A Day on the Pier at Southend-on-Sea

Once a place where Kiss-me-Quick hats were almost as obligatory as a fistful of ice-cream from the famous Rossi’s, Southend-on-Sea is now a City and looking to become a proper grown-up resort.

Sunday excursions to Southend-on-Sea by train were our big break from the workplace when I lived and worked in London way, way back , so when the opportunity came to experience a day out in that fondly remembered place, my one desire was to once again walk the 1.4 mile Pier.

Southend-0n-Sea Pier
Amusement Park by Southend Pier

There wasn’t time to do much more because we had to fight our way to the end of the pier in a gale blowing off the North Sea, a bad-weather day that kept most people off the Pier apart from a few fishermen and a few intrepid walkers. The train still runs down the pier and we caught it back to the town (I can’t get used to calling it a city when there is a beach and an amusement park in front of me) when the clouds really turned black.

From the town there is a lift to the esplanade (photo above) but for those who don’t mind a climb and some extra leg-work, the walk down the slope past cafes, shops and ice-cream parlours is quite pleasant or there is a way down incorporating steps and platforms.

The kiosks and entertainment spots I remembered on the Pier are no longer there, just a vast expanse of boardwalk leading you to the end. So, here are just a few photographs of the Pier at Southend-on-Sea on a rainy, windy, day, when some flashes of blue lit up the sky to make us think the weather was on the change but it wasn’t, it was just nature teasing us.

Looking Across to the Kent coast from the end of the Pier

And when you’ve taken it all in, the views to Southend, the views across to Grain Island and the Kent Coast and the grey waters of the North Sea, then head for the modern tea-rooms, or sit on the steps as many do to enjoy the last rays of the sun, on the end of the longest pleasure pier in the world.

Tearooms on Southend Pier

Some people say that the Blue Plaque to Laurel & Hardy, on the pier, says all you need to know about the place, but it’s got more, a lot more, going for it, not least great restaurants and lovely people.

We caught the train when we saw these clouds approaching!

Recommendation: I was lucky enough to be taken to a decades-run family restaurant noted for its seafood, and if you need a recommendation I can say without hesitation that I had one of my best meals, ever (middle skate with brown butter if you’re asking) at

Tomassi’s, 9 High Street, Southend-on-Sea SS1 1JE. Open daily until 7 pm. Phone 01702 435000

22 thoughts on “A Day on the Pier at Southend-on-Sea”

  1. Lovely to see you back Mari, I don’t know why WordPress hasn’t been showing me your posts! I’ve had problems with comments too, not really sure if it’s my technical ‘skills’ (lack of!) or gremlins in the system. Anyway… love the pier, I love traditional seaside resorts. Even those with a faded charm. Those storm clouds looked ominous though, a retreat for a good meal was probably wise! Hope you are keeping well!

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    1. Never sure what’s happening with WP. I should change my theme as this one isn’t really working for me but I’m scared to do anything to upset the status quo! I’ve had a few blips on the health front recently and currently I’ve got Covid so I’m isolating and sleeping a lot. I’ll be back!

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  2. Wow, you managed to grab a quiet day – it looks so peaceful compared to the manic hot bank holiday when I was there. What a difference!!
    I love that cloud picture, looks like you headed off just in time 😊

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  3. Despite their decline, I still think there’s something slightly charming about our old English seaside resorts – in fact we live in one. We have the opposite view…on clear days we can see Southend across the water from our seafront in Kent. I used to go to Southend (well Shoeburyness) regularly with work…and always took a Southend stroll if time permitted.

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    1. Yes, there is a charm, but also a terrible anxiety now with lack of work and money being tight. Living as I do, on the Isle of Wight, I see the ravages caused not just to the seaside resorts but to pubs and social places in the interior suffering the knock-on effects. Let’s hope for a future where the problems are solved.

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      1. Yes absolutely, there’s been multiple reasons for the sad decline of pubs (one of my pet grumps), the biggest of which has been the greed of supermarket chains. COVID was another huge nail in the coffin of such places.

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  4. Would you believe that in over 60 years of living in London I’ve never been to Southend, either as a child or adult! My early childhood holidays were almost all in Kent rather than Essex and when my parents did venture to Clacton once they hated it! Maybe we should take a day trip, just to walk the pier!

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    1. I can well believe it, I have other friends in London who’ve never ventured there either. When I worked in London, the choice n Sunday was either Southend or Brighton, the former was much cheaper both in access and spending power when there, so Southend often won. You should go, but make sure you drive along the front to old Leigh-on-Sea, that really is an historic treat.

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      1. Train is a good idea, parking is a nightmare. You can walk to old Leigh-on-Sea along the esplanade – I think it’s about 4 miles, and the old original cockle sheds are still there, one or two of the boats from the old fishing fleet still work and the former houses are now trendy bars and restaurants – but it has great atmosphere.

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    1. I just had to mention that restaurant, it’s superb. I’d never had middle skate before and never see it on menus here. Like a lot of seaside places, Southend is going through a tough patch at the moment and without the lights (which they say are the equal to Blackpool’s) their autumn tourist trade is nearly nil.

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  5. 1.5 miles!!! That makes for a fine walk in and out doesn’t it !! We’ve two piers here in Dun Laoghaire that are about 1 mile each and are hugely popular. I’ve just googled Southend-on -sea to find its location – not on the south coast as expected!!

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    1. Nice to be back Marie. The next place along the sea front to Southend, Leigh-on-Sea – about 4 miles away – is a lovely old cobbled-street place with old buildings and cockle sheds, but when we went there we couldn’t park anywhere, so I wasn’t able to renew my acquaintance with that place. I shall be catching up with you from now on, i hope.

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