A couple of weeks back we decided to get up early and head to Southend Pier. I know “glamorous” probably doesn’t spring to mind but it’s the closest beach to where we live and I had yet to visit there.
Being a mere hour and 15 minutes away we arrived well before midday on a rather grey, windy day. But that didn’t stop us from walking the full length of the pier.
The longest pier in the UK
If you didn’t know already, Southend Pier is the longest pier in the UK at 1.34 miles long. You can get to the other end via a short train ride but we decided to walk it to take in the full experience.
Once you start walking, you start to realise how far out to sea you are and how weathered some of the wooden boards are. This is also where they film Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast and as I started to get weary, the thought crossed my mind that they must stick the celebs and guests on the train as it’s is a big trek and not one you do dressed to the nines. The views are great though and I took several shots at the beginning of the walk, halfway there facing the beach and some shots of when we eventually got to the other end. The only thing that really let’s the pier down is the cafe at the other end; although it had two vegan options the menu was quite uninspiring and only really stocked sandwiches, crisps and cake. I expected there to be something a little more exciting – perhaps we were just out of season!
The pier commissions changing artist displays with the current series showcasing photographs of Southend’s scene people from skin heads to rockers. Enlarged photographs were displayed on shelter bays and other non-descript wooden buildings. They brightened up otherwise dull spaces.
We tried to catch the train on the way back but timed finishing off lunch badly so that we would have to wait half an hour until the train departed. Despite the wind and the rain we decided to take our chances and walked back.
The best part of the day for me was the souvenir penny pressing machine – yeah, exciting, right?! I’d never seen one before, but all you do is pop a penny in, turn the heavy handle and a scene from Southend is pressed into the penny. We got two to takeaway to remind us of a windswept day on Southend Pier. Probably the most inspiring souvenir I’ve ever brought for under a fiver!