This summer, Lower Precinct played host to an indoor beach, offering free fun to families, shoppers, and the wider community.

As part of the ‘Sun, Sea and LP’ campaign, a 16 metre x 6 metre beach has been positioned on the ground floor of the shopping centre for six weeks, with daily activities set to entice shoppers and increase dwell time.

Launched on Saturday 22 July, to mark the start of the school holidays, the Lower Precinct beach was open every day from 10am-4pm, with real sand, buckets and spades, and deckchairs; creating a unique backdrop at the city centre shopping mall.

Every Monday-Saturday, the beach hosted free activities; kicking off the week were arts and crafts workshops that included making sandcastles and seashell jewellery. Tuesdays were the focus of the Lower Precinct Cubs Club, with mascot Lenny the Lion making appearances and encouraging kids to join the fun. On Wednesdays the centre’s charity partner, Guide Dogs, came down with training puppies for blindfold walks and cane demonstrations, as well as raising vital funds for the work they do in the community. Seaside favourite Punch and Judy hosted a series of performances on the beach every Thursday, and Fridays saw Coventry Library head down to host reading corners. To finish the week, Lower Precinct’s face painter took to the beach every Saturday to create little butterflies, monsters, and every animal in between. Sundays were a day of rest, with deck chairs laid out ready for families and shoppers to rest their feet and enjoy the summer fun.

Nicola Cormell, Centre Manager at Lower Precinct commented:

“I’ve got kids so I know how much of a challenge the six weeks’ holidays can be for parents. We wanted to do something to help and what’s better than a beach that you can joy whatever the weather?! By hosting a beach for the whole city centre, it means that our shoppers can come into the centre without worrying about kids complaining at being bored and also helped bring new people into the centre, so it was a win-win for everyone.”

As well as increasing footfall, the beach was also a chance to promote the centre’s retailers; using top garden and holiday picks on the beach and showcasing to visitors products available in store. To complemnent this, the team also created a summer shopping guide that included the best products for holidays, staycations, and festivals.

Building on the community spirit, the beach also hosted a very special volleyball tournament for businesses within Coventry Business Improvement District.

Businesses including McDonald’s, Advent Communications, Samoan Jones, and Daddy Cools, went head-to-head raising money for Myton Hospice – a charity with centres in Coventry, Warwick and Rugby which care for those with life-limiting illnesses. After a very competitive afternoon, McDonald’s were crowned champions, with the Lower Precinct team unfortunately not making the podium.

The Lower Precinct beach was a big success – welcoming over 100 parents and children every day. In the final two weeks of July, footfall was up 2.2% and 4.7% respectively, with all of August up 0.1% on the previous year.