Sunday, May 29, 2016

To The Sea, The Only Way Is South End

The title of this post is true if you're looking for the cheapest and fastest way to get to the beach from central London. 

I was missing the beach and as the days were sunnier, Kim and I went to South End On Sea on a weekday to avoid the crowds. It was my first time in Essex, hence the title of this post. Trains were frequent, running every 10-20 minutes. It took about 50 minutes to get to Southend Central from Limehouse and a day return ticket costs £15.50 

It's always lovely to get out of the city. We could see the countryside and a river, or rather low tide where boats stand naked on wet sand. 

The beach was 10 minutes walk from the Southend Central station. Typical of English beaches, there were loads of amusements arcades. I'm no fan of them as I think they detract from the beauty of a seashore. (Of all the places to have cheesy loud indoor entertainment, why the beach???)

Fish and chip shops lined Marine Parade, most offering OAP specials. Kim talked up a place called Bailey's Fry Inn so we had to try it. Indeed their fish and chips were amazing, the batter was perfectly crisp and bubbly. The fish so tender, it was actually juicy! I completely understand the British love for this deep fried meal. 

The beach was quiet with only small families around. The water was too cold to swim in but I was happy just to get my vitamin D. Southend beach is a pebbly sandy beach and there is a really long pier. Its private so you have to pay if you want to walk on it. 

We played a round of mini golf. The course is actually the best I've been to, by the sea and well maintained. It helped that no one else was playing at the same time.

I also had to try the cold seafood. Oysters are obligatory. We shared half a dozen and they were huge. Excellent value for £1 each, shucked on the spot with lemon. Kim recommended the cockles which was the most appealing cold seafood on display amongst rubbery whelks, frozen-looking prawns, fake lobster/seafood sticks, and jellied eels.  

The oysters were delish and the cockles weren't bad. They were tasty but had a lot of grit. 

By 4pm, there were more people around It was time to return to London. On a quiet day, I think Southend On Sea is lovely. I will come back for another easy seaside fix. 

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