15 Best Things To Do In Southend, England

15 Best Things To Do In Southend, England

By will

Hey there! I’m here to tell you about the 15 best things to do in Southend, England. Whether you’re looking for a fun day out with the family, a romantic date, or just some alone time, Southend has something to offer everyone.

From the iconic Southend Pier to the historic Hadleigh Castle, there are plenty of sights to see and places to explore.

So, let’s get started and explore the 15 best things to do in Southend!

Southend Pier

Southend Pier
Photo by Steve Daniels

You simply can’t miss a trip to Southend Pier – it’s a must-see for anyone visiting the area!

At 1.34 miles, it’s the longest pleasure pier in the world, and as such, it’s the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll or a spot of fishing.

Along the way, you’ll find plenty of attractions, such as the pier railway, restaurants, and arcades.

Plus, there are spectacular views of the sea, and the pier is also a great spot for a few pictures to remember your trip by.

All in all, a visit to Southend Pier is a great way to spend an afternoon in Southend.

Adventure Island

Adventure Island
Photo by Des Blenkinsopp

Head to Adventure Island for a thrilling day of fun and excitement! This family-friendly amusement park in Southend, England is the perfect place to have an unforgettable day. It’s home to an array of thrilling rides, including roller coasters, drop towers, and ferris wheels.

Plus, there’s plenty of activities for the little ones such as go-karts and a mini train. And if that’s not enough, there’s also a water park with slides, water cannons, and a wave pool.

With so much to do, Adventure Island is an ideal destination for a day of fun and excitement. Whether you’re looking for a thrill or just looking to relax, there’s something for everyone at Adventure Island.

So grab your swimsuit, sunscreen, and a sense of adventure and head to Adventure Island for a day of fun!

The Royals Shopping Centre

View of the Royals shopping centre from the bridge leading to the pier
Photo by Robert Lamb

Explore the Royals Shopping Centre for a luxurious day of indulgence and relaxation! This shopping centre is the perfect place to explore the latest fashion trends, treat yourself to a new outfit, or just window shop.

With hundreds of stores to choose from, there is something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a new dress, some shoes, or accessories, the Royals Shopping Centre has it all.

The centre also features a number of restaurants and cafes, allowing you to take a break from shopping and enjoy a bite to eat. With its wide range of options, the Royals Shopping Centre offers something for everyone.

Make sure to explore all the stores and take in the atmosphere of this vibrant shopping centre.

Hadleigh Castle

Nestled in Southend, England, Hadleigh Castle offers an exquisite glimpse into the past. Built in the 1250s by Hubert de Burgh, the castle was once a grand fortress and residence of royalty.

Today, it stands as a ruin to admire and explore. Visitors can embark on a self-guided tour of the castle and its grounds, where they can enjoy the magnificent views of the Thames estuary.

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Hadleigh Castle also provides many activities for visitors to partake in. It has a designated picnic area, where guests can spend some leisurely time appreciating the views. The castle also hosts a range of events, such as medieval re-enactments and concerts.

There are also various events held in the castle grounds such as archery and falconry displays. With so much to do, Hadleigh Castle is a must-see for anyone visiting Southend.

Prittlewell Priory

Discover the history of Prittlewell Priory, a former Augustinian monastery located in Southend, England, and explore the remains of its 13th-century church.

I’m always fascinated by the history of these old buildings, and Prittlewell Priory is no exception. It’s a great spot to take a historical tour and learn about the lives of the monks who once lived there.

The priory was founded in the 12th century and the existing buildings date from the 13th century. It was a popular destination for pilgrims, who often stayed here before traveling to nearby Canterbury.

The ruins of the priory are now a great spot for picnics and nature walks, as well as for exploring the history of the area. There are also occasional concerts and events held in the ruins, which make it a great place to visit on a warm summer day.

Southchurch Hall Museum

Take a step back in time and immerse yourself in the history of Southend when you visit Southchurch Hall Museum.

This 14th-century manor house is a great place to learn more about the area’s past.

You can explore the museum’s interactive exhibits, which provide a fascinating glimpse into the past.

From artifacts and photographs to audio-visual displays and audio tours, you can discover the history of this charming seaside town.

The museum also offers educational programs for children and adults, as well as regular events and activities.

You can also browse the museum’s gift shop, which is full of unique souvenirs and books that capture the essence of Southend.

Whether you’re an avid history enthusiast or just looking for a fun day out, Southchurch Hall Museum is the perfect place for you.

Chalkwell Park

You’ll be enchanted by the beauty of Chalkwell Park, a picturesque park located in Southend-on-Sea.

Located on the Eastcliff of the town, this park boasts expansive views of the Thames Estuary. It’s a perfect place to take a leisurely stroll, with plenty of pathways and grassy areas to explore.

You’ll find a children’s playground, a café, and a wide range of activities to enjoy, such as tennis, bowls, and cricket. There’s also plenty of flora and fauna to admire, from majestic trees to a wide variety of birds.

Chalkwell Park is a great spot for a picnic, and you can even take your dog along. With its stunning scenery and tranquil atmosphere, Chalkwell Park is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Southend-on-Sea.

Leigh-on-Sea Beach

Leigh-on-Sea Beach offers a chance to relax in a stunning seaside setting, with miles of golden sand stretching out before you and views of the Thames Estuary. This award-winning beach is the perfect spot for a peaceful day by the sea, where the shallow waters make it ideal for children to paddle and play.

Whether you’re looking for a spot of sunbathing, beachcombing, kayaking, or just to kick back and take in the views, Leigh-on-Sea Beach won’t disappoint. There’s plenty of amenities nearby, including shops, cafes, restaurants, and ice cream parlors.

