Thursday, July 10, 2008

Southend-on-Sea, a weekend outing

It's one of those sunny weekend and I felt an urge to get out of London no matter what. Out came Lonely Planet and we decided on Southend-on-Sea, a seaside resort town southeast of London. No particular reason why other than the fact that it got a cool name and it's near the sea.

So off we go the very next day to Waterloo train station. The journey, which cost £12.30 per person, took around an hour or so. It definitely felt longer than that as it stopped at practically every stop along the way but we eventually get to Southend Victoria with our sanity intact.

From the Lonely Planet guidebook, I learnt that Southend is the home of the longest pier in the world. Extending 2158m into the bay, Southend pier featured prominently along the coast. To cater to visitors, there's this rickety train that provides transportation from one end of the pier to the other. Despite the management's best intentions, we made the mistake of opting to walk instead (£2.50 instead of £3 per pax).

The walk wasn't too bad really. It's just a prolong agony of having the end (of the pier) in sight but never seemed to make it there, if you know what I mean. After umpteen times of asking myself 'are we there yet?', we finally hit what we thought to be a seafood restaurant, which of course was our main motivation for the walk. Turned out that we (mainly I) got it wrong and there's nothing really much right at the end other than some rescue boats' base.

You must be crazy to think that we would walk all the way back. It turned the 'walk in' ticket mercifully includes the train ride back to the beach. Otherwise, it'll be my first encounter with NHS.

Other than the pier, there's also an theme park, Adventure Island along the coast. In fact, it'll be the first thing that you noticed as you are heading towards the coast. Stretching across a sizable plot of land, Adventure Island boosts over 50 rides ranging from the kiddish miniature train ride to the death defying rides which riders' screams could be heard right across the beach. It kind of reminds me of Genting actually.

Got bored of the amusement park? Just head towards the amusement arcades that lined the main road. The dingy looking arcades feature bingo tables, jackpots and outdated arcade machines, which I used to enjoy as a kid back home.

Food… ahh, a Singaporean obsession. Southend is known for its fish and chips apparently. We were famished after our walk on the pier so it didn't take us long to polish the fish and chips off the plate although we did pause to take a shot for this post.

All in all, Southend-on-Sea is not where you would want to spend a romantic weekend with your other half. It's more like a place where you bring your kids to if they were hankering you for that Paris Disneyland trip that you promised them while you were half drunk.

Just dump them at the amusement park while you sip some beer over fish and chips and enjoy the crowds.

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LadyBanana said...

I went there for the first time back in May - I thought it was absolutely awful and I sincerely hope you do not think it typical of British seasides!

C K said...

Actually I was waiting for your comment on Southend.

In fact, my colleagues were flabbergasted when I told them that I went to Southend... they were telling me that it's where EastEnders go for the holidaying... :)

LadyBanana said...

Have you visited any other seasides?

If so which did you like best?

C K said...

Wow, that was quick.

The only place remotely near to the seaside which I've been to is Worm Head in Wales.

I've heard great things about Brighton though. But was thinking of staying over a weekend. Would you suggest that? Will be great if you can suggest any other seaside places. Cheers!

akokow said...

Wow, nice place..
wish to visit there from indonesia..

Anonymous said...

The name does sound nice...:D

C K said...

Thanks for stopping by. Southend is not the best of seaside towns that England can offer (according to ladybanana).

C K said...

@my bug life,
It does, doesn't it? At least compared to Worm Head. lol

Melanie said...

I love your blog! It's gorgeous and full of interesting information!

C K said...

Wow, that's the best endorsement thus far. I felt that I had to put down everything (work included) and reply to your comment.

Hope to see you around real soon. Cheers!

SheR. said...

Hey CK... I've heard a lot about Brighton but has never gotten around to leg it there...:P
There should be a discounted train ticket to Brighton in summer, non? Last time I checked ... only 10 quid?!

C K said...

Really? I checked last weekend and it was closer to 16 quid... but my colleague recommend that I get a railway card, which will get me 30% off every train ticket I buy.

Aw... it's a pity that you haven't been there. I'll go carve your name on a bench over there. "Sher. was here...". :p

Dutchie said...

ck, talk abt railway cards ! The dutch railway's summer card @ 65,00 for 2 pax, to be used within a 10 day period, for 2 days seemed like a bargain. However, upon arrival at one's destination after a long journey, one never go anywhere else. The railway promotes it as a means to see much of the country or to shop or visit family/relatives in other towns, but most of us probably didnt managed that.
Sometimes I read in the In-Flight mags for foreign visitors to NL n the cost of a season-ticket looks like a better bargain than what the locals r getting.

Does anyone knows of special MRT cards for visitors to Sg ? We were topping up the card every other day. Even my sis was astonished at the amt we spent on MRT !

Do u find the bus/train fares reasonable in London ?