Southend-on-Sea; Friday, 11 June, 2021

I had a half day’s leave booked, so after shutting down the laptop I was able to head out for a lunchtime train up into London and then walked through the city from London Bridge to Fenchurch Street where I picked up the train out to Southend.

It was a quick walk through Southend from the station down to the hotel, and after checking in and dropping my stuff off in my room I headed out into town for the afternoon.

The hotel itself overlooks the pier, which at some 1.3 miles long is the longest pleasure pier in the world, and that was where I headed first.

Access to the pier is charged, irrespective of how you’d like to get along it – so rather than paying to walk a mile out to sea I opted to pay the little extra and let the worlds longest pleasure pier railway (as you’d expect it to be given it’s on the world’s longest pleasure pier) do all the hard work and take me down to the Pier head, about 1.2 miles off shore.

The reason for the pier being so long is due to the tidal rises and falls of the river Thames. At Southend at low tide you have to be the full 1.3 miles out before you’re in deep enough water to not risk running aground, so the pleasure steamers that used to make their way down the river to Southend needed a really long pier.

I had a look around the end of the pier – though with Covid precautions still in place the pavilion at the end of the pier was closed, and most of the small kiosk were also shut. I walked right down to the far end, past the lifeboat station and took in the unique view of being able to look right down to the mouth of the Thames, with the coasts of Essex and Kent just bobbing on the horizon.

After stopping for an ice-cream on the end of the pier I headed back to the Pier head station and caught the train back to the land, or as they call it on the ticket – dry, end.

I had a bit of a wander around the shore end of the pier, and then headed back to the hotel to freshen up before heading out a bit later to grab some dinner.

After dinner I headed back to the hotel through the centre of Southend on a Friday evening, which was a bit of an eye-opening experience, and that’s coming from someone who has regularly (in the before Covid days) been out in Croydon in the evening.

Back at the hotel I watched the impressive display being put on by both the light from the setting sun up stream, and the rapid retreat of the waters revealing the muddy bed of the estuary, whilst being serenaded by a long procession of modified cars driving past slowly but very loudly – ah, Essex!


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Hot (20-30C, 68-86F)