Saturday, 4 August 2012

Take a boat to the beach . . . without leaving London

Spying one relatively sunny day in the forecast of the otherwise underwhelming start to August, I decided I was going to make the most of it and head to the beach - but the coast is hours away and I felt like a languorously idle sunworshipping day not a sweaty trek. So, on with the sun cream and flip flops and off to Browning's Pool at Little Venice, where I boarded a 100-year-old (refurbished) canal boat run by Jason's Trip.

You can of course cross the little bridge and take a London Waterbus instead, but did you know that Browning's Pool is named after the poet Robert Browning, who came to live in the area after the death of his wife, Elizabeth Barrett Browning? The guides on Jason's Trip do, and lots more besides. If you want to get from A to B, the Waterbus is great; if you want to learn a little about the history of the canal as you drift along, and the bridges and buildings that you pass, then I would suggest Jason's.

The trip to Camden Lock takes about 45 minutes and goes straight through London Zoo, where you should get a pretty good view of the aviary, and past some splendiferous Nash-inspired villas.  After disembarking I had a brief mosey round the markets, then made my way to the Roundhouse, and Camden Beach.

As the song (almost) has it, you got 99 problems but a beach ain't one; those crazy folk at the Roundhouse have turned their outside terrace into a very passable beach, with 150 tonnes of sand, deck chairs, beach bars and games - plus big screen sports for cheering on Team GB and a large covered area in case the Great British Summer doesn't play ball. Do check the website before you set off though, as it is closed on several days for private functions.

Entry is free, on the condition that you don't take your own food or drink (or any glass containers), but the Tiki Hut is well-stocked and not overly expensive; the bars are cash only but there is a cash machine (and loos) inside the building. A very pleasant afternoon was had, sitting in the unaccustomed sunshine, drinking cocktails and eating chips with a plastic fork whilst wiggling my toes in the sand. Quality.

To all my fellow beach babes and surf dudes - enjoy!


Girl About Town xx


  1. Hey I took the same boat to Camden on the very same day !