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Our little black book of enchanting places


A day at the (urban) beach

Posted in DESTINATIONS By Maggie O' Sullivan

Londoners longing to feel the sand between their toes this summer have several options – and none of them involves sitting in a traffic jam heading for the coast. Here are four of summer’s best urban beaches; three in town and one just outside. Follow with a trip to one of the Capital's growing number of tiki bars.

You’ll have to wait until next month to experience BeachEast (above), the UK’s largest urban beach, which returns to Stratford Waterfront in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic park on 23 July. Featuring 1,000 tons of sand, funfair rides, two beach bars and a children’s paddling pool, BeachEast will also offer a programme of beach activities, including volleyball, football and cricket. Free admission; until 4 September, 10am-10pm.The Beach Bar at Montague on the Gardens hotel will be serving up real sand, palm trees and piña coladas in the heart of Bloomsbury until July 24. A £35 ‘surf pass’ gives you access to the bar, a welcome pineapple or coconut cocktail on arrival followed by a cocktail from the bar's drinks menu, plus a BBQ platter, featuring a mini chicken burger with pineapple relish, seafood skewer, mini fish and chips and an ice cream. 3pm-10pm; booking essential. Every summer The Grove hotel in Hertfordshire transforms its lovely walled garden into an urban beach, with sand, deckchairs and beach volleyball – you can even swim, courtesy of The Grove’s outdoor pool. But you'll have to stay the night – the beach is open to residents and members of its Sequoia Walled Garden club only. The Roundhouse in Camden turns its rooftop terrace into an urban beach every year, with sand (165 tons of it), beach huts, pop up restaurants and bars and, of course, deck chairs. This year there is even a pier (no, we’re not sure how that will work either). Free admission; 5pm-11pm Mon-Tues; noon-11pm Wed-Sun.


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