Summer is coming, the sun is (sometimes) shining, and sand is returning to London's streets in the form of pop-up urban beaches.
Unsurprisingly, Camden Beach at Roundhouse is back for its fourth year; 150 tonnes of sand will grace the venue's terrace, setting the scene for food and drink pop-ups to keep beach goers fed and watered until home time. It's free to visit, although on the hottest days, you might find yourself tussling for towel space with, well, most of the rest of London (unless you're lucky enough to blag yourself a deckchair).
Don't fancy roughing it? Hire a private beach hut for you and your friends. At £250-£350, it's no drop in the ocean, but they do cater for up to eight people, with some food and drink included. Unfortunately for paddlers, the only water on this beach is the hot tub in the Rooftop Gardens — only accessible by private hire.
JW3 Jewish Centre on Finchley Road offers a family-friendly urban beach. The Beach at JW3 officially launches on 12 July (although it's open a week before that, for keen beach goers), with entertainment for the whole family. Deckchairs, games, music and an in-built paddling pool and splash area all take up residence on the sand, and ZEST café bar will be serving up drinks and snacks.
Various activities and events take place while the beach is in situ. Boogie on the Beach invites under fives and their parents to party away to classic beach tunes. For grown ups, there's a ukulele concert, drawing sessions and more. See website for full programme.
But both of these seaside set ups look likely to be trumped by The Beach at Brent Cross, claiming to be London's biggest ever urban beach, and boasting over 250,000 tonnes of sand and 100 palm trees, plus a paddling area. After all, nothing says summer like building a sandcastle while the traffic crawls past on the North Circular.
There is a £3 entry charge, but for that you get the full British seaside experience, with games, Punch and Judy shows, children's fairground rides, a log flume, roller coaster, and one of the last remaining original helter skelter slides (extra charge for the rides). Food and drinks are available to buy,
Camden Beach is open 17 July-23 August. Entry is free (charge + booking required for beach huts). The Beach at JW3 is open 5 July-31 August (closed Saturdays). Entry is free (charge + booking for some events). The Beach at Brent Cross is open daily 10 July-2 September, 12pm-10pm. Entry is £3.
Other urban beaches in London this summer:
- BeachEast at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park boasts one thousand tons of sand spread over 2200 sq metres of Stratford Waterfront beside the Former Olympic Stadium. Entry is free, 11 July-31 August
- The National Trust's Westway Beach is an urban beach underneath the Westway Flyover and the Trellick Tower. Free, from 26 June
- If you're feeling particularly active, there's an Action For Kids Beach Volleyball tournament taking place at Canary Wharf, 6-25 July
Know of any other beaches popping up in London over summer? Let us know in the comments below.