Whether you want to get dirty on a dig or have a rare paddle off one of London’s beaches, there’s something for all the family at the Tower of London’s Archaeology Weekend on July 25–26.

These two days are the only time that the public can access the Tower’s beach, which was opened 75 years ago on July 23, 1934. George V granted the children of Stepney and London ‘free access forever’ to the foreshore and had more than 1,500 bargeloads of Essex sand dumped between St Katherine’s Steps and the Tower.

More than half a million Londoners visited the beach between 1934 and 1939 remarkable given that only 500 people could be on it at a time and it was only usable for 5½ hours a day before the Thames reclaimed it. It was forced to close in 1971 because of rising pollution levels.

The Tower’s conservators will be on hand to evaluate your finds. For details of opening and tidal times, visit www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon