The Midlands is the furthest place from the sea in England, so talk of beaches on the doorstep always generates plenty of excitement.
With the challenges posed by the coronavirus lockdown and difficulties in travelling abroad any attractions that offer a beach-like experience prove hugely popular.
One that’s currently causing a stir in Warwickshire is located at a community facility in land-locked Henley-in-Arden.
The Beach at Henley is free and is aimed at families and catering for residents of Henley and the surrounding area.
It is being run by The Hub at Henley, a youth and community centre that provides a wide range of services for the local community.
Ordinarily the small charity offers a variety of activities including a parent & baby group, a senior citizen group, after school coffee bars and evening youth club activities.
It also works with partner organisations to provide services to support local residents, such as a food bank pick up point and an online learning centre.
It is staffed by a team of qualified youth workers and dedicated volunteers.
However, this summer has seen the seaside come to Henley in style with the creation of a mini beach at The Hub to cater for the local community.
More than 30 tons of sand has been shipped in to create it and there are four paddling pools.
The new facility opened on August 19 and is running until the end of August.
The charity’s website says: “Missed out on your family holiday? Fancy going to the beach without travelling? You’re in luck!
“Between Wednesday August 19 and Monday August 31 the land next to The Hub at Henley will be transformed into a local beach!
“We will be providing free morning and afternoon sessions for residents of Henley-in-Arden to relax, play, build sandcastles and have a splash in our middle England sea (paddling pool).”
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The facility has social distancing protocols in place.
The website adds: “The beach area is divided into four sections to enable up to four different groups to use the facilities alongside each other.
“One ticket enables a group of up to six people to play together whilst adhering to government social distancing guidelines. If you are a household larger than six people please book two tickets to accommodate this.”
The Hub is also open during the daily morning and afternoon beach sessions, which need to be booked, to enable access to a toilet and baby change facility – as well as to buy refreshments from its tuck shop.
People are also free to bring their own picnics and their own beach gear to add to the experience.
A Hub staff member or volunteer is available at each session but people are responsible for the supervision and safety of their own group during their visit.
To find out more about The Beach at Henley click here.