This beautiful stretch of Essex coastline is fast becoming more than just a stopping point for Londoners who've never seen the sea before—here are some fabulous reasons to experience the understated nature of Southend-on-Sea
Where to stay
For those seaside-seeking individuals who long for lungs full of fresh air in the morning, there's a snugly nestled sanctuary by the name of Roslin Beach Hotel that provides exactly that. With shore-facing balconies, you can throw open your curtains and get whipped up in the quiet frenzy of whistling sea breeze and gulp in the ever-changing view.
Downstairs, among the glamourous littoral decor, an abundance of mouth-wateringly good food awaits. An award-winning menu offers seared scallops, vegan poké bowls, crispy pork and a delectable afternoon tea to name but a few options.
The atmospheric nature is dictated by the juxtaposition of warm lighting and soft furnishings with an up-to-date musical playlist that treats the ears to a soft house collection. And, while we're on music, melody lovers will be pleased to know that the rooms are treated to a jazzy record player each—and a sampled collection of soulful and moody records which you're free to enjoy. Pop one on and sing your heart out in the marbled power shower, then choose another while you get ready for the day ahead.
Where to eat
As a tourist, you'd be remiss to wander around and not enjoy the local delicacies. When you're not dining at Roslin Beach's restaurant, take yourself straight to a good old fashioned chippy. Oldham's Fish Restaurant will go down a treat and provide you with the authentic salty, vinegary flavours that a brisk walk along the coast is famous for making one crave.
If you're looking for a fish and chip meal with a view, head to The Peterboat, a where you'll find a sophisticated take on the classical beach dish.
Where to play
It's to be expected that when thinking of Southend-on-Sea, Adventure Island is one of the first activities that comes to mind. And certainly, for some, the thought of an outdoor, plasticky, theme-parked playground is an idea of hell. But consider this, it's free to enter and roam around and it oddly adds to the charm of the area. In a world where seriousness is often the only outlook, it can be a little fun to let go of the adult façade and pretend to be young once more.
In the same respect—being famous for its riotous roller-skating arenas—the chance to make a total a** of yourself while falling on your a** cannot be missed. Head down to Rollacity in the evening for some good music and even better Bambi impressions.
What to do
Southend is home to the longest pleasure pier in the world and it's not an attraction to be sniffed at. Reaching out 1.34 miles into the Thames Estuary it's a spectacle in its own right. Taking a walk down the length of the pier is a must, but there's also a train option for those who would rather it. Try heading there before sunset for some spectacular views from the ocean—you'll feel as though land is far away.
Another hot tip; go crabbing. And no, children aren't required in the group to do so (although they will love it) it's a ridiculously fun activity—every time you manage to lift and inspect a tiny crab it will be with glee. Walk out at low tide to some rock pools and find a spot to settle at (the many small bridges are perfect locations), and be careful to keep an eye on the tide as unwary tourists have been known to become trapped. Use a line with a bag of bacon attached to coax them out fo their hiding places and observe them crawling back to their habitats afterwards.
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