Paris Plages man made beach in Paris
People enjoy the sun at 'Paris Plage' (Paris Beach) situated along banks of the River Seine. (Photo: REUTERS)

London is set to have the longest artificial city beach in Europe, when the attraction opens in Greenwich in May.

Greenwich Beach will be located on the Greenwich peninsula near the O2, the former Millennium Dome.

The concept has been approved by Greenwich council. It is expected to imitate the Paris-style "pop-up plage" and is expected to open each summer from June to September over the next five years.

Under the plans, the 1.47 hectare site will provide live entertainment, restaurants and beach sports. It will even include an Olympic-size volleyball court and cater for crowds of up to 5,000 at maximum capacity.

The sandy beach will also have areas for sleeper chairs, lounge seats and foot showers.

The site is expected to be used during the Peninsula Festival and for events during the 2012 Olympic Games.

The development site, known as Delta Wharf, overlooks the River Thames and is owned by the Housing Communities Agency which will eventually redevelop the area into housing.

Frank Dekker, managing director of the site developer Peninsula Festival, said Greenwich Beach would be London's first long-term beach with sand, entertainment and beach games.

"We have been told it is the largest man-made beach in Europe. It will bring to London a facility for both local residents and visitors, enjoyed in other cities such as Paris and Berlin," he told Homes & Property.

"Children and young people in the city will have an opportunity to get the sand between their own toes. The Olympic-standard beach volleyball court will offer young people the opportunity to exercise in an interesting, novel way."

The beach will be created using tonnes of sand ferried to the site by barge from north Norfolk.

Other popular man-made beaches in European cities include the "Plages" along the River Seine in Paris and Berlin's urban beaches along the River Spree.