The sun has been blazing recently and while Londoners can generally be smug every other time of the year, when it comes to hitting the beach, virtually every other part of the country is better catered for. But there are options when it comes to finding a beach in London – you just need to know where to look! With that in mind, here’s where to find a beach in London this summer…
Beach Pop-Ups in London for Summer 2018
Urban Beach at London’s Royal Docks
Address: 1 Siemens Brothers Way, E16 1GB.
Nearest Tube: Canning Town
Pop-ups are always going to be your best bet when it comes to beaches in London, and while a few regulars aren’t returning in 2018 for various reasons, there are still some decent artificial golden sands to be sampled. The best of which is usually the Urban Beach at London’s Royal Docks. Every summer, hundreds of tonnes of sand transform a patch of the Docks into a huge beach, complete with deckchairs and bucket & spades. Perfect for the family, Urban Beach offers views of the Thames as well as the Emirates Air Line gliding above you. Entrance is usually free and there’s a waterside café when the sun gets a little too hot and you need some refreshments.
Neverland at Fulham Beach Club
Address: Wandsworth Bridge Road, SW6 2TY.
Nearest Station: Wandsworth Town
But if you can’t wait until the height of summer and need your sand fix now, head down to Wandsworth where Neverland London have taken over Fulham Beach Club. Tucked away by the Thames, the pop-up venue features everything you’d need from a day in the sun with the likes of Jimmy Garcia’s BBQ Club pop up restaurant, two bars, and live DJs. Throughout the summer, Fulham Beach Club will also be hosting various events, including Sunday bottomless brunches, yoga sessions on the beach, cocktail masterclasses, glitter artists and sand sculpting.
Hampstead Beach at JW3
Address: JW3, 341-351 Finchley Road, NW3 6ET.
Nearest Station: Finchley Road & Frognal
Summer will once again be returning to North-West London later in the year when JW3 open their doors to Hampstead Beach. Aimed at ‘young professionals’ in their 20s and 30s, Hampstead Beach will contain golden sands, good food and thirst quenching cocktails to get you in the mood for long summer evenings. Entry is free and there’s always a whole load of special events pencilled in too.
Permanent Beaches in London for Summer 2018
Address: Reservoir Road, HA4 7TX.
Nearest Tube: Northwood Hills
But believe it or not, there is actually a proper beach located in London where the only thing that’s artificial is the food colouring in the ice cream! Ruislip Lido in Hillingdon has a natural beach all year-round, and as long as you don’t mind sharing the space with some often aggressive swans, there’s a load to do around the 60 acre lake. Ruislip Woods National Nature Reserve itself is also home to various wildlife, as well as a giant play area and even a mini gauge railway, making it ideal for a family day out.
Beach Exhibitions in London for Summer 2018
The Great British Seaside Exhibition
Address: National Maritime Museum, Park Row, SE10 9NF.
Nearest Station: Maze Hill
But if you can’t make it that far west, the National Maritime Museum is hosting The Great British Seaside exhibition all summer long. From the abandoned piers to the dazzling arcades, celebrate the British seaside through the lenses of Britain’s most popular photographers, such as Tony Ray-Jones, David Hurn, Simon Roberts and new work by Martin Parr. Featuring over 100 photographs, the exhibition showcases a great British tradition in all its glory.
Nearest Beaches Outside London for Summer 2018
Though pop-ups are a great short term fix, getting out of the city is often a great way of recharging the batteries. And heading to the coast is really a no brainer when the sun is shining – especially given there are a plethora of options just one hour away on the train. For us, your best bet is Brighton. The beaches might not be conducive to a game of cricket thanks to the shingle, but the town is loud, picturesque, and bursting with culture. If it’s usual seaside fodder you’re after, there’s the refurbished pier, fun fairs and arcades, while excellent cafes, bars and shopping opportunities keep you occupied if you need to step out of the sun.
For something truly quintessentially British, look no further than Southend-on-Sea. With seven miles of coastline and good train connections from London Liverpool Street, Southend is a favourite beachside haunt among families thanks to its unapologetic seaside attractions and large beaches. Famed for its Pier, which stretches 1.33 miles from the shoreline out into the Thames Estuary and is the longest leisure pier in the world, Southend has a thriving cultural scene with museums, historic houses and a range of art spaces. Events and festivals also run throughout the year with music, dance, ships and puppets all featuring across various venues.
For more summer inspiration, check out our complete guide to alternative festivals in the UK 2018.