What to see
You’ll find accounts of Southend’s tourist attractions in Towns of Two Halves (and of 91 other places: order the book now for £8 from firstname.lastname@example.org). For additional information plus shopping, eating out etc there’s Visit Southend or Visit Essex.
Comment and colour
“Can there be a more appealing address among the English leagues’ 92 clubs? Roots Hall sounds like the home of one of Mr Toad’s dissolute cousins. It has an earthy charm.
“You could say the same about the town. Presumably, in years gone by, Southend was the first experience of ‘seaside’ for generations of Londoners. Sarfend-on-Mud is how it was known – unkind, perhaps, but Southend’s position on the Thames estuary makes the ‘on-sea’ sound a little forced.
“It’s a fine promenade, smooth and level, good for small kids on unsteady legs or for bigger ones on scooters. There are flat and undemanding cycle paths and ramps. On one side, at all times, is a fine sweep of beach.
“At the pier end of Marine Parade, Adventure Island is the main attraction. The beach then extends eastward past Sea Life Adventure, past an 18-hole crazy golf course, towards the town’s eastern margins.
“The Western Esplanade is different in character. From the prom the land rises steeply. A funicular called the Southend Cliff Lift carries a dozen passengers at a time up to the higher level, an ascent of about 17 metres.
“Southend has another, more famous, mechanical conveyance. The Southend Pier Railway runs for a mile and a quarter out towards Kent on the largely featureless structure that is Southend Pier. At the Essex end, beneath the shore station in the Old Pier Workshops, is Southend-on-Sea Pier Museum. Is it worth the 1.3 mile walk to the other end? Yes, to say you’ve been to the end of the world’s longest pleasure pier.
“If you go to Southend as a tourist, the weather is probably crucial. If you’re there as a football fan the result might be more important. Best, then, to go as both.”
(This is an extract from Towns of Two Halves. To read more on Southend and 91 other places, order the book for £8 from email@example.com)
More Southend links:
Southend Museums & Galleries