Want a day on the beach but can't face those motorway traffic jams and costly seaside car parks? How about taking a trip to some of the UK’s inland beaches instead?
It claims to be the ‘only beach in London’ as it’s just 15 miles from the capital and set in woodland. A former reservoir converted to a lido in the 1930s, facilities include a sandy beach and splash pad area with water fountains for the kids, along with toilets and changing rooms.
When you’ve had your picnic you can board the lido train for a two mile trip round the lake. If you go by public transport it’s a short walk from Northwood Hill tube station or you can get a bus. If you’re driving there’s plenty of free parking plus entry to the lido is free.
The Warren Beach, Hay-on-Wye
If you like your beaches secluded then this one’s for you. The Warren is a pebble beach on the banks of the River Wye, near Hay on Wye on the Welsh border.
It can get packed during the world famous Hay literary festival and you’ve got to make an effort to find this one as it’s only accessible by footpaths from the local lanes, like the one next to Warren Close in the west end of Hay. The area is actually privately owned by the local community who bought it around thirty years ago to stop a proposed caravan park going ahead but anyone can visit.
Frensham Great Pond, Surrey
Frensham’s sandy beaches have been the location for many a film over the years. The common itself is owned by the National Trust and among the woodland there are two ponds - Frensham Great and Little ponds.
The area is primarily a nature reserve so rules are strict. No dogs are allowed on the beach, no barbeques or camping and although there’s a ranger on duty at weekends there are no lifeguards, so take care if you’re going swimming. Head to Farnham to discover this beach and take a bus from Farnham station. For drivers there’s a car park on site which charges £2.50 on weekends and bank holidays.
Loch Lomond, Scotland
For natural unspoilt sandy beaches head for Luss and Milarrochy Bay on the banks of Loch Lomond, around twenty minutes from Glasgow airport. Luss is on the west side of the Loch with nothing more than a car park but you can easily head into the village to pick up drinks and supplies. At Milarrochy you’ll find toilets and changing facilities.
The waters of Loch Lomond are great for a paddle but swimming isn’t recommended as it’s a glacial lake which means it’s very deep and likely to be freezing cold all year round.
Cotswold Country Park & Beach, Gloucestershire
For the ultimate family friendly inland beach try this one with long stretches of sand, a beach café and shop for last minute buckets and spades. Cotswold Water Park is the largest inland paddling beach in the UK and even at its deepest point the water’s only waist deep, making it ideal for families.
Lifeguards are on duty between April and September from 11am - 5pm at weekends, bank holidays and through the local school holidays. It opens from 10am – 6pm on weekdays and until 9pm at weekends until September. You do have to pay an entry fee with this one; of between £4 and £5 for adults and £2 to £3 for children depending on which day you go.