Southend is one of the best loved and most friendly seaside resorts in eastern England. Popular with holidaymakers, it boasts a wide range of attractions with a good mix of traditional seaside leisure facilities, fronted by seven miles of award winning beaches and foreshore.

Southend sea front
Southend Seafront © Travel About Britain

Located within easy reach of London's east end, it is the nearest seaside to the capital and a key destination for day trippers. The lively seafront is seven glorious miles long, with hotels, fair rides, amusements, arcades, illuminations and gardens. The central, City Beach area has interactive fun fountains and state of the art lighting. For the more cultured, there are several historic houses and museums to visit, plus a bustling nightlife and over 300 eateries. Evening entertainment includes the Cliffs Pavilion, a popular concert hall and theatre venue.

city Beach

Southend Beach © Travel About Britain

The pier head is the focal point of the town, and one of the longest piers in the world at 1.3 miles (2.1 km) in length. It is traversed by a unique electric railway that runs for over one mile from the Esplanade out into the estuary. A museum at the pier entrance describes the history of the pier and its usage during Victorian times as a passenger terminus for French steamers. At the far end you will find a Lifeboat Centre, cafe, shop and spectacular views out across the Thames Estuary.

Southend became a popular resort in the early 19th century and boomed during Victorian times. Growing from a small hamlet called South End of Prittlewell, it quickly swallowed up the nearby villages along the coast. The ornamental gardens and Edwardian bandstand at Westcliff are a delight and Thorpe Bay, to the east, provides a quieter atmosphere, with its fine beach of sand and shingle. The village of Old Leigh, to the west, still has a thriving fishing community. A pleasant place where you can stand and watch the cockle boats being unloaded on the quay.

Southend Beach

Pridewell Priory Park (located in oldest part of town, to the north), contains remains of an 11th-c priory; now a local history museum. The surrounding parkland and gardens provide a 'tree trail', fishing lake, bowling green, tennis courts and other public facilities. Southend's many other beautiful parks and gardens win regular Britain in Bloom Awards, including the Cliff Gardens and The Shrubbery along the Esplanade.

Westcliff-on-Sea's Chalkwell Park has a peaceful memorial garden with beautiful rose beds, seasonal bedding displays and sport facilities. The extensive Belfairs Park, in Leigh-on-Sea, has a woodland centre, nature reserve, sports ground and 18 hole golf course.

Places of Interest and Attractions in Southend-on-Sea

Adventure Island

A spectacular seafront amusement and theme park with over 40 exciting rides and attractions. Suitable for all ages. A flexible ride band system lets you create your own adventures.


Opening times: - daily from Easter to October
Location: Western Esplanade, Southend-on-Sea SS1 1EE

Central Museum & Planetarium

Learn about the local and natural history of South East Essex. Includes a Planetarium and Discovery Centre packed with hands on activities.

Opening times: Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm - Free Entry
Location: Victoria Ave, Southend-on-Sea SS2 6EW
Tel: 01702 212345

Sealife Adventure

Sea Life Centre

Venture under the sea and be amazed by colourful marine life from England's coastal areas. Its traditional aquarium includes a walk-through tunnel, where you can get up close to sharks, rays, turtles and other colourful fish.

Opening times: see website for details - Admission Charge
Location: Eastern Esplanade, Southend-on-Sea SS1 2ER
Tel: 01702 442200

Southchurch Hall Museum

Located in Southchurch Hall Park, this fine 14th-c half-timbered moated house is set in beautiful gardens. Open to the public, it hosts a series of period room displays from the middle ages to Victorian times.

Opening times: - Saturday & Sunday: 11am to 3pm.
Location: Southchurch Hall Gardens, Park Ln, Southend-on-Sea SS1 2TE
Tel: 01702 467671

Southend Pier & Museum

Southend Pier

Located at the pier's entrance, this living museum portrays the history of the pier and life in the resort. Just outside the museum you can take the famous electric train to the end of the Pier, where you will find a Lifeboat Centre, cafe and shop.

Opening times: daily from 10:15am - Admission Charges for Museum & Train
Location: Western Esplanade, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS1 1H
Tel: 01702 611214

Prittlewell Priory & Museum

Prittlewell is 12th-c Cluniac priory that today houses the southeast Essex museum. The remains of the priory (founded in 1110 by Benedictine monks) includes a refectory, half-timbered prior's chamber, cellar and cloisters. The museum contains varied collections covering archaeology, history, social life and the natural history of south east Essex.

Opening times: Saturday & Sunday, 11am to 4pm
Location: Priory Lodge, Victoria Ave, Southend-on-Sea SS2 6NB
Tel: 01702 212190

Map of Southend-on-Sea


 • Festivals & Events  • Where to Stay  • What to Eat  • Walks & Trails  • Weather  • General Info  • News & Articles

UK Regions:

 • South East  • South West  • London  • East Anglia  • Midlands  • Wales  • North East  • North West  • Scotland