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And when the tide comes in, you can even go crabbing in the estuary. So, if you’re looking for a place to escape the hustle and bustle and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet, Leigh-on-Sea Beach is the perfect spot.

East Beach

After enjoying the sandy shore of Leigh-on-Sea Beach, I switched gears and headed over to East Beach. This beach is known for its picturesque charm and for being the longest beach in Southend.

The sand here is a bit coarser and darker than Leigh-on-Sea’s, creating a unique atmosphere and a beautiful backdrop. The beach is also known for its abundance of activities and amenities, making it the perfect spot for a day out with family and friends.

From rock pooling to kite flying, there’s something for everyone to enjoy here. The beach also has a cafe, toilets, and showers, as well as plenty of parking, making it a great spot to spend the day.

Whether you’re looking to relax, have a picnic, or take part in some water sports, East Beach will surely provide you with a memorable experience.

Shoeburyness East Beach

Just a short drive away lies Shoeburyness East Beach, a stunning beach with plenty of activities and amenities to enjoy.

This beach is located at the mouth of the Thames Estuary and is the perfect destination for beach trips with friends and family. It boasts a wide variety of activities from swimming and watersports to beach volleyball and sunbathing.

There is a large car park close to the beach, as well as a number of shops and restaurants nearby. The beach also has a designated area for barbecues and a lovely view from the pier. It’s a great spot for taking pictures and admiring the sights of the estuary.

The beach is also perfect for a romantic walk on a summer evening. You can also visit the nearby nature reserve, which is a great way to take in the area’s natural beauty.

Shoeburyness East Beach is a great destination for any beach lover, offering a wide range of activities and amenities to enjoy.

Two Tree Island

Situated just off the coast of Leigh-on-Sea, Two Tree Island is a beautiful nature reserve with plenty of wildlife to explore.

A visit to this idyllic spot is sure to be a memorable one.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful stroll through the nature trails or hoping to spot some of the local wildlife, Two Tree Island will not disappoint.

Nature lovers will be in their element, as the island is also home to a variety of bird and plant species.

The views from the island’s observation points are incredible, with panoramic vistas of the surrounding area.

For a truly unique experience, visitors can spend the night on the island in one of the camping sites.

With a campfire and a starry sky, this is a great way to get away from it all and reconnect with nature.

Hadleigh Farm

Leaving Two Tree Island behind, I’m now at Hadleigh Farm. This historic farm is located in the borough of Southend-on-Sea and has been a working farm since the 1800s. It’s a great place to explore and experience life on a working farm.

Hadleigh Farm is owned by the Joseph Rank Trust. It is home to a variety of animals, including sheep, goats, pigs, donkeys, and ponies.

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It’s also a great place to take a walk and relax in the countryside. The farm is also home to an adventure playground and a farm shop where you can pick up some delicious local produce.

Garrison Point Fort

Garrison Point Fort is a fascinating piece of history, with its 19th-century origins and stunning views across the Thames Estuary.

Built in the 1800s, the fort is an impressive structure with a unique atmosphere. Its rustic brick walls and gun emplacements make it a popular spot for photographers looking to capture the beauty of the English coastline.

Visitors can explore its grounds, which include a parade ground, barracks, and even a former hospital. The fort also has an impressive collection of artillery, from World War II to the Napoleonic period.

It’s a great spot to learn about the local history and enjoy the stunning views along the estuary. The fort is also a great spot for picnics and family outings, with plenty of benches and a playground nearby.

Whether you’re looking for a day of learning or a peaceful spot to relax, Garrison Point Fort is a great destination.

Southend Cliff Lift

Located a few miles away from Garrison Point Fort, Southend Cliff Lift is a must-see attraction for any visitor to the area. This Victorian-era funicular railway is the only one of its kind in the world, and its stunning views of the Thames Estuary make it a great spot to take photographs.

Its two cars travel along a track that winds between the cliffs of the town’s Eastern Esplanade and the pier. The journey takes about 4 minutes, and visitors can spend time at the top to take in the views.

The Cliff Lift is a great way to experience the beauty of the area, and it also offers a unique glimpse into the town’s past. The Victorian-era funicular was built in 1912 and has been lovingly restored to its original condition. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon, and visitors can even take a ride in a vintage car from the 1930s.

Southend Cliff Lift is a great place to visit and it’s a great way to experience the past and present of this unique town.

Southend Cliffs Amusement Park

After the spectacular views from the Southend Cliff Lift, why not keep the fun going and visit Southend Cliffs Amusement Park?

Located in the heart of Southend, this amusement park is a great destination for both kids and adults alike.

With a wide variety of thrilling rides, fun games, and numerous food and drink vendors, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a fast-paced roller coaster or a gentle carousel ride for the kids, you’ll find it here.

There are also plenty of opportunities to win prizes at the park’s classic games, like Duck Hunt and Skeeball. And if you’re feeling hungry, there are plenty of snacks and treats to choose from.

Plus, there’s live entertainment and shows throughout the day to keep you entertained.

So come to Southend Cliffs Amusement Park and have a blast!


I’ve had a great time exploring Southend, England. From the iconic pier to the thrilling amusement park, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Shopping and history buffs can explore the Royals Shopping Centre and Hadleigh Castle, while nature lovers can take in the breathtaking views of Hadleigh Farm.

For a unique experience, why not take a ride on the Southend Cliff Lift? There’s also Garrison Point Fort to explore, and Prittlewell Priory for a dose of culture.

All in all, it’s been a day filled with some of the best things to do in Southend.

About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.