Monday, 11 July 2011

SOUTHEND-ON-SEA

Southend-On-Sea is Essex's answer to Brighton, being its premier seaside resort. In fact, in one respect it has the edge on Brighton, namely that it boasts the longest pleasure pier in the world. So long, in fact, that those who don't fancy walking its length of 1.3 miles have the option of taking an electric railway. The pier was opened in 1830, and since then has suffered a number of mishaps mostly involving fires, but in one case a tanker crashed into the pier leaving a 70-foot gap. Like so many resorts of its kind, Southend boomed during the Victorian era, which left its legacy in the form of features such as the bandstand on the esplanade. There is no shortage of traditional seaside attractions such as amusements, parks and gardens, as well as an aquarium featuring an underwater glass tunnel.

The urban sprawl that constitutes present-day Southend had its beginnings as a village at the "south end" of a medieval priory called Prittlewell Priory, which is now surrounded by a park with attractions including tennis and bowls. Another quaint part of Southend's administrative area is Leigh-On-Sea, an old fishing village with a narrow cobbled high street where jellied eels and cockles from Maplin Sands further round the coast can be bought from stalls. It is possible to walk for 7 miles along the seafront from there to Shoeburyness, to the east of the resort, with its MOD artillery range.

Southend-On-Sea takes its annual Carnival very seriously, with an extensive diary of events listed on its website. For other events in the resort see here.

Map of the area.

File:Southend Pier Autumn 2007.jpg
Photo by Dammmmian, via Wikimedia Commons

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