I am a marketing and communications consultant and freelance writer. Living on the Gold Coast in Australia. Check out my website www.sarahsays.com.au or follow on Twitter @WENGoldCoast
Surfs Up in East London
Who would have thought you could have a day at the beach and funfair, but not leave East London. Well, that's exactly what you get at Beach East.
The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has struck gold again with its legacy promise - providing a huge outdoor urban beach and pool plus a funfair in the heart of Stratford this summer. It is open from 10am to 10pm with fun for everyone, although especially families.
The temporary development runs until 31 August and if you haven't taken the kids I urge you to do so before it ends. It's a brilliant use of space, and something completely new for East London.
So what is there? Well firstly the two main attractions which are completely free, are the beaches and pool. There are two beach areas consisting of 1000 tons of fine sand spread to a depth of up to 30cm, including two full-size beach volley-ball courts. The huge kids paddling pool is 1/3 of the size of a full Olympic pool.
Surrounding the beach and pool is loads of fairground rides for kids of all ages, including roller coasters, swings, ferris wheel, bouncy slide, and a log flume. These you have to pay for - you buy tokens when you enter and then each ride is a certain number of tokens per ride. It is £1 per token and the rides are from 1 to 4 tokens each - so it's not cheap. I would recommend having a strict budget in mind and giving kids a set number of tokens that they can spend on what they wish - when there are gone, that's it - otherwise it could be an expensive day out.
It's not all about the kids either, the is fun for adults too - with two bars, Pub Tropicana and Coconut Joe's Cocktail & Juice Bar. Tropicana is a double-deck beach bar which is open all day everyday, providing a chilled atmosphere with regular live entertainment.
Coconut Joe's is located on the beach front and will serve as an alcohol-free bar serving juices and mocktails during the day, then at night and weekends it will serve cocktails and a range of local craft beers. There is also lots of food stalls serving snacks.
Not only that but there will also be loads of beach activities throughout the summer, including volleyball, cricket, football, boccia and fitness classes.
It really is such a great place to visit - I went on a cloudy day which was quite cold, but that didn't make much difference to the fun that was had. We arrived there at 10:30am and it was quite quiet, getting much busier as the day progressed. My daughter is just 20 months so it was the sand that she loved, and it was better that it was quiet.
To get there you need to get to Stratford Station on either bus or tube or overground. You follow the signs to the Olympic Park, and it is located opposite the Aquatic Centre. You can't really miss it as you will see it as you head in the main park entrance.
There is no special parking for he beach, however there is loads at the Westfield and Olympic Park and then it's just a five minute walk.
I would love to go there on a night out too, as I imagine it would be quite the experience. I lived in East London for around 10-years and it's amazing to see its growth and all the positive changes happening. I really hope this is back next year.
For more information and to see a list of events click here.