If you can’t get the city dweller to the seaside, bring the seaside to the city: here are our top five recommendations for city beaches in London this summer.


The former London 2012 Olympics site just keeps on giving. This is the UK’s largest city beach at 2,200m2, located at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London. This year’s beach will have a distinctly Rio vibe in honour of the Rio 2016 Olympics. As well as sandcastle building competitions, beach volleyball, seaside snacks and beach bars, a huge screen will be the place to watch the Olympics from 6 to 21 August. The beach is open from 23 July to 4 September, from 10am every day, with a £2 entry fee for adults.

Website: BeachEast at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

CopaCABANA at Southbank

The annual pop-up beach along the banks of the River Thames, next to the Southbank Centre, is another Brazilian themed affair this year. Think 85 tonnes of white sand, a Brazilian barbeque with food by Cabana, and Caipirinha cocktails served from Rio-inspired lifeguard towers. Brazilian street food includes chicken Coxinhas, Malagueta chicken skewers and grilled halloumi. This city beach is open to the public free of charge until the end of September.

Photo by Belinda Lawley city beach

Photo by Belinda Lawley

Website: CopaCABANA at Southbank 

Urban London Beach

This stretch of sand offers the location nearest to the water of all of London’s city beaches, and offers fabulous views of the cityscape. Found in the shadow of the Emirates Air Line, this is the place to kick back on a deck chair, build sandcastles and chill out with the sand between your toes. Urban London Beach is open to the public free of charge until 11 August.

Website: Urban London Beach

Brixton Beach Boulevard

Running every weekend over the summer, this rooftop beach has a gritty, urban feeling and is all about fun-packed daytime parties. Think retro cocktails, pop-up food stands and vintage film screenings set to the backdrop of live DJ sets. This urban beach attracts a lively crowd, so be prepared to join in and party from urban heights. Brixton Beach Boulevard is on until 28 August and costs upwards of £4 to get in, depending on the events going on during each particular weekend.

Website: Brixton Beach Boulevard 

Camden Beach

This beach retreat at the iconic Camden Roundhouse is an amazing spot to enjoy beach barbecues, themed events and live music from established and emerging bands. Sponsored by Virgin Holidays, the idea is to bring the flavour of Barbados to the venue throughout London’s summertime. The city beach is free to the public from 29 July to 23 August, but those feeling flush can hire beach huts for £375 + fees. The huts are big enough for eight people, who also benefit from a queue jump, cushioned seating, prosecco and lager to get you started, food from the barbecue and popcorn.

Photo by Stuart Leech city beach

Photo by Stuart Leech

Website: Camden Beach 

Carl Goes London

Carl Goes London is the city guide for curious and creative people who want to become a citizen of London for the duration of their stay, whether it’s for three days, three weeks or three months.

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