“Oh I do like to be beside the seaside…” But what you might not like is the car trip it takes to get there, especially if you live miles inland and your child gets the fidgets when you’re still on the outskirts of town. So how about a visit to an urban beach instead? They are already all the rage on the continent, with cities like Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin leading the way. This summer, a handful of UK cities are dipping their toes into the world of the simulated seaside... We take a look at some of the hippest beaches around:
Cheyenne Spur Beach
July 16–August 31
How about a stack of ribs with a side order of sandcastles? The Cheyenne Spur Steak And Grill at the O2, London, is serving up its own mini beach with a feast of palm trees, deckchairs, beach balls and buckets and spades. And while the white canopy of the O2 might not evoke the same romance as the clear blues of a tropical sky, it does perform the handy function of keeping off the rain. Drop by 12–5pm Mon–Fri and children eat for free.
Paradise In The Park
July 21–August 31
A one-timer holder of the prestigious title European Capital of Culture, Liverpool is a city well-known for its sights and sounds. This summer a new attraction arrives in the form of Paradise In The Park. Situated in city’s Chavasse Park, the beach features a pool, volley ball nets, cafes and fairground rides. Perhaps not paradise in the strictest sense of the term, but mini sand-seekers are bound to love it...
July 24–September 5
Head to Nottingham’s summertime Riviera, located in the Old Market Square, with its beach, deckchairs and a large paddling pool doing the job of a stand-in sea. You can even get your hands on a Nottingham branded stick of rock.
Open from July 20–August 20
Those Parisiennes certainly know how to do things in style… For four weeks every summer, the banks of the Seine are closed to traffic and transformed into the buzzing Paris Plages. As well as sand, sun loungers and glaces galore, there’s a swimming pool, concert stage and lots of activities to try, from pedalo rides to pétanque. Look out too for special workshops for children.
Amsterdam City Beaches
Boasting ten urban beaches, Amsterdam is the sandiest city of them all. Its quirkiest beach has to be the BovenNemo, located on the roof of the city’s Science Centre Nemo (‘boven’ means above in Dutch). Other spots include the Strand West, which boasts panoramic views of the beautiful IJmeer lake, and the Strand Zuid City Beach, sited near the Beatrixpark.
Each year, the banks of the river Spree play host to Berlin’s beach scene, characterized by quaint olde worlde beach huts serving schnitzel and cocktails. If you fancy a dip, head to the enormous Badeschiff, an old barge with a swimming pool built into its deck.