Sex and the City
Who says you can’t hit the beach on a hot, summer’s day in the city? If you’re craving sun, sand and sundowners, head to one of the many urban beaches popping up in cities across the UK – perfect for urbanites who want a dose of beach life without having to venture too far this bank holiday weekend. (Sun unfortunately not guaranteed…this is Blighty after all!)
Camden Beach, London
Want to laze on a deckchair, cocktail in hand, without having to leave Zone 2? Head to Camden Beach at the Roundhouse which gets transformed into a mini seaside getaway for the summer. Think Tiki bars, beach huts, ping pong, ‘end-of-the-pier’ amusements, live music and 150 tonnes of fine white sand to dig your toes into. Open until August 25th.
Nottingham Riviera, Nottingham
Old Market Square has once again transformed into Nottingham’s popular urban beach for the sixth year running. With a giant paddling pool, traditional fun and games and a swinging pirate ship ride, there’s plenty to indulge your childhood nostalgia of family trips to the seaside. If cocktails are calling, there’s a fully-licenced beach bar for when you’re craving that piña colada. Open until September 2nd.
Royal Victoria Beach, London
The up-and-coming Royal Victoria Docks in the skyscraper city of east London is home to the capital’s largest manmade beach, with parasols and deckchairs aplenty for city-dwellers who want to enjoy a spot of yacht-watching (just pretend you’re in Dubai). The area has been transformed into a beach hotspot with 200 tonnes of sand, large enough to park 10 London buses, and you can even have a go at wakeboarding on the river with the Wake Up Docklands team. Open until August 31st.
Cardiff Bay Beach, Cardiff
Roald Dahl Plass in Cardiff has once again been made into a fake beach for the second year running. There’s plenty to keep you occupied from dance competitions to Caribbean beach parties, as well as traditional seaside rides and stalls. For those after a more active day at the beach, Cardiff Bay Beach also has beach buggy rides, volleyball nets and beach rugby on offer. Or you could just go to the real thing and indulge your love of Gavin and Stacey in Barry Island, 10 miles west of the Welsh capital. Tidy. Cardiff Bay Beach is open until August 31st.
City Beach, Leeds
Taking centre stage in Millennium Square is a traditional Ferris Wheel, overlooking the real sand beach, surrounded by boardwalk-style decking, palm trees and deckchairs galore. There are plenty of rides and stalls for all the family, including Bamboo Bungee trampolines, the Tropical Jungle adventure funhouse and a beach slide. Open until August 31st.
Oxford Castle Quarter Beach, Oxford
Oxford may be a perfect spot for ta river punt, but sometimes only a beach will do. Luckily, Oxford's Castle Quarter has once again been filled with 32 tonnes of sand, palm trees, volleyball nets and deckchairs to bring the beach to the city’s historic former gaol and prison. Get building those sand castles! Open until September 15th.
By Sarah Gibbons – travel and lifestyle writer and one half of TheTwoScoops