“ Address: Beau Sejour Leisure Centre / Amherst / St Peter Port / Guernsey / Channel Islands / GY1 2DL „
Beau Sejour Leisure Centre is Guernseys only community leisure centre. It is visited by hundreds of islanders each day to use the high quality facilities which include a gym, swimming pool, meeting and conference rooms and many clubs.
Beau Sejour was first opened on the 11th December 1976 by the Bailiff Sir John Loveridge. It was built after the president of the Guernsey Sport Council, Bill Robilliard, pressured the states into creating a leisure centre. Something the island didn't have. In 2001 Beau Sejour was upgraded with some new parts being built.
On arrival at Beau Sejour you won't miss it. When it was upgraded in 2001 they also decided to paint it an awfully bright orange colour, as you can see above. As you walk up the slope to the entrance their are rows of beautiful flowers. This entrance is easily accessible, especially if you have children in a push chair or a wheel chair. From the car park you can see a sign which directs you to the entrance but this is the old entrance which is rarely in use any more. If you couldn't find your way you could just head to the orange wall, that's hard to miss!
When you first enter Beau Sejour you will see a large entrance area. There are round benches right in the middle which is a nice place to sit if you are waiting for someone or if you need to get something out of your bag. There are four vending machines just inside the door in case you need a little snack. I usually buy something from there if I have been swimming. They are reguarly refilled and have a variety of chocolate, crisps and bottled drinks, mostly unhealthy but there is water.
Also in the main entrance is the reception. These are very friendly staff who will help you to find what you would like to do and where you can pay for the activities you will be taking part in. At the reception you can also buy swimming hats, goggles and other accessories you may need.
The next thing noticable after entering Beau Sejour is the cafe and bar. Parks Cafe and Bar is always busy. There are lots of tables which allow you to watch people swimming as well as see the main entrance. When Beau Sejour first had the cafe in the new position people weren't keen on the idea of people in the cafe watching them swim but they soon got used to it and now people like to sit in the cafe for this reason.
The cafe and bar are seperated with the bar being enclosed away from the cafe. The cafe sells cakes, biscuits, crisps, fruit and bottled or canned drinks. They sell mostly snack items whilst the bar allows you to have a full meal. I have eaten in both the cafe and bar and they sell delicious food. The bar has a variety of wines and beers to drink as well. There is free WiFi available from this area, very useful.
If you are a regular in the cafe and bar you can ask for a loyalty card to earn yourself a free tea or coffee. I am not loyal enough to bother getting one though.
The cafe and bar have comfortable chairs and are always clean and hygenic. The have a colour scheme of blue and green in the cafe which ties in with the colours of the swimming pool whilst the bar has browns and natural colours. This keeps them different from each other and is a nice look.
On the left of the entrance is the theatre. This has a rather large stage for any shows, these are mostly local shows or dance companies as no major shows or musicals ever bother to come to Guernsey on there tours. This is frustrating as we either have to go to the UK or Jersey and then we have to pay for travel and accommodation as we can never get back on the same day.
The theatre can seat 400 people and has comfy seats and air conditioning for those hot days. The orchestra pit can be seen just in front of the stage. I have visited the theatre a few times to see pantomimes but i much prefer to see proper shows in the UK.
At Christmas the theatre always has a pantomime from GADOC (a local acting group), this usually runs though December until early January. A few years ago I saw Jack and the Beanstalk.
Currently the theatre is being used for the local Eisteddfod. This is when people compete to win prizes for singing, dancing, baking, crafts etc. A lot of schools and pre schools participate in this as well as individuals from local clubs. It is nice to see local talents and everyone coming together as a community.
Downstairs, on what used to be the main entrance is the concourse. This area has a small bar which is used for intervals of any shows. They are generally only open at this time and when they are open its very busy.
On either sides of the concourse are two halls, the David Ferguson Hall and the Sir John Loveridge Hall (the man who first opened Beau Sejour). These halls are used for events, shows, concerts, exhibititions. The David Ferguson Hall is used for medium sized events and can seat 800 people whilst the Sir John Loveridge hall is used for large events seating 1600 people. Often both halls are open at the same time.
