If you find yourself pondering about what to do or where to go this summer, look no further than the quaint coastal town of Leigh-on-Sea.
Spend the day exploring the quirky craft shops, boutiques, and art galleries or grab a bite to eat in one of the famous fish restaurants or cockle sheds. This is the perfect place to unwind and take in the fresh sea air.
Where to Eat in Leigh on Sea
Leigh-on-Sea may be a small town, but it definitely doesn’t lack in the food department! There are so many places to choose from, whether you’re after a light snack or an extravagant three course meal, you are spoilt for choice!
Sit outside and enjoy the panoramic views of the estuary at the Peterboat Restaurant. The menu offers traditional ‘pub-grub’ and modern dishes, including a variety of tasty vegetarian options. It also boasts a range of seafood dishes, including its famous cockle chowder.
If you’re after a fine dining experience, opt for The Boat Yard Restaurant. The interior mimicking that of a luxury cruise ship, the restaurant offers a premier dining experience, just a stone’s throw away from the cobbled streets of Old Leigh. With reclaimed timber floors, a polarised glass front, as well as a beautiful outdoor deck, allowing you to take in the uninterrupted views of the Thames Estuary in a beautiful setting. The menu offers a range of fish and meat dishes, as well as an extensive wine list.
The Oaktree Restaurant just off the Broadway, is perfect for vegetarians, vegans and meat-eaters. The exclusively vegetarian menu has a Mediterranean and Asian influence, with every dish available as fully vegan too (even the ice cream!). The flavoursome food means that you won’t be feeling deprived, and you can even dine outside in the newly opened garden. The restaurant also offers a vegan and gluten free afternoon tea from £10 a head. Find more vegan and vegetarian restaurants here.
Where to shop
Leigh-on-Sea is the perfect place for some retail therapy. With the many boutique clothes, bespoke jewellery shops and interior design stores, there is somewhere for everyone to splash their cash.
Whether you are in search for a dress for a party, or you need a new weekend wardrobe, Just Fox Boutique caters for the fashion style conscious. Housing high-end brands, such as the likes of Brodie Cashmere, as well as brands you might not find on the high street, it is perfect for everyone, whatever their style or budget may be.
If it’s your home you’re looking to restyle, pay a visit to Tin Design. Owned by two locals, this quirky interior design shop contains a mix of Scandinavian homeware, eclectic, lighting, wallpaper and wall art, as well as local artisan pieces, all of which have been handpicked. The pair also offer an interior styling service if you need a hand!
Treat yourself or a loved one to a new piece of jewellery at Castle Collection. The jewellery boutique and workshop boasts contemporary jewellery created by the owner herself, as well as collections from other designers to create an eclectic mix. Lisa also offers a personal service where, if desired, you can have an input on the design, to create a piece especially for you. You can even learn the art of silver-smithing and make your very own ‘ready-to-wear’ sterling silver ring at one of Lisa’s jewellery-making classes.
Things to do in Leigh on Sea, Essex
Visit Leigh Heritage Centre and learn all about the local history of Leigh-on-Sea. Located in an original Victorian cottage, it is home to a fascinating wealth of local historical artefacts and memorabilia, as well as having many volunteers on hand to answer any questions. There is also a restored fisherman’s cottage attached, to give you an insight to how they used to live.
Outside you can pick up the new Leigh-on-Sea heritage trail, which is a 1.8 mile hike that takes around an hour. Some sections of the trail are steep, so it’s best for the able-bodied and active types only. Make sure you download and print the map, as the trail is not marked!
Take a stroll through nearby Belfairs Park and Nature Reserve, which is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including rare butterflies like the heath fritillary. The park also has facilities for tennis, bowling, golf and horse riding, as well as the woodland centre which is an educational facility where you can learn all about the fantastic ancient woodland in an interactive way.
If you prefer to stay inside, visit one of the independent art galleries. The Estuary Gallery Barge is a 21-meter floating gallery showing Fine Art Photography by resident artist Ian James and Watercolour and Mixed Media Paintings by Josephine James. It also showcases additional work by invited artists throughout the year.