Guide to Shoeburyness
Shoeburyness is either a sleepy beach, or action packed adventure, depending on what you make of it. Sandy beaches and huge sea views make Shoeburyness a different experience from the main pebble beaches of Southend. But there’s more to Shoeburyness than sand - from wildlife to local history.
Hire a bike from Southend Central
Cool venture The Comfy Saddle is based right in the station. It’s super easy to hire a bike - they have recommended routes, maps and cycle friendly cafes. It’s about 10-15 minutes from there to the Barge Pier for the Poppies. On the way, stop at Ocean Beach, a popular beachside cafe and restaurant, or take a classy rest to drink cocktails at the Roslin Beach Hotel, in Thorpe Bay en-route.
Beaches and Parks
Despite the military history, most visitors to Shoebury (as the locals call it) come for the beaches. There are two long beaches to choose from. West Beach (or Common beach) is nearest to Southend and houses the trusty local favourite Uncle Tom’s cafe. Sand replaces Southend's pebble on East Beach, which is closer to Shoeburyness station, if you’re coming direct. There’s also a park with small play area for the kids there, too.
Shoebury Park is ideal for families, offering the chance to go fishing (the waters fishable on a day ticket basis) plus playing fields, ornamental gardens, a BMX and skateboarding area, sports facilities and a large children’s play area.
Fine Food and Fab Ice Creams
If you’re heading to the beach, Uncle Tom’s Cabin is the place to go for tea and refreshments while taking a walk on the common, or West Beach. They serve Marshfield Farm real dairy ice cream - it’s worth the trip!
The Shoeburyness Hotel (No 1. The high Street, SS3 9AJ) is housed in a refurbished historic building at the gateway to the old garrison. It’s no longer a hotel, but a rustic brasserie and wine bar.
A short walk in the opposite direction and The Harvester pub (SS3 9HQ) has great views overlooking the sea and an excellent patio.
Nearer to the seafront than the Parson’s Barn is another trusty pub, The Old Garrison (Campfield Road, SS3 9BX) with beer garden and climbing fort for kids.
Kitesurfing and Windsurfing
For a taster of adventure, book a trial session at Essex Kitesurf School. East Beach at Shoebury is one of the best places in the country to learn, due to its shallow, calm water and good cross winds. As the tide goes out at East Beach the water level drops, which allows safe shallow waters for about a mile. At the other end of the scale back over in Chalkwell (to the far west of Southend) experienced kitesurfers attempt speed records here.
In recent history the town was most well known for being a garrison town and is still home to Ministry of Defence site at Pig’s Bay. The MoD site last housed artillery units in 1976, but since then it’s now protected and managed for the MoD. Although the public can’t access the MoD site, you can see the old listed buildings and the building also now converted to private residential housing, too.
In the middle of the Garrison complex is a nature conservation area, ideal for dog walking, with lovely views of the period buildings, old-fashioned cannons and brick archways that surround them. Outside the Garrison, the Essex Wildlife Trust manages the Gunners Park nature reserve, home to rare species as well as migrating birds and plenty of local hares!
Shoeburyness is a small town, three miles east from Southend Central station (5km). It’s a nice walk (or cycle) along the seafront from Southend, past Thorpe Bay and out to Shoeburyness. There’s a station at Shoeburyness and Thorpe Bay, but our favourite way is to hire a bike from Southend Central and cycle along the wide promenade cycle paths.