Southend-on-Sea; Sunday, 13 June, 2021

I had a slightly later breakfast than the previous day and, after checking out of my room, headed down to the seafront to pick up the open-top bus.

Unlike the many other varieties of open-top bus that Ive been on, this is literally just an open-top bus a normal bus route, albeit a circular route, that happens to be operated in the summer months only by buses without roofs so no commentary or guides but a good way of seeing more of the local area. The bus heads out from Southend along the seafront through Westcliff and Chalkwell before turning in land and climbing the cliffs at Leigh-on-Sea before heading back through the pretty town centre of Leigh-on-Sea and then turning back down to the seafront to return to Southend.

I did two loops on the bus to get the best of the views though by the end of the second tour it was clear that Southend was heading towards gridlock with a combination of poor driving and sheer numbers of people poring down to the beach on a Sunny Sunday creating the perfect conditions for traffic chaos.

I had a bit of wander round the town centre, marvelling at the sheer number of people coming into Southend I dont think Ive seen that number of people together since the before-days! There was no point in even considering trying to find a seat at a caf on or near the seafront, so I headed back towards the shopping centre end of town and was able to get a table in a Costa coffee to have some lunch.

After lunch I had a wander back down towards the seafront, taking in The Shrubbery a large rock garden/shrubbery located at the bottom of the cliff gardens near the pier.

I then headed back up to the hotel where Id arranged to meet up with a couple of friends who are local to this part of the world the chance to actually meet them in person for over two years we headed to the bar of the hotel which had the advantage of not having outdoor seating, only one small TV for the football and really good Air conditioning. The bar was nice and empty.

I caught up with my friends for a couple of hours before it was time to collect my luggage from reception and make my way back to the station to catch the train home. Sadly, Id timed it badly as most of the rest of the visitors also appeared to be heading home at the same time and that combined with a reduced train service caused by engineering works meant there were a lot of people waiting for the train.

I might have been out of practice for a long time, but its amazing how quickly the commuting skills kick back in and I was able to judge the spot on the platform just right to be in the correct place for the doors when the train arrived, combined with the offensive use of luggage to ensure that I managed to get a window seat for my journey back into London.


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