Southend-on-Sea is a seaside town that is less than an hour from London by train. Guidebooks always seem to favour Brighton even though it is a little further from London than Southend.
What do you need to know about Southend? It is in Essex- and this will tell you all you need to know (Essex is supposed to be brash and vulgar). It has the longest pier in the world and the most mysterious because there is absolutely nothing at the end of it. You simply take a train ride to the end of the pier and then ride back again!
The beach is stony (like Brighton) and boasts a theme park and the Kersal- and a sort of pretend Las Vegas.
This is Adventure Island, the theme park.
Plus the famous Essex Girls (sexually aggressive but loud).