From the bustling Broadway and thriving old town to the quaint cobbles of the water’s edge, Leigh-on-Sea makes the ideal place to visit this summer
Leigh on Sea has been a focal part of the Essex coast since the Middle Ages and stayed a prosperous base for fisherman until the late 18thcentury. It wasn’t until the 19thcentury that some of the original waterfront was demolished to make way for the railway link to London.
The good news is some of the curving waterside remains and has been restored with clapboard houses, and former storehouses and boatsheds now home exciting bars and restaurants. Just a few miles west of Southend with a 45 minute transfer from London’s Fenchurch Street – Leigh has something for everyone.
From the moment you arrive, the road which curves along the railway track boasts stunning scenery especially at low tide; boats perched on the mudflats, mastheads rattling in the wind and marshes and creeks on the horizon. Still a base for fish mongers which are open to the street, just-caught plump shrimps and cockles make the perfect snack if you’re planning just to sit and watch the water. Read our guide to the best seafood shacks in East Anglia.
Leigh on Sea has a host of tasty options from trendy cafes to a range of restaurants you’ll need to book to avoid missing out. Simply Seafood on the High Street is a high end dining room serving a range of delicious fish and shellfish dishes. Try the Boatyard on the waterfront. On a sunny day this glass-fronted restaurant has spectacular views over the water – you can order your food on the deck during summer.
Need some caffeine?
There are cafes and bars galore including The Hatch; a new café located in an old boat shed on the High Street complete with a bottle green refurbished Southend pier train carriage. Or try Sara’s Tea Garden for traditional afternoon tea – it’s dog friendly too!
All About the Pubs
You’re in the right place for a gentle summer pub crawl from the historic weather boarded Crooked Billet at 51 High Street with its cosy interior and wooden floors or the Ye Olde Smack, a Greene King watering hole with secret terrace right on the water. The last pub on the waterside is the Mayflower which is also the place to pick up a lunch or supper of delicious fish and chips. Wine more your thing? Look out for Vino Vero, a wine shop and bar that holds tasting evenings and events through the year
Take in Some Art
There are a number of galleries along the waterfront including the popular Estuary Gallery Barge on High Bank and Miss Annabelle Dee Gallery and Studios – the perfect place to pick up a seaside inspired print.
We Do Like to be Beside the Seaside
One of the most popular events in the county, which takes place this year on 15 September is the Leigh Regatta. It offers family friendly fun, music, dance and stalls in a great festival style atmosphere.
The Great Outdoors
Leigh is a National Nature Reserve and the foreshore path is well signed with plenty of fauna and flora to view including the lovely sandy beach you can follow to Southend – heaven when the sun is shining!