Chelmsford Leisure Plus card

by DannyUK

The Chelmsford Leisure Plus card scheme run by Chelmsford Council is a card that benefits the foodies as will as the fitties.


I’m not right. There is something fundamentally wrong with me. Now. Before people queue up to agree let me quantify that. I am talking about exercise. It disagrees with me. I’m not saying that for effect, either.

Chelmsford Leisure Plus Card - Taken from a review by

Leisure Plus Card Chelmsford

Exercise has, for as long as I can remember, caused migraines and severe tiredness. I get no buzz from it, which many people tell me I should. Although I enjoy playing football (badly) and badminton, the knock on effect is always present.

So it may surprise some that I am writing about the perks of the Chelmsford Leisure Plus card which offers (and I wrote directly from their website) “rewarding healthy and active lifestyles by offering you a fantastic range of benefits at your local leisure centres, theatres and cultural events.”

Although I signed up for the former benefits, it’s the latter ones I’m here to extol now.

The scheme is open both residents and non-residents of Chelmsford City and is available for all ages, and the sporting benefits apply to the four main leisure centres nearby. Namely:

Riverside Ice and Leisure
Chelmsford Sport and Athletics Centre
Dovedale Sports Centre
South Woodham Ferrers Leisure Centre

When using the card at any of these places you can get 1 hour’s free car parking (at Riverside Ice & Leisure Centre) and earn Loyalty points for every £1 you spend at any centre.

Chelmsford Leisure Plus Card - Taken from a review by

The Chelmsford Leisure Plus Card

It also allows you to get advanced booking privileges where you can book activities up to seven days in advance for casual pay and play and up to 10 days in advance for monthly direct debit members. This is especially useful if you play a popular sport, and in my case always ensured I was able to book a badminton court during otherwise busy periods.

It also allows access to the online sports booking and payment system where you can book classes, courses and ice show tickets, as well as getting event booking privileges allowing you to book 24 hours in advance of non-card holders for certain events run by our Cultural Events team including the 3ft People Festival and The Fling.

All of the above is well and good, but what I didn’t realise until recently was that the card also offers discounts in certain local businesses.

For example, at Giraffe, you can get a discount of a whopping 20% off food, which I don’t recall them ever advertising. In fact, after typing up the draft of this blog post, I wrote to them and asked them about it, in particular why it wasn’t advertised in their restaurant.

They replied saying that the discounts offered to certain organisations who in turn communicate it to their members. They go on to state that advertising the offer is out of their control. That seems a bit strange to me, as had I noticed an advert for it in Chelmsford Giraffe then I would have gone back more often, knowing I’d be getting a discount.

25% off at Giraffe - Read the review here.

There’s also a 25% food discount at 59 new street wine bar and restaurant (The one purportedly owned by West Ham players Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll, should rumours be believed)

The discounts aren’t just for food, either. Cycle UK offer a 10% discount, The Strand hair salon offers a 20% discount, Farrell Physiotherapy offer a £5 saving per treatment, Runners World offer a 10% discount off all clothing and footwear, and you can get 10% off certain items at Love Ice Skating.

It’s worth pointing out here that these discounts only apply to Chelmsford stores, and as you’d expect, each company had their own Terms and Conditions which apply.


So how much will this set you back? The answer a few weeks back would have been “not much.”

Unfortunately, as of 1st April 2014 Chelmsford City Council whacked the prices up by over 300% in some cases, though in fairness some of the discounts offered by their local business partners have now been increased, albeit only slightly. Link to prices

The cost for cards today are now:

Under 18’s = £5 Residents / £7.50 Non-Residents
Ages 18-59 = £10 Residents / £15 Non Residents
Over 60’s = £5 Residents / £7.50 Non Residents
Concessionary Groups (See Leisure Plus Categories) £5 Residents / £7.50 Non-Residents

Previously, Under 16s and over 60s were given free cards, and adults aged between 16-59 paid £3 for residents and £6 for non-residents.

The official website states that by using the card you will always save a minimum of £1, and I know that my kids have benefitted from discounted entry to swimming and the soft play area at Kool Kids. They should certainly use the cards at least five times in the year, which will make their money back.

As for adults, even at the new price, you pretty much get your money back if you eat at Giraffe a few times or have your hair cut at The Strand.

I have to admit that I’ve had a card for the past couple of years and have found it extremely handy for the advanced booking options that it offers, as well as occasional reduced local theatre ticket prices. It was only recently that I learnt about the additional discounts available, and I’ve been mentally totting up the amount I could have saved up to now had I known before hand.

Even if you’re not a Chelmsford resident, but visit the city fairly often, the card offers good value. You need to provide proof of ID and proof of address, as well as having your photo taken for the Leisure Centre database, but once that has been done, you are issued with your card immediately and can use it straight away.

The official Chelmsford Leisure Plus Twitter account is here.
The official Chelmsford Leisure Plus Facebook account is here.
The official Chelmsford Leisure Plus website is here.


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