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Southend Mini Guide
Tell me About Southend-on-Sea
Southend-on-Sea is a seaside town, 40 miles from London. In the 1800’s the town was made up of 2 villages. Prittlewell, famous for its priory and Leigh-on-Sea for its shellfish and seafood. The town became popular in the 1950’s and 60’s as a tourist resort, when day trippers from London would go there for the pier and amusement park as well as the beaches.
How can I get There?
From the London area, you can drive using the M25 and then the A127 or A13 to get to the town. There are trains to Southend Victoria
, every 20 minutes from London Liverpool Street and to Southend Central, every 15 minutes from London Fenchurch Street. The journey takes about an hour. Arriva and First provide bus services around the local area and it is easy to walk around the town, once you are there. Southend also has an airport, where there are occasional charter flights from the UK and Ireland.
It’s all About the Pier
Southend Pier is the longest pleasure pier in the world at 1.3 miles long and you can take the train if you don’t wish to walk the whole way. You can take a Waverley boat excursion from the end of the pier too. Visit the museum at the entrance of the pier to find out more about its history. The Kursaal is the well known amusement park next to the pier – there you can go to the bowling alley, gamble at the arcade or play pool.
What Else can I do?
Visit the Sealife Centre and see the aquarium and then take the funicular from the promenade up to the cliffs. Take a stroll around Westcliff Gardens or see the work of local artists at the Beecroft Art Gallery. Finally, take in a show at the Cliffs Pavilion or Palace Theatre.
What’s the Food Like?
As per tradition, you should go to the Old Leigh Cockle Sheds and get a pint of cockles or winkles – the only way to eat the freshest of seafood as you stroll along the promenade. After this, treat yourself to an ice cream at Tomassi’s, try their ‘Italian black magic’ special. For your evening meal, the Roslin Beach Hotel on Thorpe Esplanade has a contemporary restaurant with a terrace overlooking the beach and here you can enjoy the best in fresh local seafood.
Where can I Stay?
Premier Travel Inn Thorpe Bay is ideally located on the seafront and close to all the attractions in the town. The hotel has comfy rooms and its own restaurant.
Are There any Special Events?
The Southend Air Show is held every May bank holiday and is Europe’s largest free air show, you will see the famous Red Arrows acrobatic display team there. The London to Southend Classic Car Run, every summer ends in a fine parade of classic cars on Southend seafront.
- One of Southend's biggest events is the Old Leigh Regatta which this year takes place on the 21st and 22nd September. Organised by local scout groups, there's a maritime feel to the weekend including competitions which are nautically inspired. With face painting, plays and more for the kids, everyone will enjoy the day out.