Wouldn’t you just love it to be able to live in the greatest city in the world and be able, within 1 hour, to go to the seaside? Well, in London you can. For us, going to Southend-on-Sea has become a tradition ever since we moved to our house in East London.
Wind in your hair, sun, sea and fish & chips makes these bike rides enjoyable and relaxing. Perfect for a weekend trip or just day trips, a quick trip to Thames’ estuary in the North Sea make your day, a day out to remember.
How to get there?
Our journey always begins in our home station, Becontree in London. We take the tube to Upminster, other times we also cycle till there. From Upminster we take the C2C train to the end station called Shoeburyness. Once you leave the station the sea smell hits you immediately. You put on your gear and off you go.
The journey we normally undertake is as follows: we start at Shoeburyness station and go along the coast all the way to Chalkwell, passing through Southend-on-Sea.
Our journey starts at Shoebury Garrison who’s origins date back to 50 AD. It’s a great location to take some photos of the North Sea and also see the garrison battery station.
From there we proceed down on a cycle path. We normally like to arrive in the morning and so by the time we reach half way of our journey it’s lunch time. Can’t bike on an empty stomach! The shop is called The Friary and is really a nice little family fish & chips place. Offers decent portions at great prices.
Now, with a full belly and sun in our faces, its best to relax a bit on the opposite beach and enjoy the seagulls trying to catch their fish & chips. It might be worth noting that if you get your swim shorts you wouldn’t be doing something wrong.
But be careful – the tide is very strong and the water can disappear very fast depending on the time of day. Having said that, especially during 2020, it was a real blessing to be able to go in the sea, cold as it may have been!
Having sunbathed a little bit and having done our siestas, we are ready to proceed with the second leg of the journey The second part of our journey goes through the main resort of Southend-on-Sea. The town is a nice coastal one that boasts beautiful weekend and holiday houses but also an amazing amusement park filled with laughter and various rides.
During summer, when riding for some time you feel to cool off a bit. One thing could be to jump in the water, another is – Ice Cream! Yes. That magical word that brings a smile on everyone’s faces. A good recommendation would be Rossi Ice Cream Parlour which is on the main esplanade and provides a gorgeous view of the beach and passing tourists. Having had a little rest then we start riding toward the last leg of our journey.
Palm trees and the sea to our left constitute the view for this last bit. We arrive at Chalkwell station and go up the footbridge into the station. The view from the above deck opens up the scenery of this last leg of the journey.
In the far you can see Hadleigh Castle, a former English fortification overlooking the Thames Estuary from south of the town of Hadleigh. Going there is also a great ride and gives the rider a good view of the surrounding areas and sea.
This place can’t be compared to Edinburgh Castle but we have very similar experience going there by bikes and cycling in Scotland.
The train to London arrives which signifies the end of our journey. You can see the faces of the passengers heading back to London having been in the sun all day and enjoyed themselves. On the journey back everyone has an awkward tan but accomplished faces.
Ready to book? Below are some recommendations to get your trip started:
- Flights – we use flight aggregators such as Skyscanner and Google flights to find the best options. You can find more information about finding cheap flights here.
- Flight compensation – Compensair or AirHelp for flight delays and cancellations.
- Accommodation – would recommend booking your accommodation through an aggregator such as Booking.com or Agoda to get the best rates. We also use TripAdvisor to read reviews.
- Transport – consider Rentalcars.com for car renting or if you rely on public transport, you can use Omio for trains, coaches, ferries, airport transfers and even flights.
- Activities – a great option is GetYourGuide or Viator for tours, excursions, experiences and tickets to many tourist attractions.
- Travel money – we have Starling Bank accounts (UK residents only) with 0% fees on FX and a good Mastercard exchange rate. Revolut is another good option.
- Internet abroad – with Airalo you can access a wide range of eSIMs (digital SIM cards) available for different countries and regions.
- Luggage storage – if you need to store your bags whilst exploring the destination, you can use Radical Storage to find your closest luggage storage and enjoy your journey until the very end.
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