Can’t get away for the weekend but want to feel the breeze in your hair, the sun on your face and the sand between your toes? The Resident rounds up the best urban beaches in London
1 Neverland London
Neverland London brings the tropics to Fulham with a 20-metre white sandy beach, palm trees, pastel painted beach huts, deck chairs, swings and daybeds. The Thameside beach has some great street food traders, including Jimmy’s BBQ and Pizza Shed, and a bar shaking up great cocktails (it’s no longer a BYOB beach). There are also games including shuffleboard, ping pong, beer pong and croquet, and the place really comes alive at weekends, with yoga classes and bottomless brunches. Hire a beach hut and or daybed if you want to make a day of it. Dogs are not only welcome, they’re encouraged! Entry starts at £10.
Albert Wharf, Fulham SW6 2TY; neverlandlondon.com
2 The Lido Cafe
So, OK, The Lido Cafe in Herne Hill doesn’t actually have any sand, but it’s been nicknamed ‘Brixton beach’ since forever, and a drink under the crisp white canopies of the cafe terrace, among the tropical foliage, feels very much like an afternoon by the riviera. The restaurant usually launches a summer menu to make the most of its Mediterranean-esque poolside space in Brockwell Park with cool cocktails, seasonal bites and a BBQ. Try the renowned Longhorn beef burger with house sauce and Gloucester Old Spot bacon, and sip on the Herne Hill Hugo, a delicious mix of elderflower liqueur, Prosecco, soda, lemon and fresh mint.
Brockwell Lido, Dulwich Road SE24 0PA; thelidocafe.co.uk
3 The Beach, Brent Cross
The Beach at Brent Cross Shopping Centre is the ultimate family day if you’re looking for a beach in London. This year it’s back and bigger than ever with more sand, more space and more water. As well as a sandy beach, there are splash pools and over 25 different rides for all ages. The food and drink takes on a British seaside theme, with everything from fish and chips to hotdogs and doughnuts to waffles, as well as Pimms, fresh pineapple cocktails and slushies. Throughout the summer, there will also be World Cup and Wimbledon screenings, plus family fun from circus workshops to Punch & Judy. Open Friday’s from 4pm-9pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12noon-9pm until 2 September. Entry £3 per person.
Prince Charles Drive NW4 3FP; thebeachbrentcross.com
4 Dock Beach, Royal Victoria Docks
The renamed Dock Beach returns to the Royal Docks from 18 July 2018 with new features including a 22-metre alfresco pool on the dock edge, sun deck and children’s paddling pool, as well as a programme of events from pop-up classes and live music to BBQs and film screenings. There’ll be tonnes of sand, perfect for building sandcastles, as well as street food and cocktails. A big screen will be showing family favourites on Saturdays in August, with day screenings for parents and little ones, as well as classic films in the evening for all to enjoy from the comfort of a deckchair. On Fridays evenings throughout August (excluding Friday 3rd), the Mayor of London’s Busk in London programme will fill the air with summer chill-out tunes. Entrance to the beach is free. Open daily from 10am-8pm until 2 September.
1 Siemens Brothers Way E16 1GB; yourdockbeach.com
5 The Montague on the Gardens Beach Bar
One for the grown ups, The Montague on the Gardens Beach Bar is a colourful setting for drinks. The Bahamian beach has real sand, a beach-hut style thatched roof to the tiki bar, a jet ski selfie area, and it serves a bottomless brunch! Every weekend until Sunday 16 September 2018, you can enjoy two hours of bottomless tropical cocktails like Pina Colada and Mimosas. The menu is made up of platters that feature brunch essentials like avocado and smoked salmon on granary toast, black pudding scotch eggs, cheesy fried Camembert with cranberry sauce and an ice cream cone to finish. Brunch takes place in the hotel’s sunny conservatory, but you’ll have full access to the Beach Bar for cocktails.
15 Montague Street WC1B 5BJ; montaguehotel.com
6 Lee Valley White Water Centre Urban Beach
Just beyond the M25, Lee Valley White Water Centre has launched a huge inland urban beach, with thousands of tonnes of white sand, deckchairs, three volleyball courts and one beach football pitch. There’s also an array of water activities on site, from white water rafting on the rapids to Water Wipe Out Splash, a new inflatable obstacle course on the man-made lake. To up the excitement, Beach Volleyball England and Beach Football England will be using the beach as their training base this summer. You can sign up for a membership (£20 per year, £10 for under 18s) which grants you a 25% discount on court/pitch hire and tournament entry.
Station Road, Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire EN9 1AB; gowhitewater.co.uk