Southend On Sea

Southend-on-Sea is one of Britain’s most popular seaside resorts. The town has a population of over 160,000 and is situated on the South East coast, on the Thames Estuary. Forty miles from England’s capital, the Essex town combines lush parks with sandy beaches, sea-front arcades with a bustling high street and cockle sheds with buzzing nightlife.

Neighbouring village Great Wakering is renowned for being the driest place in the UK, but it is not just this weather that attracts visitors to the seaside – the main attraction of Southend is its pleasure pier, which is the longest in the world.


Southend’s pier stretches an impressive 1.33 miles into the sea, and offers fantastic views of Sheerness and the Isle of Sheppey. The record breaking construction was built in 1830, and has been revamped over recent years. The stylish new entrance onto the attraction is award winning, and the Pier Museum is popular with visitors.

The annual air show, which began in 1986, takes place each summer, attracting tens of thousands of spectators from near and far. Highlights of recent years include the crowd-pleasing Red Arrows, the Chinook and the Flying Circus’ wing-walkers. The display includes eight hours of flying time over two days and takes place along the seafront.

Adventure Island is a favourite with the younger visitors, and is open throughout the summer months. The beach-front fun park boasts free admission, and offers a range of tummy-churning rides. Next to Adventure Island is Southend’s Sealife Adventure, which is home to a variety of underwater creatures, including piranhas.

The seven mile stretch of sandy beaches includes the EU Blue Flag and ENCAMS Seaside Award winning East beach, which is an ideal haven from the busy bustle of the pier area.

Further along the stretch of beaches is the traditional fishing village of Old Leigh. Cockle sheds, craft shops and fishing boats capture the local history.

Hadleigh Castle, which is over 700 years old, is popular with ramblers, as is the nearby Hockley Woods, which is home to a host of wildlife.


The centre of Southend offers a wide range of shops. The high street, which stretches to almost half a mile long, is lined with shops selling jewellery, clothes, books, music, phones, gifts, cards and holidays – and more besides. Victoria Plaza and the Royals shopping centre offer a sheltered shopping spree.

For a more traditional experience, there is a farmer’s market selling fresh farm produce, every second and fourth Saturday of the month.

And for those who are still not satiated, Lakeside and Bluewater shopping centres are within 30 miles. Alternatively, head for the bright lights and ringing tills of London’s shops – just an hour away on the train.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Southend is not short of nightlife, with bars, pubs and clubs aplenty. There is a buzzing student population (from the University of Essex), and the variety of watering-holes and entertainment means there is a venue for everyone. Talk, Chameleon, Zinc, Baker’s Bar, Clarence Yard – from cheesy dance music to a chilled out wine bars, there is plenty of choice.

For a quieter night out, there is an eight-screen Odeon cinema situated in the town centre. There is also a thirty-lane bowling complex at the Kursaal Arcade, on the seafront.

For a nautical nibble, The Boatyard restaurant boasts fantastic views of the Thames Estuary from Old Leigh, and specialises in fish. Traditional fish and chip shops can be found under the arches in Westcliff on the seafront. Mamma Amalfi, Domenico’s and Mamma Mia’s all serve hearty Italian cuisine with a smile. Old fashioned English pub grub can be found a short drive away in any of the many pubs in the surrounding Essex countryside.

Tourist Information

Visitor Information CentreWestern EsplanadeSouthend PierSouthend-on-SeaEssex SS1 1EE Tel. 01702 215620Fax. 01702 611889

Tourist Information CentreHigh StreetSouthend-On-Sea Essex SS1 1DZTel: 01702 215120

Southend-on-Sea Borough


London Southend Airport is due to be refurbished in 2006, transforming it into the "newest, fastest low cost airport in the Eastern Region." (

In the past, there have been flights to Jersey, and it is hoped the redevelopment will lead to links to many other destinations for business and leisure passengers and cargo.

Stansted Airport is within an hour’s drive, and Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton and London City Airport are all well within reach.

All car hire locations in United Kingdom