Southend became a seaside resort during the Georgian era and has remained a popular destination for tourists over the years. The town has the longest pleasure pier in the world, stretching 1.33 miles into the estuary. 174,800 people live in the borough of Southend according to the 2011 census. It has been widely covered in the media that the area is one of the most desirable areas in the South East, mainly due to the multi-million pound rejuvenation of the sea-front and the expansion of Southend airport.
Southend has a number of fantastic green spaces, including Priory Park and Southchurch Park, the latter of which is home to a festival and travelling funfair in the summer months. Southend High Street is excellent for a spot of retail therapy with two shopping centres and a vast array of major retailers. The area also boasts a fine selection of chain-restaurants such as Pizza Express, Bella Italia and Nandos, the majority of which are located at the top end of the High Street alongside The Odeon cinema. Other notable eateries include The Pipe of Port, an excellent wine bar and dining room and the recently opened Mangetout, which is predominantly a steak house. All in all there are over 30 eating establishments in the High Street and surrounding roads alone, offering foods from all around the world, so you really are spoilt for choice.
Southend has a thriving nightlife with ten major nightclubs and bars in the town, all of which are located in and around the Town Centre, meaning there is always a good night to be had without disturbing people in their homes. Southend is famous for its golden mile, a line of arcades, fast food outlets and visitor attractions, which stretch from the magnificent Adventure Island at the Pier, down to the world's first ever theme park at the Kursaal. The Kursaal is now home to a multi-lane bowling alley, ballroom and casino. The seafront also houses the Sea-Life Adventure aquarium, with a number of sharks in residence.
Southend United play at Roots Hall. The club currently play in the third tier of English football. Essex County Cricket Club plays a handful of their games in Southend during the summer. There are two prominent rugby teams, Southend and Westcliff. There is an eight-lane, floodlit, synthetic athletics track at Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre which is home to Southend-on-Sea Athletic Club. The facilities include all track and field events. A swimming pool is also on-site at Garons Park which includes Olympic-height diving boards, this is where the GB diving team trained for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Southend also hosts a number of high profile events during the calendar year. Southend carnival is always a feast for the eyes and is conducted in the summer months.
Southend is served by two train lines. The c2c service operates from London Fenchurch Street, eventually terminating at Shoeburyness, calling at Southend Central and Southend East along the way. Trains generally run every 15 minutes during the day however can be more during peak times. The other line runs from London Liverpool Street to Southend Victoria however is prone to more delays than its coastal counterpart.
It calls at stations such as Shenfield and Billericay, before heading down past Southend Airport and onto Southend Victoria. The town also has two main road arteries, the A127 and A13, both of which begin in London.
The area also has a strong bus service, with the main bus station being located just off of the town centre. This is the main hub for all buses in the area and has connections to all immediate towns.
The average property price in Southend on Sea is currently £264,078. The average price for a semi-detached property is £271,335, whilst a detached property currently averages at £450,571. Generally speaking, the properties with sea views, or those of which are closer to the esplanade command a higher price. Southend is also home to conservation areas which again command a higher price. The average price for a flat in Southend is currently £160,173. However with a real mixture of house conversions and newly erected purpose built flats which command a higher price, it is expected this figure will rise in the future. f the town centre. This is the main hub for all buses in the area and has connections to all immediate towns.
Southend is well placed to offer excellent education. There are now two institutions in the town offering degree courses. The University of Essex and South Essex College are within a stone's throw of each other. They offer a range of BA and BSc degrees.
The town has some of the best secondary schools in the country. The Grammar Schools Southend High School for Boys, Southend High School for Girls, Westcliff High School for Boys and Westcliff High School for Girls consistently achieve excellent results - all of these are regularly in the top 100 for GCSE and 'A' Levels in national league tables.
Additionally, there are two single-sex schools assisted by the Roman Catholic Church: St Bernard's High School for Girls and St Thomas More High School for Boys. Both, while not grammar schools, contain a grammar stream; entrance is by the same exam as grammar schools.
The other mainstream secondary schools are mixed-sex comprehensives, including Belfairs High School, Cecil Jones College, Chase High School (formerly Prittlewell High School), Futures Community College (formerly Thorpe Bay High School), Shoeburyness High School and The Eastwood School.
The area also offers a vast array of primary, junior and nursery schools. All Ofsted reports and GCSE results for schools in the local area can be found online.