London's Best Beaches

Chloe Koura
By Chloe Koura Last edited 32 months ago

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London's Best Beaches
Camden Beach, Roundhouse. Photo by Stuart Leech.

The sun is (sometimes) shining, and sand is returning to London's streets in the form of pop-up urban beaches. Here's where to find them:

Camden Beach at Roundhouse

Camden Beach at Roundhouse is back for its fifth 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).

If you don't want sand in your sandals, hire a private beach hut for you and up to seven of your friends. At £375 it's not cheap, but it includes food fresh from the barbecue, alcohol, and a private outdoor space outside the hut.

Camden Beach is open 29 July-29 August.  Entry is free (charge + booking required for beach huts). 5-11pm Monday, noon-11pm Tuesday-Sunday.

Brent Cross is going for the full British seaside experience.

The Beach, Brent Cross

For a proper British seaside experience, (minus the actual seaside,) visit The Beach at Brent Cross. Featuring over 350 tonnes of sand across 2,500 sq metres of beach, it has games, Punch and Judy shows, children's fairground rides, a log flume, roller coaster, and helter skelter slides — this is the closest you're going to get to the real deal. After all, nothing says summer quite like building a sandcastle while the traffic crawls past on the North Circular.

The Beach at Brent Cross is open until 4 September, noon-10pm (and open from 11am at the weekend). Entry is £3 (but rides, food and drink cost extra).

Urban London Beach, Royal Victoria Dock

Soak up the sun overlooking the city's skyline at a new Urban London Beach on the Royal Victoria Dock embankment, under the Cable Car. There's no swimming allowed, but you can try a range of water sports including paddle boarding and sailing; and for those who haven't found their feet in water, there are weekly zumba classes or a bouncy castle. Food from around the globe is available at the weekend from street food stalls.

Urban London Beach, Royal Victoria Dock. 11 July-30 August, 10am-8pm. Free entry.

The Festival of Love Beach, Southbank

Build sandcastles with white sand and gaze across the Thames at The Festival of Love Beach on the Southbank.

Festival of Love Beach, Southbank. Until 14 September, noon-6pm Monday, 10am-6pm Tuesday/Wednesday/Saturday/Sunday, 10am-8pm Friday/Saturday. Free entry.

The beach at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

BeachEast, Stratford

BeachEast boasts 1,000 tons of sand spread over 2,200 sq metres — that's almost the size of two Olympic swimming pools. With two paddling pools, funfair rides, beach bars and a big screen to watch the Olympics, this is a chance to get a feel for Rio, without the plane trip.

BeachEast, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. 23 July-4 September, 10am-10pm. Free entry (but rides cost £2-4)

Brixton Beach Boulevard.

Brixton Beach Boulevard, Brixton

If you want a beach without kids, head to Brixton Beach Boulevard, a rooftop beach with an 80s Miami theme. Watch 80s classics and sporting events on an outdoor screen, or get your groove on with surprise DJ sets and day and night parties.

Brixton Beach Boulevard, Brixton. Until 28 August. 6-11pm Thursday/Friday, 1pm-midnight Saturday, 1pm-11pm Sunday. Entry £5 but free on Thursday and Sunday, free until 7pm on Friday and 4pm on Saturday. There are a limited number of tickets available on the door, but it's best to buy them in advance.

Corona Sunsets, North Greenwich

Party on the beach and watch the sun go down at Corona Sunsets festival in Greenwich. Listen to headline acts Felix Jaehn and Robin Schulz, play beach volleyball and try body painting at this one-day event next to the O2.

Corona Sunsets, Meridian Quays Greenwich Peninsula. 30 July. Entry is £20 - limited number of tickets available on the door.

Know of any other beaches popping up in London over summer? Let us know in the comments below.

Last Updated 07 July 2016