Amie Trewin Hutt

The 7 best barre classes in London

best barre classes london

I love dancing and have always regretted not taking up ballet as a kid, so when I heard about barre fitness classes, I was naturally intrigued. When looking for a class, I realised there is a jungle of barre classes out there and decided I would go all in and try all the most popular ones.

While some of the sessions indeed brought out my inner ballerina, I was very surprised when I realised that a lot of them were lacking the typical, graceful ballet elements I had mind. Nevertheless, they were all great workouts that I would recommend to anyone up for a challenge. If dancing or coordination have never been your forté, do not worry - memorising choreography was never my strong suit either. As long as you copy the teacher’s movements, you will be absolutely fine.

Before you check out the barre classes:

What is Barre Class?

Drawing inspiration from ballet, yoga and pilates, barre fitness class is great for building long, lean leg muscles as well as strengthening your core and improving your balance. Although a low impact workout, the classes are quite intense due to its focus on high reps of a small range of movements. Burn and shake are expected sensations throughout the whole class. 

Each class usually starts with a quick warm up on the mat away from the barre. The warm up often involves using mini dumbbells to warm up those triceps and biceps, alongside a set of pliés to get your legs ready for the barre. It is at the barre the real hard work starts and the shaking begins. Before a yoga-inspired cool-down, some classes also includes a set of core exercises back on the mat.

Are you also new to barre? Read our blog What is Barre Workout and is it effective?

What to wear to Barre Class?

In terms of what to wear, the best items are similar to those you would choose for Pilates: Form-fitting, but comfortable clothes. As barre classes are a low impact workout, a low impact sports bra or crop top under a t-shirt or tank will do. For bottoms, regular workout leggings or yoga shorts are perfect so that your teacher can ensure your technique is on-point. We recommend avoiding leggings with zippers as these might be uncomfortable during floor work.

While trainers are not necessary in barre classes, depending on the studio’s etiquette, grip socks may be required. These help you stay grounded and hold positions for longer without slipping on the mat or the barre. I chose to do the majority of these classes barefoot, but this is really down to personal preference.

Check out our dedicated pilates clothing collection >

Best Barre Classes London

FLY LDN

Fly barre class

@fly_ldn

Class: Barre

The studio:

Although FLY describes themselves as a non-yogi yoga studio and have stripped away the jargon and salt rocks, don’t expect a boring studio: Known for their immersive flow classes with sandy beaches or green mountains projected on the wall, FLY offers a modern studio with a truly premium feel. With spa-inspired wardrobes, free fluffy towels, hair dryers and straighteners, I would come here just for a shower. It is also home to the ClassPass Female Instructor of the Year 2019, so their classes must be pretty good too!

The workout:

Starting with a light warm up to ease your way into the workout, teacher Louise encourages and motivates you through all the reps with a positive energy. Although the session did not feel as intense as some of the other classes, it was a very energetic class and you build up a sweat pretty quickly. The choreography is built around music, so naturally this class involved lots of dance elements. For me, this made the class a lot of fun, so the 45 minutes was over quickly. The equipment used was a pilates ball, hand weights and an elastic band.

  • BEST FOR: All levels
  • ON CLASSPASS? Yes
  • DROP IN PRICE: £17
  • AMENITIES: Showers, towels, lockers, hair dryers, straighteners
  • LOCATIONS: City of London

 

Barrecore Chelsea

barrecore

@barre_core

Class: BarreSIGNATURE

The studio:

Barrecore is a specialised barre studio, founded by celebrity trainer Niki Rein, with various locations around London. Their Chelsea studio is a small, but very chic studio with nice interior and lovely staff. They offer private shower rooms and complimentary towels, which gives you a more premium experience than the average gym wardrobe. My only concern is pre-work sessions, where showers may be high in demand.

The workout:

Being one of the most popular barre studios in London, I had high expectations for this one. Although a great workout with intense leg reps on the barre and a burning core session on the floor, I must say I was hoping for a bit more ballet elements. As the class was quite intense I also wish the music was a bit louder as I usually rely on blasting music when reaching the end of my endurance. However the teacher, Sophie, was encouraging and gets you through the rough 55 minutes surprisingly quickly.

*Grip socks are required.

  • BEST FOR: Anyone wanting to see results quickly and is up for a challenging class.
  • ON CLASSPASS? Yes
  • DROP IN PRICE: £28
  • AMENITIES: Showers, towels, lockers, in-studio shop
  • LOCATIONS: Chelsea, Chiswick, Four Seasons at Park Lane, Hampstead, Islington, Kensington, Mayfair, Moorgate, Notting Hill, Wandsworth and Wimbledon Village

 

Frame King's Cross

frame barre

@moveyourframe

Class: Frame Barre

The studio:

Frame is a fun-driven fitness studio that offers barre classes at each of its 7 locations around London. As soon as you step into Frame and see their fun interior, you know you will have a good time. As this is a bigger studio with a variety of classes, you can expect nice wardrobes, free towels and REN shampoo and shower gels.

The workout:

In comparison to its more boutique counterparts, the Frame Barre class involves lots of dance elements and in my opinion, a bit more fun. After a good warm up, you will be eased into the intensity and be ready to work. The hour goes by quickly and you will have gone through phases of shaking, sweating and stretching. The equipment used during the Frame session are mini dumbbells, ankle weights, pilates ball and elastic bands.

  • BEST FOR: Anyone curious to try barre or who has already had a go at it
  • ON CLASSPASS? Yes
  • DROP IN PRICE: £15
  • AMENITIES: Showers, towels, lockers, in-studio cafe
  • LOCATIONS: Shoreditch, Kings Cross, Victoria, Fitzrovia, Hammersmith, Farringdon

 

Barreworks

barreworks barre

@barreworks

Class: Barreworks Fusion WorkOut

The studio:

Barreworks must be the cutest and most charming barre studio in town. Right as you enter the studio, you cannot but help feeling like a true ballerina. The studio looks like what I picture to be a proper ballerina’s home, with shabby chic interior and lots of ballet posters on the walls. It is a small studio, so unfortunately there are no showers or wardrobes. There is a lounge room though, where you can hang out while waiting for your class to start.

The workout:

The Barreworks Fusion WorkOut is a true fusion between barre and yoga and is the perfect blend of deep stretches and hard work. It is a much softer session than the other barre classes, but you can still expect a challenge. In between each round of shaky legs, a downward dog or one-legged pigeon was very much appreciated. The last five minutes of the class is dedicated to savasana for stillness and complete relaxation. I came out of the class feeling amazing.

  • BEST FOR: Beginners
  • ON CLASSPASS? Yes
  • DROP IN PRICE: £25
  • AMENITIES: None
  • LOCATIONS: Richmond

 

Louisa Drake Method

louisa drake method barre

@louisadrakemethod

Class: LDM Barre

The studio: 

Another boutique fitness studio that offers a variety of classes aiming to sculpt the body and building those long, lean muscles. It is a small independent studio based in the basement of Detox Kitchen in Fitzrovia, so do not expect any wardrobes or shower facilities. Keep this in mind before trying their AM classes.

The workout:

With just the right balance of hard work and restorative stretches, LDM Barre must be my favourite class. I definitely felt like a ballerina with all the plies and graceful arm moves included in the choreography, but also worked up a sweat from the core exercises and leg reps. The class started with a good warm up off the barre to prepare the body for what proved to be a challenging, but fun session. The teacher, Beth, had a positive energy and as this is a small group class (max. 10 per class), she gives you plenty of attention to check your posture and technique. The equipment used in the LDM Barre class included elastic bands, mini dumbbells and pilates ball.

  • BEST FOR: Beginners who are not scared of a challenge , but also great for those on a more advanced level
  • ON CLASSPASS? Yes
  • DROP IN PRICE: £18
  • AMENITIES: None
  • LOCATIONS: Fitzrovia

 

Paola's Body Barre Fulham

@paolasbodybarre

Class: PBB Signature

The studio:

A boutique barre studio, Paola’s Body Barre has one permanent studio in London, but also offers classes at Flex Chelsea and KXU. Although they have made an effort with the interior in the studio, the barre felt very loose, which was at times a bit distracting during the session. They do offer a shower room, but have no proper wardrobes, towels or hair dryers. Again, not ideal for pre-work workouts!

The workout:

The PBB Signature class is a fusion of ballet, yoga and pilates, but similarly to Barrecore, I was missing some of the typical ballet elements. I saw a more resemblance between this class and a dynamic pilates class than the other barre classes I attended. In addition to the regular barre equipment, this class also uses the Magic Circle, which is often used in pilates classes. Although a low impact workout, this is a seriously tough session with high intensity. Expect to feel the sweat and burn from the first exercise as this is quite a challenging class. They promise long, lean muscles after just three to four sessions - I do not doubt it!

  • BEST FOR: Anyone who loves a challenge and already has some experience with barre or pilates
  • ON CLASSPASS? Yes
  • DROP IN PRICE: £28
  • AMENITIES: One shower, sweat towels, free bottles of water
  • LOCATIONS: PBB Fulham, a range of affiliated studios in London, Sweaty betty and KXU and at Private Members' Clubs , KX Gym Kensington and the South Kensington Club

 

PSYCLE

psycle barre

 @psyclelondon

Class: Psycle Barre

The studio:

Psycle is a premium boutique fitness studio with 3 locations around London. Although known as London’s best spin studio, Psycle also offers strength, yoga and barre classes. While the reception and wardrobes are light and airy with a modern feel, the actual studio is completely dark with neon lights offering an immersive experience. Don’t forget to order your post-workout smoothie from one of their two(!) in-studio cafes. If you order it before the session, it will be ready for you when you are done!

The workout:

Although another amazing workout, I was again a bit disappointed by the lack of ballet elements in Psycle’s barre class. While the equipment used were the same as the other classes, small weighted balls, elastic rope and pilates ball, I was hoping for more plies and pointed feet. I must say though, out of all the most challenging classes, this was the easiest one to push through with the dimmed lighting and their killer playlist. And of course, let’s not forget about the teacher Rebecca, who motivates you through to end with endless energy.

  • BEST FOR: All levels, but expect a challenge
  • ON CLASSPASS? No
  • DROP IN PRICE: £22
  • AMENITIES: Showers, towels, hair dryers, in-studio cafes
  • LOCATIONS: Mortimer Street, Canary Wharf and Shoreditch

Also read our Psycle Spin Class Review >

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