Monday, 26 August 2013


Our second day at Down Hall and after another hearty breakfast we joined our fellow travellers for a trip to Southend-on-Sea.

Originally the "south end" of the village of Prittlewell, Southend became a seaside resort during the Georgian era attracting many tourists in the summer months to its seven miles of beaches and bathing in the sea. Southend is actually on the Thames Estuary not on the coast, and from the beach one can actually see Kent.   Good rail connections and proximity to London mean that much of the economy has been based on tourism and that Southend has been a dormitory town for city workers ever since.    There are nine railway stations on two lines within the borough which connect it to London.

The first thing we did when we arrived in Southend was to walk along the the promenade, here I am with the pier in the background.

Southend Pier is the world's longest pleasure pier at 1.34 mi (2.16 km). It has suffered fires and ship collisions, most recently in October 2005, but the basic pier structure has been repaired each time.  Since 1986, a diesel-hydraulic railway has run the length of the pier, replacing the electric service which opened in 1890.

Southend, like many other British sea-side resorts, went into decline as a holiday destination from the 1960s, since flights and hence holidays abroad became more affordable. Since then, much of the town centre has been developed for commerce and retail, and during the 1960s many original structures were lost to redevelopment. However, about 6.4 million tourists still visit Southend per year.

We walked the length of the promenade and back up the other side, where we stopped for lunch of traditional fish and chips and a cup of tea (yes that's right tea not ale) at one of the many cafes offering the traditional British seaside fare.    For some reason we didn't take many photographs at Southend but MWM did take this short video clip of the sea front so you can see what it's like.

The town is known for its seafront and attractions.  An amusement park, formerly known as Peter Pan's Playground, straddles the pier entrance. Peter Pan's Playground was eventually renamed Adventure Island as its size and popularity grew, and has since grown with over 50 rides.   MWM fancied going on one of the roller coaster rides but they are definitely not my cup of tea and he didn't want to go on his own so he gave it a miss.  The seafront also houses the "Sea-Life Adventure"aquarium, owned by the Miller family, who also own Adventure Island.

The cliff gardens, which included Never Never Land and a Victorian bandstand were an attraction until slippage in 2003 made parts of the cliffs unstable, and the bandstand has been removed. The council wants to re-erect the bandstand but a location has to be found.  Art on the Railings is a regular exhibition for local artists who display their work on Pier Hill and The London to Southend Classic Car run takes place each summer and features classic cars which line the seafront.  The Southend Shakedown, organised by Ace Cafe, is an annual event featuring motorbikes and scooters. There are other scooter runs throughout the year, including the Great London Rideout, which arrives at Southend seafront each year.

A modern vertical lift links the base of the High Street with the seafront and the new pier entrance. The older Southend cliff Railway, a short funicular, is a few hundred metres away.  We took the modern lift up to the new shopping area of of the town where we mooched around the shops and enjoyed the sunshine (it was a lovely sunny, warm day), then we found a bar where we enjoyed a pint of real ale, well it's thirsty work shopping isn't it?

All too soon it was time to head back to the seafront to meet our coach for the journey back to the hotel, where we had time for a short rest before getting ready for another delicious dinner and a relaxing drink on the hotel patio.

Next time we visit Colchester, I  hope you'll join me.


Daryl said...

more fabulous views and you, my dear, are looking wonderful .. i like your hair!!

Finding Pam said...

What a lovely trip. I felt like I was there from your description of everything.

Akelamalu said...

Why thankyou Daryl, I surrender to the curls sometimes too as it's at that inbetween stage of growing.

Glad you enjoyed it Pam x

Maggie May said...

Thanks for showing us Southend and the east coast and trips to London are always good to do.

I also love Colchester. A lovely Roman city so look forward to that.
Maggie x

Nuts in May

Ron said...

Daryl took the words right out of my mouth...m'dear, you are looking WONDERFUL! LOVE the haircut as well. And such beautiful eyes you have!

And I also noticed that you were drinking a Merlot. I've only started drinking that and LOVE it!

Great photos and video!

And you mentioned "Kent" - that's where one of the girls I used to work with in Florida is from. I've seen photos of the area and it looks lovely!

Thank you for another FAB tour post!

Have a super week!

Mama Zen said...

Sounds like a marvelous place!

Beach Bum said...

Southend, like many other British sea-side resorts, went into decline as a holiday destination from the 1960s, since flights and hence holidays abroad became more affordable.

There were several very nice family amusement parks on the coast of South Carolina that went downhill about the same time. The expansion of the national interstate system promoted far more long distance travel than was usual driving down attendance. When the big theme parks started opening in the 1970's that killed off the rest that were trying to hang on.

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

wow what a long pier! i don't think it would last long around here with the hurricanes!

smiles, bee

Cloudia said...

Lovely to see you looking so relaxed and well!

ALOHA, Friend
from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

Akelamalu said...

Thankyou for the lovely compliment Ron, you're very kind. I'm growing my hair so it's a bit hit and miss at the moment! LOL We love red wine, Rioja is our favourite but we do like Merlot. I have relatives that live in Kent, we didn't go there on this trip but I can say it is indeed a beautiful part of the UK and is called 'The Garden Of England' with good reason. x

It's fun for sure Mama Zen :)

Southend seems to have picked itself up and was really very busy Beach. Easier travel has definitely taken it's toll on local holiday resorts here.

Ha ha luckily we don't usually get hurricanes here Bee!

Thankyou Cloudia xx

Valerie said...

Great pictures of you and MWM, Pearl, the wine looks good too... grins. I have been to Southsea but a long time ago, I bet I wouldn't recognise it now... except through your photographs. I shall definitely accompany you to Colchester.

Akelamalu said...

Not Southsea Valerie, that's near Portsmouth, we went to Southen-on-Sea in Essex, probably why you didn't recognise it.

Valerie said...

Sorry Pearl, that was my tired brain working... I did know where you were.

Akelamalu said...

LOL no problem Valerie. x

Melanie said...

looks very relaxing!

MorningAJ said...

It's years since I went to 'Sarfend'. Glad you had a good time.

rosneath said...

Sounds fun, while I am taking care of elderly parents LOML is in Broadstairs ... similar provenance to Southend!

rosneath said...

ps - something's changed here because it used to be that I could never comment! Now I can - hooray!

Flowerpot said...

And good weather, too - wel ldone you!

Akelamalu said...

The seafront at Southend was relaxing but the rest of the town was very, very busy Melanie. :)

First time we've been to Sarfend AJ.

I've never been to Broadstairs Rosneath, must remedy that! Glad to hear you can comment now. x

Yes we were very lucky with the weather all week Flowerpot :)

bindhiya said...

Dear Akelamalu,
What a wonderful trip!
you are looking beautiful as ever!!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

You're visiting some great places. I always find with our English sea side resorts, there's always lots of history and a story behind either their decline or success.

My mum loves Cambridge though I've never been. Lovely photos.

CJ x

Akelamalu said...

It was and thank you very much for the compliment Bindhi x

We absolutely love these coach trips seeing part of Britain we've never seen Crystal Jigsaw. I can understand why your Mum loves Cambridge, it's a great city.

Travis Cody said...

When it comes time to plan our trip to the British Isles, I'm going to feel like I know exactly what I want to see because of these wonderful travel logs of yours.

Akelamalu said...

Oh I'm so happy you find our trips useful in planning yours Trav. I'll be so interested to read your accounts of your trip here. x