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14 Fun Things To Do in Southend-on-Sea for Adults

Southend-on-Sea is known for its sandy beach and beachfront attractions and has been a centre of entertainment in Essex for many years. We've chosen the best activities for adults to give you a great selection of things to do when you're visiting the city.

Southend Pier and Railway

Southend Pier is one of the most iconic features of Southend-on-Sea.

© Southend-on-Sea City Council via Flickr

It's the longest pleasure pier in the world, at 1.33 miles long.

The best bit about it being so long is that you get to ride on the custom train all the way to the end (unless you'd rather experience the bracing sea air and walk!). 

There are three different options for refreshments when you reach the end of the pier - the tearoom called Tea with the Tide perched right on the end of the pier, the Offshore Cafe and the Offshore Restaurant.

© Mick Baker Rooster via Flickr

The pier is open from 10:30am - 4pm Wednesday to Friday all year round and only costs £6.20 for the return train ride. The price is discounted if you want to walk one way, or even walk both ways!


Caddies Southend

There are lots of different fun activities at Caddies Southend - it's a great place for an evening out with your mates. 

© Caddies Southend-on-Sea Ltd

The main activity is the absolutely bonkers Crazy Golf - two 9 hole courses to try - just book the number of holes you'd like to play.

There are also these other cool things for you to try:

Have you ever been in a ball pit for grown-ups? Try the Amazeballs ball pit complete with coloured lights and mirrors! It's adults only after 7pm on Friday and Saturday, so there's no fear of trampling the kids!

There's also Shuffleboard that you can book by the hour for 2-8 players, and there are occasional Comedy Club nights, so you'll never be bored at Caddies.

© Caddies Southend-on-Sea Ltd

Don't forget the Caddies Bar, where you can treat yourself to a Quirky Cocktail! 



This bouldering wall on the High Street in Southend is a fun place to hang out (literally!).

© Alfie Winters / Indirock

It's a climbing centre with a great vibe - you can boulder all day long, and when you need a rest there's a coffee shop serving delicious snacks, sweet treats and hot or cold drinks.

If you've never climbed before you can book a beginner's lesson (or a private lesson), but if you know what you're doing you can just come along and climb (no need to book).

© Alfie Winters / Indirock

Shoe hire is only £3.50 and there are all sorts of discounts such as 50% off climbing for new visitors on a Friday, off peak cheaper climbing on weekday afternoons, and a 2-week intro pass with unlimited climbing for climbers who are new to IndiRock. (Discounts are not available in the school holidays).


Sealife Adventure

Sealife Adventure is no regular aquarium - it has the usual sea creatures you would expect such as sharks (in the shark tunnel) and tropical fish,  but it also has monkeys, meerkats, Humboldt penguins, giant tortoises and many other exotic animals. 

© Sealife Adventure

In fact, there are so many different animals to see that Sealife Adventure is called a Zooquarium rather than an Aquarium!

© Sealife Adventure

One of the highlights at Sealife Adventure is the Meerkat Experience, where you can feed and interact close-up with the meerkats inside their enclosure. You can book the Meerkat Experience for just £100 for 2 people or £150 for 3 people.


Southend Cliff Lift

Since 1912 the Southend Cliff Lift has transported holiday makers from the top of the cliff in westcliff down to the seafront and pier (and back again of course). 

© Southend-on-Sea Council

It is a fun experience with stunning views of the Thames Estuary,  the seafront and the pier, and it saves your legs from the steep climb! If you're feeling energetic, you can always run up and down the steps by the side of the car!

© Mick Baker Rooster via Flickr

It's free to ride on the Cliff Lift, but donations are always welcome. It is run by volunteers, and runs as often as they can - usually from 10am-3pm in the winter and 10am-6pm in the summer. Check their Facebook page for opening times.


Adventure Island

Adventure Island is the heart of the Southend Seafront next to the Pier.

© Dan Davison via Flickr

It's an amazing theme park with the best thrilling rides - rollercoasters, spinning rides, drop rides and water coasters!

© Jim Linwood via Flickr

You just need to purchase a day wristband (£20 each purchased in advance on their website, £30 onsite on the day), and you can all enjoy a whole day on over 60 rides and attractions!


Leigh on Sea Brewery Tours

The small craft brewery in Leigh on Sea (just on the outskirts of Southend) was founded by two friends on a pub crawl in Leigh in 2017! Their mission is to brew beers in Leigh that celebrate the history and landmarks of the region.

Stock Photo © K Graham via Flickr

Since then the brewery has won many awards and now sells its craft beers and traditional ales all over Essex and beyond.

You can join the Leigh on Sea Brewery Tour to find out more, and see exactly how the beer is brewed. You even get to sample some of the products at the end of the tour in the taproom.

Alternatively, you can become a brewer for the day and help out with all of the different brewing processes. A few weeks later you'll be sent a sample of the beer that you helped to brew.


Astro City

Imagine a games arcade where you don't need to feed any of the machines with coins! Sounds great doesn't it? That's how it works at Astro City!

Stock Photo © Steven Miller via Flickr

At the public sessions (on Friday nights and Saturday lunchtimes), you just need to pay a £5 entrance fee, and then you can use as many of the arcade machines as you like.

There are over 60 machines and games and they are all set to free play (except the ones that pay out money or prizes such as the crane machines or 2p pushers).

Alternatively, if you fancy making a party of it, you can rent the whole place for two hours, and invite 50 guests to enjoy the fun!


Palace Theatre

The Palace Theatre is the place to go in Southend if you want to see one of the national touring plays such as The Woman in Black or Peter Pan Goes Wrong, stand-up comedians, live bands, or productions by one of the local amateur theatre companies.

Stock Photo © Chyrikalov via Depositphotos

The theatre itself is very ornate with a sweeping staircase up to the circle, and the ornately decorated auditorium. There is a purpose-built spacious bar area for refreshments in the interval.

Have a look at the upcoming performances on the Palace Theatre website to see what you fancy:


Cliffs Pavilion

The Cliffs Pavilion in Westcliff is a great venue for West End musicals such as Starlight Express, Jersey Boys and Legally Blonde, and big-name concerts, with recent performers including Robbie Williams, Bryan Adams and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Stock Photo © Drew Tarvin via Flickr

The Cliffs Pavilion is a purpose-built complex, with seating for over 1600 people - so it's a great venue for the big performances!

There's a cafe in the foyer open every day from 10am with great views of the Thames Estuary, where you can enjoy hot drinks, sandwiches and cakes. The Pavilion Restaurant is open later in the day for pre-show dining.

Take a look at the upcoming events on their website to find a great night out:


The Board Game Hut

You can take all of your friends, or meet new ones, at the Board Game Hut! They have over 300 games in their game library to borrow - just book a session of around 3 hours  (£3 off-peak and £6 peak each), and join in the fun!

Stock Photo © Amy The Nurse via Flickr

Specialised Events featuring specific games are organised most evenings and at weekends, featuring old favourites such as Magic the Gathering, Pokemon, and figurine painting nights,  and brand new games (some on pre-release) for you to try.

There are hot and cold snacks and drinks available to keep you fuelled up whilst you play!  

Stock Photo © Hans Splinter via Flickr

Also, they stock a great range of board games for you to purchase and play at home if you'd prefer.



Rollacity is just outside Southend in Rochford, near Southend Airport, but it's worth the trip out of town, as it is a huge roller skating rink where you can race around on wheels to your heart's content. 

Stock Photo © Jolene Faber via Flickr

Rollacity is open from Wednesday to Sunday each week. Wednesday evening's session is for adults only, so you can have a go without being shown up by the teens! 

It costs £10 per session to skate, with hire skates available at £2.50 per pair. Alternatively, you could visit the skate shop and buy your own pair!


Escape Southend

There are two great escape room games to choose from at Escape Southend: The Carnival of Curiosities and The Magic Prison of Azcatraz.

Stock Photo © Chris Fithall via Flickr

The Magic Prison of Azcatraz has a difficulty of three stars, so is probably the best choice if you haven't tried an escape room before. Your task is to escape your cell in the Prison of Azcatraz and defeat the magical powers of the evil wizard - all in less than one hour!

The Carnival of Curiosities has a five star difficulty rating, so it's perfect for escape room experts! You've been kidnapped and you awaken in a mysterious carnival - can you and your team solve all the carnival puzzles and escape in less than 60 minutes?


Kingpins Bowl

There are ten exciting state-of-the-art interactive bowling lanes at Kingpins Bowl - with lots of special effects to enhance your bowling experience.

Stock Photo © jag_cx via Depositphotos

Kingpins Bowl, which is right next to the Southend beachfront and the Adventure Island Funfair, is more than just a bowling alley - it has a bar and restaurant, AR darts, Shuffleboard, a games arcade, a sound-proof karaoke booth and lots more.

You and your friends could spend the whole day or evening there!


Whether you want the spills and thrills of the roller coasters, or you'd rather have a quieter board gaming session with your mates, I hope we've found something for you to enjoy when you visit Southend-on-Sea.

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