Our Clacton-on-Sea entertainment round-up includes theatre and cinema options, the brilliantly renovated arts hub that is Jaywick Martello Tower and the Clacton Airshow, which draws in a cool quarter of a million visitors each year.
Entertainment in Clacton-on-Sea
Theatre and Cinema
Theatre and cinema-goers are spoilt for choice in Clacton-on-Sea, with several excellent venues to choose from. The largest playhouse in the area is Princes Theatre, an 820-capacity Grade II-listed building that hosts everything from family shows and live music to stand-up comedy and tribute events. The large proscenium arch venue was built in 1931 and has been updated over the years to include retractable seating and a licensed bar, and is just a five-minute walk from our Clacton-on-Sea Seafront hotel.
The other alternative in Clacton-on-Sea is the slightly smaller West Cliff Theatre on Freeland Road, a few blocks back from Marine Parade. The 600-capacity theatre has a diverse range of programming spanning musicals, live music, comedy, drama and dance, and also offers free parking at their Freeland Road car park. The oldest theatre in the region, dating back to 1894, it was owned by Will Hammer in the 1930s, who later went on to found Hammer Films, the noted horror movie company.
Staying on a cinematic theme, film fans will want to check out Century Cinema, a historic two-screen theatre that’s been at the heart of Clacton’s movie scene since the 1930s. Both screens were updated in 2013, adding air conditioning, Sony 4K projectors and Dolby Digital 7.1 surround sound. As well as screening the latest blockbuster action across the 400-capacity and 76-capacity screens, the cinema hosts a variety of special theme and tribute events and also live-streams ballet and opera from West End shows.
Jaywick Martello Tower
Once a robust fort designed to defend the country from Napoleon, the Jaywick Martello Tower in Clacton has been brilliantly repurposed and is now a thriving arts centre encompassing an art gallery, heritage and workshop space. Open Wednesday to Sunday from April to September and on weekends during the winter, the tower is nestled on the coastline providing 360-degree views across the coastline and back over the Essex countryside. As well as the art on display and the regular workshops, the site has plenty of artefacts and historical exhibitions, including a rooftop cannon
Attracting over a quarter-million flying fans each year, the Clacton Airshow is one of the biggest annual events in the region. A mainstay for nearly three decades, the two-day airshow takes place towards the end of August and brings together aerobatic displays, parachute shows, a large food and entertainment area and a spectacular firework show from Clacton Pier. The event is free to enter and you can bring your own food and drinks to beat the queues from the on-site vendors. Another festival worth keeping an eye out for is Beside the Seaside, a family-orientated one-day festival held on Clacton Beach at the start of June.