Within the M25, about a 10 minutes’ drive from an underground station, is a beach scene which looks every bit like a holiday resort.

This is Ruislip Lido – a 60-acre lake with a sandy beach and a woodland backdrop.

You can’t swim in the lake these days, unlike in the 1930s when there were changing rooms at the site, but in the summer the beach can get packed with people who have flocked there to lie and play on the sand, take their children to the playgrounds, explore Ruislip Woods and take a ride on the mini gauge railway.

Ruislip Lido, which is owned and managed by Hillingdon London Borough Council, is free to visit.

Here is what you need to know if you are planning a trip there.

What to do and see

The beach

The stretch of golden sandy beach can get packed in summertime with people sunbathing on the water’s edge, building sandcastles and playing beach games.

You’re not allowed to swim in the lake or use boats on the lake. There are no lifeguards.

Dogs aren’t allowed on the beach although according to Tripadvisor users there is a dog-friendly beach.

Splash pad

Children can enjoy water fun on the splash pad. On the beach side, it is open from April until the end of September and the water is on from 10am until the evening.

When the sun comes out families like to sit and play on the sands of Ruislip Lido

Children’s play areas

An 18-metre pirate ship has been washed up on the beach. Ok – it’s not a real pirate ship but children can clamber all over the wooden structure and its nets and whizz down the slides.

There are two playgrounds, each on either side of the lake, and a sand area where children can build sandcastles.

Ruislip Lido Railway

Ruislip Lido has its very own railway.

The 12-inch gauge railway takes passengers around the lake, while weaving through Ruislip Woods.

There are two main stations on the line where you start and finish your journey - Woody Bay station beside the beach and children’s splash pad, and Willow Lawn station, next to the car park and near The Water’s Edge pub and restaurant

You can read more about it and look up its timetable and prices at www.ruisliplidorailway.org .

Everyone enjoys exploring the area around Ruislip Lido - just check out the rules for dogs

Ruislip Woods

Ruslip Woods, which surrounds the lido, is a National Nature Reserve.

The ancient, semi-natural woodland includes coppice woods, grassland areas, ponds, streams and marshland areas.

You can take it in as you follow one of the three walks around the area which you can download from the website here. www.hillingdon.gov.uk/exploreruisliplido

Woodland Centre

This is open every day and has information about the lido past and present, Ruislip Woods, conservation and traditional woodland crafts.

Feed the ducks and birds

If you want to feed the ducks there is a special wooden platform on Willow Lawn and you’re asked to do it only from here.

If you have a rod licence you might like to go fishing

Run, cycle and use the outdoor gym

It’s a scenic area for a run or bike ride and you can also keep in shape at the outdoor gym.

Residential roads and off-road routes surround the lido. There are places to park your bicycle too.

Fishing

Fishing is allowed from June 16 to March 14 at the special wooden fishing platforms but you must have an Environment Agency rod licence.

Where can I eat and drink?

You might want to roll out a blanket and eat a picnic on willow lawn and beach side or other spots around the lake. You are not allowed to have a barbecue or fire.

Lakeside Café in the Woodland Centre and near the beach and splash pad area serves meals, snacks and hot and cold drinks. It has a kiosk too where you can grab a snack, drink or ice cream.

If you fancy a carvery or pizza and maybe a beer you can call into The Water’s Edge pub and restaurant which is run by Stonehouse.

How much is it to get in to Ruislip Lido?

It is FREE.

You might catch a beautiful sunset at Ruislip Lido

When is Ruislip Lido open?

From May to August it is open from 9am to 9pm.

In September it closes at 7pm, in October it closes at 5pm, from November to February it closes at 4pm, in March it closes at 5pm and in April it closes at 6pm.

What’s the address?

Reservoir Road, Ruislip, HA4 7TY

Where do I park?

In the summer holidays and on bank holidays the lido gets very busy and the car park fills up quickly. There are no alternative car parks nearby and there are permit parking zones, clearway zones and no-stopping restrictions on the roads and it is all strictly enforced so you really are advised to avoid going by car.

If you do want to park, the main car park is at the end of Reservoir Road on the left and this one is for all visitors. It is £5 a day from May to August and £3.50 a day during the rest of the year.

Willow Lawn car park is for HillingdonFirst card holders only.

The Water’s Edge pub has its own car park but it is for its customers only and uses an automatic number plate recognition system.

How do I get to Ruislip Lido?

By train: Ruislip tube station is on the Uxbridge branch of the Metropolitan and Piccadilly lines. It is about a ten minute drive from the station if you want to get a taxi, or it’s a 34 to 42 minute walk according to routes on Google Maps.

By bus: H13 and the 331 bus routes stop close by the Lido and the woods.

By bicycle: There are off-road routes and quiet residential roads around the lido if you want to cycle there. It takes about 11 minutes according to routes on Google Maps.

Where can I find out more?

For more details visit the Hillingdon London Borough Council website at www.hillingdon.gov.uk/ruisliplido .