Southend-On-Sea: Where to eat and stay

PUBLISHED: 17:17 29 June 2015 | UPDATED: 17:27 29 June 2015

Sunset at Southend with a view of  Adventure Island

Sunset at Southend with a view of Adventure Island


The Countrywide Great Tour begins on 4 July 2015 and takes place over 64 days visiting various coastal locations across the UK. Cyclists will begin to arrive in Southend-on-Sea on the afternoon of 7 August (Day 35) after a ride along the coast from Ipswich, and leave on Day 36.

Map showing the route of Stage 36 - Southend to ChathamMap showing the route of Stage 36 - Southend to Chatham

Southend-on-Sea was once the poor southern neighbour of nearby Prittlewell, and home to a few fisherman huts and farms, but that all changed when, in the 1790s, landowner Daniel Scratton decided to sell some land either side of what would become the high street. On this land the Grand Hotel (now Royal Hotel) and Grove Terrace (now Royal Terrace) were built by 1794, and the town was born. However it was in Victorian times and the arrival of the railway when the town really arrived as a popular seaside destination.

It is particularly known for having the world’s longest pleasure pier, which stretches some 1.33 miles (2.14 km) into the Thames Estuary.

There are seven miles of seafront and a great selection of sandy beaches that offer everything from water sports and relaxing sunbathing spots to entertainment and restaurants.

For those wanting to explore both the town and the beach front, while waiting for the cyclists to appear, the Cliff Railway (a funicular railway) that links both, is a great way to travel between the two and save your legs, especially useful for cyclists who have finished early. For those venturing away from the sea there is a good selection of shops, restaurants and bars as well as art galleries, museums and historic places of interest to discover.

Things to do with the family

Sea Life Adventure Aquarium

Well worth a visit, this aquarium is home to all different types of sealife including seahorses, frogs and tropical fish

Belfairs Wood

Take a stroll through Belfairs Wood. There’s even a play area with an assault course and wooden fort, large enough to entertain the children for hours while you await the cyclists.

Adventure Island

For those seeking some adrenaline-filled time Adventure Island amusement park with more than 40 rides and attractions, has to be the answer. From blue banded rides for maximum thrills and those over 1.2 metres tall to the red banded for the smaller people among us and those liking a tranquil life, there is something for everyone.

Where to stay

Roslin Beach Hotel
The Roslin Beach Hotel, situated on the seafront in the popular area of Thorpe Bay has 62 rooms including three luxurious suites. The hotel has been awarded four stars by the AA and VisitEngland and has an AA rosette restaurant.

The Ilfracombe Hotel

Awarded four stars by the AA this seafront hotel is ideally situated adjacent to the promenade in the town’s conservation area and just minutes from many of the town’s attractions and restaurants.

Suenos Guest House

This five star guest house is situated in the popular Thorpe Bay on the Thames estuary. It has five individual gorgeous room and has a certificate of excellence from Trip Adviser

Where to eat

La Petit Petanque

Situated in Cambridge Square Gardens La Petit Petanque is a previous winner at Essex Life’s Food and Drink awards and serves light bites as well as mains, from sandwiches and jacket potatoes to homemade fishcakes and vegetable korma

Sandbank Restaurant
Situated in a former bank in Leigh on Sea, the Michelin guide says that it is “now a spacious restaurant with a high ceiling, a classic black and white theme and a tropical fish tank in a dramatic feature wall. Wide-ranging menu of well-presented dishes with clear flavours.”

Legend Deli

A quirky gourmet café situated in the Market Place, it has a certificate for excellence from Trip Adviser and serves a diverse range of tasty food with influences from all over the world

Do you want to take part in the Great tour? To enter, head over to the Countrywide Great Tour website.

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