On a bank holiday weekend, what do most people want to do? Go to the seaside I’d say, in fact when we asked Tyler what he wanted to do on Sunday, he said “Go to the seaside!”
Of course, living in Slough, we are nowhere near a seaside. Unless you count the Ruislip Lido. My husband thought it was a great idea, so we packed some stuff – picnic blanket, buckets and spade, football, food, drinks – and got into the car. Tyler was so excited, asking every 5 minutes, “Are we really going to the beach?”
Ruislip Lido is a 60 acre lake with a man-made beach and a narrow gauge railway. The reservoir has been around since 1811 and the railway since 1945. It’s about a half an hour drive from Slough, we went through Uxbridge, Ickenham and finally Ruislip to get there. I expected parking to be manic being a bank holiday weekend, and yes getting into Resevoir Road was a bit painful with the traffic crawling, but we persevered. It turns out there are two car parks at the end of the road and they were letting cars in, one in one out, which makes sense. So actually we got a parking space quite easily and it was right by the entrance to the Ruislip Lido Railway. And the parking was free – that was a nice surprise.
We decided to have lunch first, so set up our picnic in this beautiful grassy area by the lake. There were plenty of trees for shade. Then Tyler and his daddy played some football, with Lily joining in. They got some ice cream from the ice cream van at the side. There’s also a Waterside Pizza and Carvery place here, and by the Railway and car park there is a cafe, loos and baby change. It all seems quite new and clean so I think it’s been refurbished recently.
It really picturesque and relaxing here, I really enjoyed our picnic. The Ruislip Lido Railway runs trains every 40 minutes, and we caught the 2.20pm one. You have to buy tickets, and we got singles to the beach, which cost £2 for an adult and £1.50 for a child, Lily was free.
We parked the buggy in the buggy carriage and sat down in a little cubicle. It was so cute and fun!
The journey took us around the lake through Ruislip Woods, past a level crossing and lots of walkers, and ending up at Woody Bay for “The Beach”. As you can see, Lily was very happy posing for this photo 😉
And we were at the beach! It was really busy, sand everywhere and a water park, kids playgrounds, a cafe serving hot food, changing rooms, loos. It was quite impressive, like we were really at the seaside. We set up our little area under a tree by the pavement edge so we could park the pushchair there, and Tyler and Lily were straight into making sandastles.
The sand felt like that sand you buy from the shops for toy sand tables, and if you dug too deep, you end up digging soil. Still Tyler was convinced this was a REAL seaside, and it was nice to feel the sand under my feet (ignoring the twigs!) I was amazed, I can’t understand how they got all that sand here. The area is HUGE!
Lots of kids were in the water, and Tyler dipped his toes in too, and then decided to go in, flinging his clothes off so he was just in his pants. It all happened so quickly, that boy! The water is really shallow by the edge, went up to his knees, and it is clean. I remember it being quite murky from when we visited years and years ago, but this whole area has definitely by renovated by the council recently.
Lily started getting cranky as she was tired, and with Tyler drenched, we started to get ready to go, when it started raining anyway, and literally everyone on the beach scrambled to get their stuff together and go home. It was like a mass exodus, really funny!
Tyler really didn’t want to go, he would play in the sand all day if he could. I said to him that we’d come back, Ruislip is so close to his grandparents’ house, we actually can come back all the time.
We walked around the lake, past a boathouse, through an outdoor gym, past the Waterhouse Carvery and we were back at the railway station and car park in less than 10 minutes. If you buy a return train ticket, you can ride the train back, but I quite fancied the walk.
So that’s Ruislip Lido, the seaside in the suburbs of Middlesex. If you haven’t been, it’s really worth a visit. This is the address:
Address: Ruislip Lido, Reservoir Road, Ruislip, HA4 7TY
How to get there:
– Car (two car parks with limited spaces at the end of Resevoir Road)
– Public Transport – Ruislip on the Metropolitan/Piccadilly Line and then a 331 or H13 bus.
January and February : 9am to 4pm
March : 9am to 5pm
April : 9am to 6pm
May, June, July and August : 9am to 8pm
September : 9am to 7pm
October : 9am to 5pm
November and December : 9am to 4pm
I hope you do get to visit, it’s a proper hidden treasure of Middlesex!