It’s Summer time in Sunny Southend-on-Sea! You’ve been waiting all year to take the kids down to the seaside for some traditional seaside children’s activities, and some good old-fashioned family fun. You may have visited TripAdvisor for some ideas on what to do now Summer has come to Southend. You might have even read our guide to Southend’s top 15 attractions according to TripAdvisor. Though there are some great ideas on what to do around Southend on there, not all of them are particularly fun for young children, who just want to have a day playing at the seaside.

1) Punch and Judy

Punch and Judy Southend Pier

We were in luck recently to have an entire weekend festival on Southend Pier celebrating the rich cultural history of Punch and Judy. It was an amazing, comical experience for both children and adults alike – with its naughtier level of humour that flew straight over the children’s innocent heads. Though, as you can imagine, this isn’t a regular feature for Southend seaside, there’s always plenty of children’s events going on in Southend.

2) Buckets, spades and other seaside toys

Southend Seaside Children's Toys

What’s a day at the beach without fun in the sand? But, of course, you’re going to need a bucket and spade and there’s loads of fun seaside stalls selling a huge variety of those for kids to choose from! For building sandcastles, burying their siblings, etc… And of course, there are those whirligig pinwheels that young children absolutely adore! Or if you don’t fancy buying one in Southend, we have a great pinwheel tutorial on how to make one yourself with your children!

3) Crabbing

How To Go Crabbing


Crabbing is a great traditional seaside activity for children that dates back generations. If approached ethically in an educational way, it teaches children kindness to living creatures as well as about sealife creatures and crustaceans. First time crabbing? We have a fun guide to crabbing for kids too!

4) Shell collecting

Seaside shells

Children love collecting shells. Trying to find the ones with unique patterns or shapes, or the shiniest shells on the beach. Kids find them fascinating. And so it can be heartbreaking sometimes when you have to say goodbye to all the shells you collected in the bucket. Ever thought that maybe you could take the seaside home with you, and do some creative crafts with your children at home using the shells? You could turn your shells into candles, or even just spend 5 minutes turning your seashells into hairclips or flower jars!

5) Arcades

Penny Coin Slot Arcade Machine

The sounds of arcade machines and games in the background as you walk along the seafront has become part of that seaside experience.

With the long row of arcades decorating Southend seafront, your kids are probably going to want to hit the arcade at some point or another. If not to have a go on one of the mini-rides or to play a quick arcade game, then just to spend a couple of bronze coins on one of the coin slot machines. Face it; it’s unavoidable.

6) Theme park and funfair rides

Adventure Island Southend

Fairgrounds, theme parks and rides are a huge part of modern seaside entertainment. Even if it consists of just a merry go round, you have to go on it. Go on, just one ride.

The children are going to be begging you to let them have just one ride at Adventure Island. Lucky for you, Adventure Island has a free admission policy. So if you won’t be staying on the rides together all day, you can accompany your child inside and treat them to a single ticket on their favourite ride. Or, you know…. just buy a wristband and have unlimited rides all day :)

7) A visit to the pier

Southend Pier Peepboard

A traditional British seaside isn’t a real traditional British seaside without a pier.

And a trip to Southend on a sunny day is incomplete without a visit to the longest pleasure pier in the world! You can check out the Pier museum with the lifeboats, have something to eat at the Pier café, and get some cool photos of Southend from the Thames Estuary! There are also loads of events happening on the pier throughout the year too.

8) Ice cream

Rossi Ice Cream

Can’t go to the seaside without having an ice cream! That would be just plain wrong!

Rossi is Southend’s favourite ice cream! We are known for it. Rossi Ice Cream has been going since 1932 when it first opened up on Marine Parade in Southend by partners Pietro and Luisa Rossi. Rossi Ice Cream’s been winning awards and the attention of celebrity taste buds ever since!

9) Sealife Centre

Southend Sealife Centre

A fun and educational trip to Southend’s sealife centre is the perfect educational seaside activity for both adults and children of all ages. With a ton of fun activities inside, what better way to show them the sea’s creatures after having played in it!