Return of Camden Beach

It was brilliant but chaotic last year. So what’s new for 2013 on north London’s very own seaside stretch? A pier and pop-up fish restaurant for starters

The calm before the storm. Last year's Camden Beach. Photo: Stuart Leech
The calm before the storm. Last year’s Camden Beach. Photo: Stuart Leech
It was an ingenious smash hit last year, but also suffered rather from its own hype: hour-long entry and bar queues, drinks running out, overcrowding. In fact, it’s no surprise to learn that 40,000 visitors crammed its railway-lined terrace.

So, while we are firm fans, we’re looking forward to see what changes the Roundhouse will bring to this season’s now-legendary Camden Beach, which kicks off next Saturday, July 27.

The skinny? “It’s going to be bigger and better still,” says organiser Emma Reynolds. “900 square metres and 150 tonnes of the finest sand, the addition of a ‘pier’ which will house various amusements, and our epic tuck shop stocking candy floss and sticks of rock. There’ll be a penny-pusher arcade game along with air hockey, ping pong and a few other surprises.”

Entry to the beach will remain free this year, but you can also hire one of three VIP beach huts: think fenced-off area, deckchairs, drinks, BBQ platter, ice cream – and maybe an ounce of privacy. If you’re lucky.

Last year's tiki bar
Last year’s tiki bar
There’ll also be better food. Excellent onsite restaurant Made in Camden have an outdoor pop-up called Fishy Business whose set menu includes sea bass, mussels and “some of the best fish and chips in town”, with chefs apparently cooking up a storm right before punters’ eyes. Tables must be pre-booked, but beach entry is guaranteed.

For meat-gobblers there’s also Bubba, the man behind the infamous Arkansas Café in Old Spitalfields Market, who is set to fire up his BBQ for a one-off pop-up “meat-heaven” experience. Elsewhere, Ben and Jerry’s will park their ice cream van on the beach, plus the Tiki bar will serve the usual cocktails, beers and wines. Let’s hope service is a little speedier than last year too.

Finally, live is music promised every Friday night to accompany your sunset (it’s west-facing y’know). Called, um, Farah Fridays (in conjunction with menswear brand Farah Vintage), it takes place “on the pier” with four nights of different genres including new urban soul, lo-fi/experimental, acoustic indie and reggae.

Phew. We need a lie down in a deckchair already. Camden Beach opens its doors on Saturday 27 July until Saturday 24 August. Entry is free, 12pm-11pm (Mondays 5pm-11pm).

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For more info head to the Roundhouse homepage.


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