Things to do in Southend

We do like to be beside the seaside, don't we? And if you had to pick the perfect resort to visit for a taste of a traditional British weekend of sandcastles, ice cream and fish and chips, Southend-on-Sea would surely be close to the top of the list. The town boasts some famous features, such as the iconic Southend Pier and seafront amusements. When it comes to entertainment and attractions in Southend-on-Sea, things to do are in plentiful supply, alongside sophisticated dining, high-class theatre, ruined castle remains and coastal beauty spots, many of which are easy to explore from one of our Southend hotels.

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Attractions

While Southend Pier is the town’s most iconic sight, there’s so much more to see as well, from the historic Hadleigh Castle ruins to scenic parks with majestic views over the seafront.

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Culture

Away from the colourful appeal of the seafront, Southend-on-Sea boasts art galleries and museums, which are well worth a visit. The town also stages popular cultural events throughout the year, including its annual film festival.

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Activities

When you’re by the sea, why not have a go at something new and exciting, like kitesurfing or kayaking? Alternatively, you can stick to dry land with the thrills of Adventure Island theme park.

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Shopping

Two main shopping centres full of major high street chains will more than meet your retail therapy needs on a visit to Southend-on-Sea. On top of that, the town also has some interesting markets to offer.

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Theatre

Southend’s two main theatres both offer a glimpse of thespian history, as well as a wide variety of high-quality performances, from mainstream musicals to acclaimed comedians. Find out everything you need to know to catch a show during your stay.

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Entertainment

There’s a vibrant live music circuit in Southend-on-Sea, or if you prefer drama and comedy, the town’s two main theatres attract some top-drawer shows. Add in the sporting scene and there’s plenty to keep you entertained.

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Places to eat

Local seafood specialities rub shoulders with more exotic flavours from around the world, including Sicilian, Mexican and South Indian. This variety makes the many cafés and restaurants in Southend tempting to every palate.

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Nightlife

Whether you’re looking for a club with urban vibes, boisterous live music or a sophisticated setting for post-beach cocktails, there’s nightlife aplenty in Southend-on-Sea. Read our guide to discover the best places to be when the sun goes down.

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Pubs

There are gastropubs and backstreet locals galore in Southend-on-Sea. You can take your pick from a contemporary setting or a quaint slice of tradition offered by the historic Crooked Billet.

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Southend Pier

No matter when you visit the town, it’s well worth taking time out for a stroll along the world famous Southend Pier, which also offers its own museum revealing the pier’s fascinating history.

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Getting around

You won’t have any trouble getting to the town, thanks to Southend Airport. Plus, there are no fewer than three main railway station. And once you’re there, you’ll find it’s easy to get around by bus or by using the extensive cycling trails.

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Our video guide to Southend

Our map of Southend

Southend Map