Growing up by the sea, there’s just a magic in going to the beach in summer that makes me feel at home.
Every summer as a child, I spent a lot of time by the seaside. Changing into my swimsuit into my parents’ beach hut, the smell of sun cream hanging in the air as I ran to the water, rode the world’s tiniest waves on my boogie board, built sandcastles, played rounders and wolfed down picnic sandwiches at lunchtime. It was wonderful, and those sounds, smells and sights always make me feel a surge of happiness.
In London, though, there isn’t much in the way of beach life. Sure, it’s not THAT far to Brighton, or even to the beach I grew up on. But the rise of ‘urban beaches’ in London and beach bars (kinda like one I visited in Berlin…) is the perfect way of satisfying those childhood memories that pull.
Except, with booze rather than Capri Sun.
Neverland is one of those destinations, and I was pretty keen to check it out. Recently, I went along with AJ for a night of food and drink, thanks to Stassen Cidererie (more about their amazing ciders-but-not-as-you-know-them later!), and we were instantly quite smitten with the place.
The décor is lovely (and majorly Instagrammable)
If I could describe Neverland in just a word? DREAMY.
Pastel beach huts line the edges of the sand-covered beach section, filled with home comfort cushions and wall hangings, that have the shabby chic feel of your quintessential English seaside shacks. Definitely the perfect backdrop for an Instagram pic. Guests can actually hire out the huts and the day beds on the grass area, so arrive early if you want to grab an unreserved one.
Oh, and if the weather’s typically British, the pergola area is covered so you can keep dry! There’s also general seating here, so if you haven’t pre-booked (which Neverland advise), you should still be able to find somewhere to sit pretty easily.
There’s even something charming about the contrast between the pastel, fun aesthetics contrasting with busy traffic and industrial buildings that peep up above the walls. Spaces like these seem even more wonderful when they’re an oasis in an urban jungle, and within Neverland, you’re immersed in a sweet little haven of summer vibes, a happy atmosphere and, of course, delicious food.
And, very importantly. DOGS ARE ALLOWED! We encountered the cutest little pup on our visit, although he seemed more interested in his adventure under the tables looking for food than saying hello to us…
The food is awesome
Speaking of food…
Chips, herby potatoes, salami, ham and mini gherkins arrived at the table to enjoy our cheese with, there was a serious ‘upmarket picnic’ vibe to the food we devoured.
For dessert, we tucked into some delicious macarons – my absolute favourites were the pink ones, flavoured with powerful rose and delicate vanilla cream.
If indulging in excessive amounts cheese isn’t your thing (it’s okay, honestly), Le Bao offer modern Taiwanese street food style bao buns. The buns are made with soy milk, and stuffed with either pork belly, fried chicken or grilled goat’s cheese. And their Loaded Fries with bacon and aioli sound REALLY good too!
You can also get your pizza fix with Slice’s authentic wood fired pizzas; or enjoy rice paper rolls filled with the likes of Vietnamese pork and Cajun Sweet Potato from Sin Chow.
You can take your own alcohol
Yep, you heard me right. You can take along your own booze. BEST NEWS.
Okay, there are limits. You’re able to bring either a bottle of wine, prosecco or champagne; a 30cl bottle of spirits, or 6 cans of beer/cider. Cups are provided, but all soft drinks, mixers and ice have to be purchased from Neverland’s bar. If you bring along spirits, you can pay £5 to have your alcohol of choice turned into a cocktail, or ‘pimp your prosecco’ with puree and garnish. YUM.
My newly-discovered drink of choice to join me at the beach? Say hello to Stassen Cidre. Basically, it’s an artisan cider, with a serious champers/prosecco vibe. I’m sometimes a bit iffy about cider, recalling memories of fuzzy-feeling teeth after too many warm Strongbows in a festival field. But Stassen is WAY more classy than that. Presented in 750ml champagne style bottles (cork and all), it’s perfect for sharing. Also perfect for drinking all to yourself. Multi-purpose!
There are three different styles on offer – the Stassen Cidre Brut, a dry, smooth and crisp apple and pear taste. The Cidre Cuvée Rosé is fruity and vibrant (and matches my hair), and the Cidre Grand Cru is more medium-dry, with a mixture of bittersweet and dessert apples. All three are delicious, particularly the Rosé, perfect for summer nights on Neverland beach as the sun sets over the Thames. Or in your back garden with a BBQ. Or, y’know, just about anywhere you fancy feeling fancy.
Okay, so. Fulham is pretty FAR from where I live. But you know what? Neverland is TOTALLY worth the journey. Entry is a tenner, but bringing your own booze saves you more than that as it is, and the tasty food is the perfect complement to soaking up the summer feels in this beachy haven. Basically, it’s the perfect cheap evening/afternoon out with friends. We had the loveliest time there, and I’m 100% heading back here before summer’s out!
364 Wandsworth Bridge Rd, SW6 2TY
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