sun beds and a steam room. A range of therapies and beauty treatments is available. The Barn is open every day from 6.30 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. and weekends from 8.00 a.m., except for three days at Christmas. Its team of some 12 freelance instructors have a real continuity of service, and are assisted by four full- and five part-timers on office and other duties.

Members of The Barn vary greatly: women outnumber men by about 65% to 35%, but there are many young people and families, as well as a "Fit and 50" group. They are drawn mainly from Girton, Histon, Impington, Oakington, Cottenham, and Longstanton, with others who work in Cambridge and use The Barn on their way to and fro..

In order to prosper in Cambridge which has at least five other fitness centres operated by international firms, The Barn has to offer something special. This it does by its high technical and professional standards, its emphasis on personal service to its clients, its friendly atmosphere, its affordable fees, and its safe non-intimidating atmosphere for all. It is very "Girton".

Address: The Barn Health and Leisure, Oakington Road, Girton, Cambridge CB3 0QH

Telephone: 01223 519548



"Focus on Girton" is a series of occasional articles on the public service, commercial, charitable and other organisations of Girton for the information of local residents. Articles are written independently by members of the Editorial Team of Girton Parish News, with the consent and cooperation of the organisation concerned. They do not in themselves represent an endorsement of the products or services of the organisation. No connection exists between the publication of an article and any advertising in the GPN, and the article does not form part of any marketing or other promotional activity on the part of the organisation.