With schools breaking up for summer holidays and the unpredictability of foreign travel, many families are planning staycations for a break this summer.
My London has you covered for seaside getaways, with profiles on all the best beaches within a few hours of London.
However, train line operators are already warning against weekend travel as Covid cases rise, meaning a beach alternative closer to home might be the thing for you.
READ MORE: Summer holidays: The beach 3 hours from London named one of the best in the world according to TripAdvisor
Right under our noses, amid the world-renowned landmarks of central London you can find secluded beaches so small they disappear twice a day.
On Southbank for instance, below the riverside walk containing bars, restaurants and theatres, you can find a small stretch of sand overlooking the city.
(Image: Christine Matthews / New Crane Stairs, Wapping, London E1 / CC BY-SA 2.0)
The River Thames is tidal, so twice a day these little beaches are hidden from view – but when the tide is low and the sun is shining, there’s no better place to watch the world go by.
You can check the tidal times for the Thames here. Generally, you will want to visit when the tide is low.
Down by the water, you are also surrounded by a wealth of history and wildlife.
Mudlarks can also be found on the north bank of the river searching for items of value from centuries gone by.
In London, a license is required from the Port of London Authority for this activity and it is illegal to search for or remove artefacts of any kind from the foreshore without one.
No matter which direction you head in along the Thames you are guaranteed to find a small beach to cater for your needs.
(Image: Hulton Archive)
In southeast London, there’s a rocky beach in Bermondsey with views of Tower Bridge.
It’s not as busy as Southbank and if you walk a little further east there’s lots of interesting docks and trade history along the way, including some of London’s oldest pubs.
Then you have Folly House beach in Canary Wharf, which overlooks the 02 Arena.
Again, this beach is not as busy as Southbank and boasts a smooth, pebbly surface.
This is a great spot to take the kids before a concert or to wind down after a long day’s work in London’s financial district.
These beaches may be unconventional but that’s part of their charm, so next time you plan a seaside getaway, don’t overlook central London, you may just find exactly what you are looking for.