As the days get longer and warmer, you may be wondering where to head to for a UK beach day. Absolutely rounds up the best beaches in Essex County for visitors and locals to enjoy…
Canvey Island Beach
WHERE: Thames Estuary off the coast of Essex
ATTRACTIONS: There, visitors can enjoy surrounding grassy areas for picnics, a children’s tidal swimming pool, and nearby fun-parks like Leisure Island and Stay and Splash making it a great location to bring young ones.
FOOD & DRINK: For refreshments, there are a variety of restaurants serving seafood, cocktails and more. Among these restaurants is Labworth Café, a now renovated beachfront eatery originally built in the 1930s.
INTERESTING FACT: Unique to Canvey Island Beach is a strange happening that occurred in 1953 in which a sea creature washed up on the beach. It was thus named “The Canvey Island Monster” and was estimated at 1.5 meters in size, though based on description, it was likely some kind of anglerfish.
West Cliff Beach
ATTRACTIONS: Local attractions include The Genting Casino where one can find music, live entertainment, a restaurant and of course a chance to gamble. Also, a short walk from the beach is The Cliffs Pavilion, a theatre that offers a wide range of performances including opera, musicals, stand-up comedy, and pantomimes. For those who would rather stay on the beach, kayaking and paddle boarding are also popular in the area.
FOOD & DRINK: For seaside food and drink people can find places such as the Archway Cafes or the awards winning Rossi Ice Cream Emporium that has been using a traditional Italian recipe since 1932
INTERESTING FACT: West Cliff Beach has been awarded the Blue Flag by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, presented for their well-managed beaches and excellent water quality.
Three Shells Beach and Lagoon
ATTRACTIONS: Centrally located, this beach is surrounded by activities found at places like Adventure Island and the Southend Pier. While Adventure Island is a traditional fun park with rides and coasters, Southend Pier has a museum, railway, crazy golf, and more. Also, not far from the water is the Southend Cliffs Garden, formal gardens that were established in the Edwardian Era, excellent for a scenic walk.
FOOD & DRINK: The surrounding area boasts several, cafes, bars, and bistros serving quick food to take with you as you walk along the beach and pier, or for a sit-down experience with views of the water. The most iconic location, however, is The Three Shells Beach Café, a landmark location since 1983. With the Sea Terrace option for dining in, guests can expect all day breakfast, light bites, chips, ice cream and more.
INTERESTING FACT: Southend Pier is the world’s longest pleasure pier, stretching out into the Thames Estuary for 1.33 miles.
ATTRACTIONS: This beach is for those looking for a nice lowkey day by the water. Though the area is still considered part of Southend it known to be an escape from the other bustling beaches in the area. However, there are cycle paths leading to East Beach and further into Southend, should visitors want more attractions.
FOOD & DRINK: Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a popular choice for simple beach refreshments, ice cream and necessary pales and spades.
INTERESTING FACT: From a historical standpoint, Shoeburyness was an important and strategic location during World War II and some remains of costal defenses, preventing enemy ships from entering the Thames, can still be found there.
West Mersea Beach
WHERE: Mersea Island
ATTRACTIONS: This beach overlooks the Blackwater Estuary and is characterized by its iconic pastel beach huts. Compared to other beach resorts this one is more old fashion and laid back, highlighting simple pleasures like crabbing, playing in the sand, and watching passing ships. It also serves as the perfect place for nice long seaside walks, especially when tides are low making the beach feel even more spacious, though good shoes are recommended
FOOD & DRINK: Mersea Island also has a nice range of restaurants and cafes, a few local hotspots include The Art Café, The Company Shed and West Mersea Oyster Bar.
INTERESTING FACT: Mersea Island gets its name, from the hightide that covers the causeway, temporarily transforming it into an island each day.
WHERE: Clacton- on- Sea
ATTRACTIONS: This seaside resort boasts multiple attractions such as Clacton Pier, The Pavilion Fun Park and The Princes and West Cliff Theatre, suitable for afternoon and evening entertainment. The area also offers multiple events across the year such as fairs, fetes, carnivals, and an annual air show over the August bank holiday weekend
FOOD & DRINK: There is also a wide selection of places to eat right by the water, anything from Italian cuisine to burgers to a number of fish bars found on and around the pier. With a range in prices, popular places in the area include Aroy Thai, El Guaca Mexican Grill and Franco’s.
INTERESTING FACT: Clacton-on-Sea is the largest town on the Essex Sunshine Coast
ATTRACTIONS: Frinton-on-Sea establishes its uniqueness by choosing to remain as uncommercialized as possible compared to the neighboring areas. Divided by a series of timber groynes, this beach is wide with a gentle slope and firm sand, perfect for building sandcastle. The rear of the beach also includes a promenade mostly lined with colorful beach huts and a grassy area known as the Greensward, a perfect spot for picnicking.
FOOD & DRINK: A short distance from the beach is a variety of highly rated restaurants along Connaught Avenue. Among them are locations such as The Hat and The Mouse, for high end British cuisine and seafood or Avenue Bistro, for modern continental food with a Mediterranean twist. Also found on the avenue are several pubs, cafes and other spots for take-aways.
INTERESTING FACT: The word “Frinton” appears in the Doomsday book of 1086 as “Frientuna” meaning enclosed town or settlement.
ATTRACTIONS: A major attraction is the historical Walton Pier that was first built along with this Victorian seaside resort. Alongside this beach and pier are the Naze cliffs and the nearby National Nature Reserve making it the perfect location for a seaside walk to enjoy the costal views, bird watching, and ships sailing into port.
FOOD & DRINK: For eateries not far from the water, there are several locations along the high street such as cafes, pubs, and pizza places. Popular places include Thai restaurant Pearl of Samui and British pub, The Victory.
INTERESTING FACT: Walton Pier, first built of wood in 1830 and measuring 330 feet, it was extended over 2,000 feet in 1898 to include an electric train service. Though the train is no longer in service, the pier retained its length making it one of the longest pleasure piers in whole of the UK.