Urban Beach, Royal Docks

What’s the score?

As the name suggests – a little beach in one of the docks!

A pop-up urban beach open during July and August in Royal Victoria Dock. With a sandy beach area, deck chairs, a refreshments hut, a large paddling pool and a ‘swimming pool’, this has everything you need to feel beside the seaside in the East End.

Tell me more…

This is London’s largest urban beach, but being out in Docklands it avoids the crowds of Central London and has a totally surreal vibe – at once peaceful and industrial, contemporary and heritage. Be warned it does get busy so if possible visit during the week.

Register with NOWCA to get a wrist band and use the swimming pool area for free. The dock is fed with water from the estuary rather than the Thames River and water quality tests register consistently higher than national average so this is a great place for East Enders to try out open water swimming.

The Royal London Docks are undergoing a bit of a re-brand so this is a fascinating time to visit. Right next to the Urban Beach you’ll find the Crystal (exhibition area and cafe), Wake Up Docklands (wakeboarding), Open Water Swimming (all year round), Royal Docks Adventure (watersports), the Emirates Air Line and the Oiler Bar.

Great for …

  • lounging in a deck chair
  • ‘wild’ swimming
  • building sandcastles
  • sundowners (come back in the evening without the kids!)

Facilities …

  • Public toilets
  • A hut selling drinks and snacks operates at the beach
  • Free deckchairs
  • Cafe in the Crystal (2 minutes walk from beach)
  • A variety of nearby restaurants (more pricey)
  • The Oiler Bar at Wakeup Docklands is next door. It was converted from an ex-Royal Navy refuelling barge!

Access …

Take the DLR to Royal Victoria, the beach is a 5 minute walk.

Access from DLR is all on pavement and there is a very gentle ramp from the dockside onto the decking by the sandy beach, so this is very accessible. There are only steps to get to the paddling pool and swimming pool though.

Alternatively if you are feeling flush, head to North Greenwich and ride the Emirates Air Line cable car over to the Royal Docks, giving you a great bird’s eye view of the beach as you approach.

Find out more …

Head to London’s Royal Docks for more info on visiting and check out their Forgotten Stories pages for histories of the people who used to live and work here.

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