As one of the most popular destinations in the UK, the sunny seaside town of Southend-on-Sea has plenty of activities and unique attractions. However, with so much on offer there are bound to be a few hidden gems that fall under the radar for both tourists and local residents. If you’re hoping to get the full South Essex experience, fear not! In this article we’ll be covering some of Southend’s best lesser known spots.
Always wanted to try your hand at water sports? Well in South Essex there are ample schools and lessons available in a number of activities for adrenaline junkies looking for the thrill of windsurfing or those looking for the calm of paddleboarding, canoeing and kayaking.
You can learn how to scuba dive with Dive Odyssea who run trips and training in the UK and abroad. With Essex Windsurfing and Essex Kitesurfing you can harness the power of wind to look effortlessly cool (after a few lessons of course) and you can hire and complete courses in canoeing and kayaking with Perfect Day Watersports. They also do level 2 Powerboat training for those looking for the thrill of high speed boats.
Rock climbing and bouldering is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK and IndiRock is the best spot in Southend to reach new heights. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran, wanting to learn with instructors or simply looking for a little bit of one-off fun, IndiRock has something for all ages and abilities. Keep an eye out for their special themed nights with the likes of Star Wars with UV climbing holds. Even if climbing isn’t for you, they have a great coffee shop packed with healthy food and sweet treats so you can marvel at the climbers whilst enjoying a toastie or some cake. Ideally located in the town centre, you won’t have to stray too far to go visit the bouldering wall.
Nearest Station: Southend Central (7 min walk from the station)
Address: Victoria Shopping Centre, 362 Chartwell Square, Southend-on-Sea, SS2 5SP
Caddies Mini Golf
Perfect for families, friends and especially date night, Caddies Golf is more than just a series of fun and challenging courses with unique obstacles. Decked out in a striking retro design, they also offer amazing food and cocktails at an affordable price to make this the ideal night (or day) out.
Nearest c2c station: Southend Central (6 min walk from station)
Address: Caddies, 12 London Rd, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 1NT
Classic games with a twist. Kingpins bowl is the newest generation of ten-pin bowling, with state-of-the-art interactive lanes. Completely customisable, choose from plenty of different features to play different games or make the ball look like it’s flying through space. Words don’t do justice to this exciting new-gen version of bowling. Head to their website here where you can see it in action. Kingpins is more than just a bowling alley; it also features an arcade, restaurant and AR darts where you can play plenty of different games with an auto-scoring system to save you the trouble.
Nearest c2c station: Southend Central (9 min walk from station)
Address: Kingpins Bowl Southend, Lucy Rd, Southend-on-Sea SS1 2AU
Looking for something a little less high-octane to avoid the hustle and bustle of the town centre without veering too far? Churchill Gardens is a lesser known park still in the heart of Southend with a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere complete with artistic ornaments and picturesque stream and waterfall. Free to visit and dog friendly, this is the perfect place to unwind.
Nearest c2c station: Southend Central (19 min walk from station)
Address: Victoria Avenue, Southend-onSea, Essex, SS2 6LT
Gunners Park and Shoebury Ranges Nature Reserve
This is one of the most diverse walks in the UK. Teeming with various wildlife and historical buildings, this walk along the south Essex coastline boasts some fantastic views. Due to Gunners Park’s close proximity to both the Thames Estuary and the Shoebury Old Ranges Site, wildlife enthusiasts will be able to see everything from rare insects to migrating birds and even a grey seal that occasionally makes an appearance. Free to visit, dog friendly and picnics encouraged, this is an ideal walk for some seriously scenic views.
Nearest c2c station: Shoeburyness (20 min bus or 30 min walk from the station)
Address: Shoebury Common Road (B1016) Shoeburyness, Essex
The Brunch Company
The Brunch Company is a great way to start, or have a break during a day in Leigh-on-Sea. Located in the centre of the town, they offer a fantastic variety of breakfast foods and brunch options with a unique spin as well as a great selection of shakes and cocktails to choose from. If you fancy something even more special, they also host bottomless brunches every Friday and Saturday from 14:00 – 20:30.
Stoked Vegan BBQ
The revolutionary Stoked Vegan BBQ is the first vegan BBQ restaurant in the UK and is quickly building a fantastic reputation. This Southern USA diner themed eatery offers amazing 100% vegan food made in house by their highly skilled chefs. Complete with an impressive array of craft beers, Stoked regularly sells out of its one of a kind menu that changes every 6 weeks so no visit is the same. So make sure you book a table with their incredibly friendly staff to dine at this vegan must.
Nearest c2c station: Westcliff Station (22 min walk from station)
Address: 787 London Rd, Westcliff-on-Sea, Southend-on-Sea, Westcliff-on-Sea SS0 9UW
La Petite Pétanque
Feeling nostalgic for the 1920s? La Petite Pétanque is a tranquil restaurant hidden in the centre of Southend in the preserved conservation part of town. Located on the original 1920’s bowling pavilion, this converted restaurant now looks over the pristine bowling green with traditional decor. Complete with fantastic food, drinks and service, this is an ideal spot for a peaceful lunch before going back to the lively town centre.
Nearest c2c station: Southend Central (5 min walk from station)
Address: Cambridge Square Gardens, The Bowling Green Pavilion, Cambridge Road, Clifftown, Southend-on-Sea SS1 1EY
Pieno Lleno is an authentic Mexican restaurant with an amazing selection of traditional Central American dishes including fajitas, enchiladas, tacos and more. They also have a vegan menu available, saving you from scanning through the menu for the classic ‘Vg’ sign. Not quite in the mood for traditional Mexican food? That’s okay, they also have a variety of burgers, pastas, pizzas and more to suit everyone’s cravings.
Nearest c2c station: Southend Central (13 min walk from station)
Address: 68 Marks Ct, Southchurch Ave, Southend-on-Sea SS1 2RJ