Travelling around Southend-on-Sea
As the name suggests, Southend-on-Sea is a coastal town, although its name is generally shortened to ‘Southend’. It is located in the south-east of Essex, England, on the north of the Thames Estuary. Its position just 40 miles east of London has helped to turn it into a leading holiday destination for thousands of people wanting to escape the noise of the big city for some fresh air and seaside fun.
The growth of Southend as a holiday resort took place after a visit by Princess Caroline of Brunswick, which prompted the building of Southend Pier. At one and a third miles long, this is still the longest pier in the world, which might explain why it has its own pier train to take visitors out to the far end.
Southend can easily be accessed by road from the M25 and it has two railways stations linking it to central London. Arriva bus services cover the local area and travel as far as Shoeburyness, Thorpe Bay and Rayleigh.
Southend started life as simply the ‘south end’ of the village of Prittlewell. It didn’t begin to expand in the Georgian era, like other parts of the South Coast, because of poor transport links with London, but when the railway arrived it took off as a leisure destination. As holidaying abroad became more popular in the 1960s, the centre began to transform into a retail and commerce hub, and it is Southend’s mix of thriving modern town and traditional seaside destination which survives today.