Skate the Strand

Vans are bringing a free pop-up skatepark to London’s West End
By Ella Joyce | Sport | 2 September 2021

Running from 8th – 24th September, skate giants Vans have announced the launch of Skate the Strand: two weeks of free skate programming at a purpose-built pop-up skatepark placed on the Strand Aldwych in London. Founded in collaboration with Westminster City Council’s art, culture and entertainment festival, Inside Out and Somerset House’s No Comply: Skate Culture and Community exhibition, the event comes at a time when the redevelopment of Strand Aldwych into a pedestrianised destination is a hot topic – Vans are out to prove the adaptability of skate culture in today’s cityscape.

Born with the intention to celebrate the inclusive culture of skating and its role within urban spaces, the event focuses on bringing the sport back to its roots. Leading skatepark designers have come together to build Betongpark, the temporary pedestrianised skate friendly set-up in London’s West End, with the aim of emphasising the positive impact of skate culture on communities and how skate architecture can be integrated in city planning for the enrichment of youth sport.

Across two weeks of Skate the Strand, the free skateboarding event has something to offer for both established and beginner skaters: including pro demos, free lessons and open public skate sessions – including a team-up with women’s skate collective Neighbourhood Skate Club, while a special event on the penultimate day of Somerset House’s ‘No Comply’ exhibition (19th Sept) is also set to be announced. The initiative stands true to the ethos of skate culture, where freedom of expression is encouraged not hindered.

“This month we saw a once busy and polluted stretch of the Strand transformed into a brand-new pedestrianised area for Westminster’s communities and visitors. And following the huge skateboarding successes from Team GB at the recent Olympics, what better way to celebrate this new public space than with our exciting ‘Skate the Strand’ project?,” says Cllr Matthew Green, Cabinet Member for Business, Licensing and Planning at Westminster City Council. “With the trucks and buses of traffic jams replaced by the trucks and decks of skateboards, we want the Strand to be dominated by different sets of four wheels as people come to enjoy this fantastic sport, right in the heart of London.

“We have an exciting calendar of activity happening over the coming months as part of the Inside Out festival. This fits into our wider plans to encourage visitors back into Westminster as part of our vision for the safe and successful reopening of our city, as well as our longer-term vision for the Strand Aldwych area.”

Vans’ Skate the Strand runs between 8th – 24th September. Find more information here

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