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 in summer 2021. Be aware that some venues may still be operating with some restrictions, so check with organisers for the most up-to-date information.
Neverland at Fulham Beach 2021
Neverland at Fulham Beach Club is a sandy beach and food and drink venue right next to the Thames, with beach huts, shacks, sofas and other areas available to book. There's a packed events programme including disco nights, bottomless brunch and drag bingo, and the food menu includes, burgers, tacos and pizzas. Areas need to be booked in advance, starting from £10 hire charge for a table for two.
Neverland at Fulham Beach Club, Wandsworth Bridge Road, SW6 2TY. Open Wednesday-Sunday, until 3 October.
Hampstead Beach at JW3 2021
JW3 Jewish community centre has its own sandy area, going under the moniker Hampstead Beach. It's free entry, with deckchairs, a paddling pool for the kids, and food and drink available to buy on site (bringing your own food isn't allowed, so leave the picnic at home).
Hampstead Beach at JW3, 341-351 Finchley Road, NW3 6ET. 1 July-30 August 2021. Entry is free. No booking required for entry to beach, but special events and activities require booking.
The Beach at Brent Cross 2021
One of London's biggest — and therefore busiest — urban beaches pops up in a car park at Brent Cross shopping centre, bringing it with it rides for adults and kids, family-friendly puppet and magic shows, and food and drink stalls. There's a paddling pool for cooling off (capacity is limited so there may be a queue).
Urban beach at London's Royal Docks 2021
A lido has been set up in the Royal Victoria Dock, along with sandpits, to give the whole place a proper beach vibe. It's for these Kids' Summer Splash sessions, which are free but require booking. Food and drink options are available.
Kids's Summer Splash at Royal Victoria Dock. Until 22 August, booking required.
London's year-round beach: Ruislip Lido
No need to wait for these pop-up beaches to roll out their sun loungers. Ruislip Lido in Hillingdon has a natural beach year-round, as long as you don't mind sharing sand space with swans. There's even a miniature railway to make getting there that bit more fun. Be aware though, that swimming in the lake is always prohibited.
Looking for the real seaside? Check out our guides for the best real sand you can get to on a day trip from London: