City Beach is located in what is colloquially known as The Golden Mile. There is the iconic Kursaal at one end (with an indoor bowling alley, useful if it is raining) and the Sealife Centre, loads of gaming arcades, cafés selling bucket and spades, fish and chip shops, pubs, the Pier, Adventure Island and the casinos, and the old Victorian Cliff Lift (look out for Queen Victoria at the top).On a sunny summer weekend it is very busy. The area had EU funding to improve it, leading to new paving, huge lighting pillars and the lovely fountains that keep children amused for ages. There is also playground equipment on the beach for younger children.
The beach is similar all the way along the Estuary - a mixture of sand and shingle. The tide goes out a long way but the beach floods very quickly, beware of getting caught a long way out in an incoming tide (though you close to the coastguard station - who regularly are out rescuing walkers in their hovercraft).
Things to note - this is a shared space area so watch out for bicycles. After a great deal of controversy the Council installed different patterned paving to denote where it is possible to cross the road. There is an average speed camera so cars travel at a maximum of 20mph, theoretically they should give way as you try to cross. However as the seafront road is one of the main thoroughfares in town it does get busy.
Toilets - there are disabled toilets close to the beach and in hot weather there is always a queue. However, poorly signposted, are more toilets on the road side of the building marked Police.
Parking - there is a small car park at the eastern end of the beach but it fills up quickly in the summer. You can drive down the seafront and see if you can park in spaces closer to Adventure Island or the casinos. If you are coming into town from the A127 I'd recommend one of the town car parks, it is easy to walk down the High Street and get to the beach.
Ice creams - if you are coming to Southend it's got to be the local ice cream, Rossi's.
There is so much to do on this stretch of Southend - I prefer it early in the morning when it's quiet - but it is great for a sunny day out.
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