The beach is the one thing our wonderful city is missing. Or is it? Whilst not exactly comparable to a Greek island, there are actually a number of sandy beaches in London you can pedal to. They make for a perfect day out with family or friends.
You’ll need to get exploring these spots now as they are generally only open in late July, August and the first few weeks of September. Check the relevant sites for details.
I’ll round up the options and then share a potential route that takes in a selection of them.
- Camden Beach at the Roundhouse – the first spot that comes to my mind is the Roundhouse beach in Camden. Set upstairs in the outdoor area of the Roundhouse this features live performances, beer and plenty of mingling with the Camden crowd.
- Royal Victoria Beach – If you think size matters, then head to London’s largest beach – over 200 tonnes of sand have been used here to create a large space for kids to play and grown ups to enjoy the entertainment. Lookout for the jazz nights. There’s also a bar and a watersport centre nearby. Also, while you are in this part of town, give the Emirates Air Line a ride and take a trip to Greenwich. The views are stunning, especially during a clear sky sunset.
- Gabriel’s Wharf South Bank beach – You’ll remember this spot. It’s where the sand sculptors go to work and tourists gawp at their creations. This is London’s most natural beach and visible when the tide is low.
- Sandy Neighbourhood near Southbank Center – every year Southbank is the place to go in the summer. There’s always plenty of entertainment here and there’s even a small sandy beach for kids to play.
- Ruislip lido – a little known reservoir with an artificial sandy beach can be found in the borough of Hillington. You’ll find a cafe, changing rooms, miniature railways and children’s playground as well as water sports activities. It’ll be a little far for most to reach, but certainly worth it on a weekend.
- Bishop’s Park – the Edwardians in 1903 were the first to experience the joys of the sandy beach in Bishops park and now, thanks to a restoration that took place in 2012, you can too! When the sun is out, grab your bike, sunglasses and a good book and slip in to full holiday mode.
If you’d like to sample the Camden Beach, South Bank Beach, Sandy Neighbourhood and Royal Victoria Beach, then take a look at this cycle route I’ve plotted out!
It’s a decent ride at 11 miles long, but you can pick and choose the part of the route that interests you most. At a very leisurely pace the whole route would take you around an hour and 10 minutes to ride.
The route follows mostly back roads that are friendly to cyclists, with little traffic. However, there are some inevitable busy sections.
I’ve also included in the route the new Better Bankside “Pink pitstop” which is a new free to use bike pump and cycle service station near Southwark Bridge.
How to follow this route – Map & GPS
You can find a Google map of this route here. This can be loaded up directly in your Google Maps on Android. On iPhone or other GPS devices you’ll need the GPS coordinates. These can be found here. These GPS coordinates can be imported in to to iPhone apps such as CycleMeter by sending yourself the file in an email, as an attachment, and opening it inside the app.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.