Trash everywhere, cars parked all along the street: the reality of life on London’s ‘secret beach’

London’s “secret beach” looks quite glamorous, but all is not as it seems. MyLondon visited this little seaside spot in the city and spoke to local residents about the reality of living on its doorstep. Ruislip Lido is a 60 acre lake with a sandy beach set at the edge of the beautiful Ruislip Woods. As the temperatures hurt, people from across the capital are flocking to its shores.

Although it may look like a beach, the city council frequently reminds people that entering the water is not permitted. This is due to the dangers caused by invisible objects, temperature and microscopic parasites which can cause allergic reactions. But one trip in the water and you’ll spot people wading.

MyLondon spoke to local resident Derek Simms about life in the area, he told us: “I can’t believe people let their kids swim in the water when there’s green algae in there. I’m went canoeing once and fell in water that had green algae and got a throat infection.” Another said, “If we had a dog, we wouldn’t even let them in.”

READ MORE:Locals want a new outdoor pool near Ruislip lido and say it would ‘transform’ west London

Water pollution is not the only source of concern for residents. As temperatures soar, people flock to the beauty spot to soak up the sun, but they aren’t always respectful of the residents who inhabit it. The houses surrounding the lido and the woods have large white signs and “No Parking” cones on their driveways, but they told us they are often ignored.

Many residents in surrounding areas have large “No Parking” signs outside their homes and on their driveways

“One Sunday, I came down in the morning and someone had already parked in front of our house, he didn’t even ask”, tells us a resident. Although there are parking fines for people who park illegally, they don’t always deter visitors. Another local resident told us that when they informed a driver they would be fined for parking they calculated it would cost them £6 each and so they stayed where they were.

According to locals, things have improved a bit with tow trucks operating in the area, but there are so many people visiting that they are often overwhelmed by the number of cars. Taxis have become a more popular option for visitors as parking is more difficult, but residents then find themselves with strollers sitting on their garden walls waiting to be picked up.

‘A woman sat on our wall constantly sneezing then spitting on our garden path,’ a local couple told MyLondon, and they often leave their rubbish behind.

Close-up photo of the water at the lido
From afar, water may look attractive, but up close, it’s dirty

Locals often have their sleep disturbed too. Some people stay at the lido until late at night, making a lot of noise leaving with blaring loudspeakers or chatting. A resident told us that when their neighbor came out to ask bathers to babysit her, she was insulted and sworn at. Now none of them feel safe enough to say anything when they are awake at night.

A resident told us: “My friends always say, ‘aren’t you lucky to live so close to the lido.’ I tell them, I don’t feel lucky in the summer.”

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