5 Family Friendly Things To Do In Southend

As much as we love a day trip from London, sometimes we want to prolong the pleasure which is why we recently took a family overnight road trip out of the city.

We didn’t want to go too far and as the weather was good, decided on Southend on Sea.

We were pleasantly surprised by the number of things to do in Southend so if you’re looking for a quick getaway from London but also need to keep kids entertained when you’re there, try Southend.


If you’re going to sleep over, getting the right accommodation is essential, especially when you’re travelling with kids.

We knew we wanted somewhere close to Southend on Sea beach, somewhere kids would be welcomed and somewhere close enough to town for emergency snack runs.


We stayed at Roslin Beach Hotel, a charming, luxury property full of seaside charm and with panoramic views of Thorpe Bay.

Sunrise and sunset looking over Southend beach is breathtaking.

The rooms have large, comfortable beds and handmade furniture and the room we stayed in had a balcony overlooking the sea which we took advantage of in the gorgeous 27C weather.

Each room also has a Nespresso coffee machine, flat screen TV and complimentary Wi-Fi.

After a busy day of exploring, we used the walk-in waterfall shower and complementary Elemis spa toiletries.

The staff are outstanding – seriously, no request is too big, no detail too small, and no child too annoying, they will go out of their way to help and make you feel very welcome.

We ate in the AA Rosette restaurant (one of only 100 restaurants to win a coveted Visit England Rose Award) and they were patient with the kids, happy to make meals allergen friendly and the food well-seasoned, well cooked and well tasty.

We didn’t have time to try their on-site spa treatment facility – ‘Roslin Retreat’ but from the looks of the relaxed customers, we assume it’s very good.

Southend on Sea is a very ‘summer’ destination but if you’re there when it happens to be raining or cold, Roslin Beach Hotel offers a children’s afternoon tea complete with Unicorn Rainbow Cake and a Build Your Own Eton Mess Garden.

Check in to the hotel is 3pm but if the room is ready you can gain access before that and if that’s not possible, you’re welcome to leave your bags in the free on-site car park (you can tell you’re not in London when the hotel carpark is free!) or with the porters.

Prices start at £99 per night.

From there you’re free to explore!

From Roslin Beach Hotel you have easy access to the following Southend attractions and if you’re only in town for a night or two, these are the places we recommend:


You can collect your tickets from Roslin Beach Hotel (pay for them at checkout) and it’s a 30 minute walk or seven minute taxi ride away.

Parking is impossible at Adventure Island so either walk (turn right from the hotel and walk along the promenade) or get a taxi.

things to do in southend - adventure island

Entry to Adventure Island is free and you can either chose to pay for the rides which accept payment (we chose dodgems and go karting) or buy a wristband depending on your child’s height which determines the rides they can go on.

If you as parents don’t intend on going on any rides, you don’t need to pay to enter which we think is brilliant. If your child is under 1.2 metres tall, their accompanying adult can ride with them for free.

With over 40 rides and attractions there’s something for toddlers and teens to enjoy.


From Adventure Island, it’s a short walk to Southend Pier Crazy Golf where a round of golf for a family of four costs £10.


Southend is home to the longest pleasure pier in the world; it goes 1.34 miles (2.16 km) into the Thames Estuary. Throughout the year the Royal Pavilion hosts a range of events from exhibitions to concerts and plays.

things to do in southend - southend pier


At the end of City Beach are free splash fountains made up of 64 jets of water. Make sure you bring your towels!


Home to Lionfish, Porcupine Puffer fish, a very famous Clown fish and his friends plus some Tropical Sharks, one of our highlights was a stroll through the underwater tunnel where we got to see the amazing creatures up close.

things to do in southend - sealife adventure

Sea-Life Adventure like to keep things fresh and are constantly bringing in new exhibits including crocodiles, meerkats, penguins and otters.

Take a trip to the nursery area to see new born creatures and where they treat any of their poorly fish/reptiles.

Start at Adventure Island and work your way back to your hotel; all of this can be done on foot and if you get peckish, there’s food for sale in Adventure Island, you can get fish and chips from any beach front café or walk up to the town for high street shops (M&S, coffee shops, Pizza etc).

If you happen to visit Southend when it’s wet, the tourist board has put together a guide on things to do in Southend when it’s raining. Think museums, galleries, swimming and more.

Let us know what you get up to the next time you visit Southend!

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