With impeccable timing, 150 tonnes of sand have been dumped alongside NW1’s most distinctive landmark. Sara O’Reilly has five good reasons to make tracks for Camden Beach which opens tomorrow (July 27) until August 24.
1. The beach huts
Last year’s Camden Beach was visited by 40,000 people. Not simultaneously, obviously – but on the hottest days the queues stretched around the block. To be sure of your spot in the sun, book one of the three beach huts.You get your own fenced-off area, complete with deckchairs, drinks, a barbecue platter and ice cream.
2. The food
Beach frolics mean big appetites, and Made in Camden, a pop-up restaurant from Fishy Business, offers proper seaside fare: sea bass, mussels, and fish and chips. Meanwhile, Bubba, the man who fires the coals at the Arkansas Café in Old Spitalfields Market, will be barbecuing meaty meals for spur-of-the moment diners, and the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream van will be parked up on the beach. And there’s a bar, of course.
3. The sound waves
OK, in NW1 you’re never going to hear the sound of the sea. But Farah Fridays offer live music instead, kicking off this week with lyrically lovely JJ Soulx, British Asian hip-hop artist Cynikal, soul-folk songwriter Joel Baker and DJ Milo.
4. The family fun
Sometimes it’s bliss to grab your Oyster card and leave the car keys at home. We don’t deny there can be something special about a day at the seaside – but a trip out of town with your offspring can also be trying, the exhilaration outweighed by car sickness and exhausted bickering on the way home. The Costa Del Camden has the undeniable advantage of being in Zone 2, opposite Chalk Farm tube station, so there’s no danger of ‘Are we there yet?’ syndrome. Don’t forget the buckets and spades, though.
5. The amusements
There’s candyfloss, air hockey, arcade games and ping pong. And from August 1 you’ll also be able to visit ‘Timepiece’, the Conrad Shawcross installation at the Roundhouse. Its lofty aim is to get us to contemplate time, a concept we all take for granted – a fascinating diversion when you’ve had as much sun and sand as you can handle. It almost compensates for the one oversight on this urban beach – there are no hunky lifeguards.
Find out more about the Camden Beach.