Urban beaches return to Brent Cross and JW3
PUBLISHED: 15:59 01 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:59 01 July 2019
© Oliver Dixon
Sun, sand and water play - you don't have to drive to the coast to enjoy the beach this summer
On the hottest day of the year so far, we turned down the chance to sit in a coastal traffic jam and headed to Brent Cross instead.
Once again the car park of the shopping centre has been turned over to funfair rides, a giant paddling pool, and tonnes of silvery sand - right next to the North Circular.
Crowds of families were enjoying a day out in the baking sunshine, kids were digging sandcastles and cooling off in the paddling pool, or running through the water jets in the splash zone.
Ours were zipped into water zorbs, strapped into beach bungees and whizzed around on the Dodgems before stopping for an ice cream while we had a cold pint of cider at the beach bar.
A few of the rides looked hair-raising, but with 25 in total there's something for everyone - no flume this year to cool us down, but a traditional carousel and the headspinning Yeti were favourites.
Over the summer organisers have planned extras including a bubble show, a Punch and Judy puppet show, a circus workshop and a pirate treasure hunt.
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And if you can't tear yourself away from the TV, there's a nightly viewing party of Love Island while you have a cocktail on the sand.
Brent Cross general manager Chris Barnes said: "We're ecstatic to be welcoming The Beach back again to Brent Cross and know how much our loyal visitors look forward to celebrating that holiday feeling.
"We are certain it will be the perfect day out for any family who wants to avoid those long airport security lines."
JW3 has also taken order of a huge volume of sand to transform its forecourt into a smaller urban beach, bringing the holiday vibe to Finchley Road.
With free entry, delicious food from in house cafe Zest, cocktails and a paddling area for water play, it runs Sunday to Friday at JW3 until September 1.
The Beach at Brent Cross is open daily throughout the summer until September 8, from 12-10pm.
Entry £3 for adults and children over three, or free with the PLUS app.
Tokens can be purchased for individual rides.