Local events which take place in these halls are the Careers Show, the Arts and Crafts exhibition, the Home and Lifestyle exhibition and again the Eisteddfodd. These are always popular among people and require an entrance fee. If you enter through the lift rather than the stairs you can usually avoid this though.
The Sir John Loveridge Hall is also used as the main sports hall. It is split into three when not being used for an event and is used for basketball, badmington, tennis and other similar sports. Some childrens clubs also meet in here with large soft play equipment. Upstairs is a viewing area which you can watch over the Sir John Loveridge Hall.
Outside on the park around Beau Sejour are two football pitches which are used for local games or any visitors to the park, two tennis or netball courts which are flood lighted for use at any time and a bowling green. This is often used for bowling clubs.
Inside are specially made squash courts, these are completely enclosed and saves viewers being hit by a ball. Phew.
These sports facilities are often used but more by clubs than individuals.
The gym is upstairs (you are exercising before you even get there!) and has over 70 pieces of equipment. I would name them but i have no idea what there called, I try to avoid the gym! I visited the gym as part of PE in school and I hated it as I don't like to exercise. The one thing it did like about going was being able to watch This Morning on the large flat screen televisions. There are ten of these.
If you are on the treadmill, the only one i can name, you are right in front of a large window. This gives a lovely view of outside and the entrance below. Not so nice for everyone else to be watching you though. I have never attempted one of these though.
At the back of the Gym is a spinning room and a fitness studio. These have over 60 classes a week by qualified members of staff, only for over 14s. These include boxercise, zumba, belly dancing, circuit training and many more. There is also a sauna, steam room and spa pool for use.
The changing rooms are for anyone using the gym and have lockers which require a 50p coin. They are always kept clean and hygenic.
The last facility is the one which is used most by islanders, the swimming pool. This is the only public pool on the island. It has two pools, one large pool with 6 lanes of 25 metres and one small pool of ten metres. The small pool is always warmer as it is aimed for children or those learning to swim. A lot of people go into the big pool first and then go into the small pool after as it seems a lot warmer.
The small pool is 1 metre at its deepest and usually full of children. The lagre pool is very deep, i can't even stand on the bottom, and has two flumes which go into it.
Children under eight must be accompanied by an adult at all times. The swimming pool is always clean and hygenic, as are the toilets and changing rooms. If they ever feel the pool is dirty or if a child has had an accident in it they will close the pool and clean it out completely.
The changing rooms have a lot of cubicles, but there is still never enough. There are white cubicles dedicated to parents and children and disabled. Occasionally these will be used by families as they are bigger than the rest.
Each changing room has a bench and a hook on the door. It can often be slippy on the floor because of the amount of people who walk through all the time. There is only one changing room for both genders but there are toilets inside the changing rooms if you want a little more privacy.
The changing rooms have lockers which require 50p to shut and the key is on a bracelet. Inside the ladies toilets are two hairdryers. This is really useful as it saves you getting a wet top.
The swimming pool is usually closed on a Friday afternoon in term time as they have a Swim School for children. These sessions are split into groups of ability and children can earn badges and certificates. I used to go as a child and found it great fun.
The pool is also used for AquaFit for some exercise in the water. There is a viewing area over the pool which is great for parents when children are at swim school. This is also where badges and certificates are collected, you do have to pay for them though.
The pool is closed at some stages for the Swimarathon which happens every year. This is a local swimming competiton where schools and swimming clubs compete.
Other activities for children are Kiddykapers, a club for little children, holiday clubs, for child care during the main school holidays (not half term) and Creche, a place for your child to play and be looked after whilst you go to the Gym or anywhere else in the building.
Outside is a childrens park called Cambridge Park. This used to be two parks but now there is a skateboard ramp instead. It provides lots of fun for children whatever the weather.
A membership card can be bought which saves money on the leisure activities offered. I used to have one of these and it was well worth it. As I dont visit as frequently now I havent bothered to renew it.
Beau Sejour is open daily from 7am to 11pm (10pm on a Sunday) but not all activities are open at the same times.
It is a fantastic leisure centre which has something for everyone. Beau Sejour means beautiful view in french and if you look out from the car park you can see a beautiful view of the island below.