Shopping in Southend and the Surrounding Area

Posted by 07heaven on August 30, 2016

Going shopping in or around Southend-on-Sea for the day? Try these places for the best retail Southend has to offer.

Leigh Broadway

Filled with textiles shops, independent art retailers and curiosity shops, Leigh-on-Sea is one of the best places to shop in Southend. With an array of colourful clothing boutiques, bookshops and a variety of cafes to relax at, you can’t go wrong with a shopping trip to Leigh.

Thorpe Bay Broadway

With independent retailers and cafes, you can find some wonderful items on Thorpe Bay Broadway, near Shoeburyness.

Southend High Street

Bookended by two malls, Southend high street is in the centre of the town and one of the best places to go for reasonably priced quality goods. Try the Victoria shopping centre for clothes and shoes, or the Royals for Debenhams, jewelers and homeware. For independent retailers try Queen’s Road or the sea front, right next to the high street. Take a quick trip to the beach when you’re done shopping!

Rayleigh High Street and Rayleigh Lanes

For vibrant shops in the Rayleigh area, head straight for Rayleigh high street – and make sure to stop off at Rayleigh Lanes Indoor Market while you’re there. One of the best places to shop for textiles, clothes, jewellery and homeware – and much more – Rayleigh Lanes is a treasure trove. Eat your heart out, Covent Garden!

The O2 Arena, London

Posted by 07heaven on August 25, 2016

The O2 Arena might be best known as a live music venue, but it’s also home to a wide variety of entertainment venues and activities. From its time as the Millennium Dome to its resurgence as one of the UK’s top live music arenas, there’s no doubt that the O2 Arena has something for everyone.

Live Music and Entertainment

From musicals to rock concerts to sports and comedy, there’s a show for every taste at the O2. Visit the website for an up to date calendar on upcoming events, and keep an eye out for your favourite acts!

Up at the O2

Climb the roof of the O2 Arena for spectacular views of South London and beyond. Ascend a walkway to 52m above ground level (a climb suit, harness and boots are provided!) and enjoy the view. You can also treat friends and family to a private climb, or to a spectacular sunset or twilight climb experience.

Nissan Innovation Station

Ever wanted to test your racing driver skills? Visit the Nissan Innovation Station. Race your friends and family on the custom built Nissan track, then try out the Gran Turismo 6 racing pods. Those who top the leaderboard could be in for a stash of Nissan merchandise… This free experience is open daily, so try it out if you’re there for an event!

The Brooklyn Bowl

This unique restaurant is also a live music venue and bowling alley. Enjoy a meal and a game of bowling with your friends, all the while enjoying some of the best live music on offer. You won’t get that at the restaurants back home…

Visiting the Science Museum

Posted by 07heaven on August 23, 2016

The Science Museum has its origins in the 1851 Great Exhibition, after which various museums – including what would become the Victoria and Albert – were opened. By the early 1900s, a separate Science Museum was established in South Kensington, and has been dazzling generations of visitors since. Entry to the museum is free, and it’s open seven days a week – so it’s the perfect day out! Here are some of the Museum’s current highlights.

Our Lives in Data Exhibition

Running until September 2017, this fascinating exhibition looks at how our data is being collected on an unprecedented scale, from selfies and toys to public transport and medicine.

Cosmos & Culture Exhibition

Humanity has been fascinated by the night sky for as long as we’ve existed, and this exhibition showcases the science and history of astronomy, displaying instruments, illustrations, tools and more.

Flight Gallery

The Flight Gallery’s walkways allow you to get up close to the aeroplanes suspended from the ceiling. Look out for Amy Johnson’s Gipsy Moth, a slice of a Boeing 747 and a 1909 Antoinette monoplane.

Exploring Space Exhibition

Visit this permanent exhibition to see a replica of the ‘Eagle’ lander that took Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon in 1969, a model of the Beagle 2 Mars lander and real space rockets.

Journeys Through Medicine Exhibition

In the 1870s, American businessman Henry Wellcome began collecting objects and artifacts pertaining to medicine and human health, and this exhibition builds on his legacy, exploring prehistoric surgical tools, modern techniques and more.

Visiting the Victoria and Albert Museum

Posted by 07heaven on August 18, 2016

Established in 1852 following the success of the previous year’s Great Exhibition, the founding principal of the Victoria and Albert Museum inspire the British public with readily accessible art. Now the world’s leading art and design museum, the V&A is home to over 2.3 million objects spanning an incredible 5,000 years. Numerous collections include photography, architecture, textiles, book art and theatre – to name but a few. Here are a few of the museum’s must-sees.

Tours and Talks

Free tours and talks are available for visitors to learn the history of the exhibitions. Try the Daily Introductory tour for an introduction to the V&A, the Theatre & Performance tour (running until February 2017) for a guided tour of the museum’s theatrical collections, or the Britain 1500-1900 tour, running until the end of 2016.

Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear Exhibition

Open until March 2017, this exhibition looks at the story of underwear design from the 18th century to today. Underwear might be the one thing we all wear, but  over the years it’s been controversial, divisive and revealed social issues aplenty.

Corset from


Islamic Middle East Collection

The museum is home to 19,000 items from North Africa and the Middle East, ranging from the 7th through the 20th century. Explore ceramics, artwork and textiles from Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Turkey – and lookout for the Ardabil Carpet, which is the world’s oldest dated carpet.

Art from


Europe 1600-1815 Collection

Spread over seven galleries, the Europe collection comprises works donated by individuals and trusts, and displays some of the V&A’s most spectacular pieces.


Court suit from

South Asia Collection

With 10,000 textile pieces and 6,000 paintings covering the Indian subcontinent, the South Asia Collection is a must see for anyone interested in Asian artwork. From Indian film posters to Burmese decorative arts, the collection is a true treasure trove.

Essex Architecture Weekend, Hosted by Radical Essex

Posted by 07heaven on August 16, 2016

Led by Southend’s Focal Point gallery, the Radical Essex project aims to re-examine Essex’s history in relation to politics, lifestyle, culture and radicalism. It also celebrates the role that the county of Essex played in British Modernism, and during 2016 has hosted performances, talks and exhibitions. One of its highlights of the year is the Essex Architecture Weekend Festival, held on Saturday 10th September and Sunday 11th September. There will be talks, exhibitions, guided tours and screenings across Essex – visit the Radical Essex website to find an event ear you. Here are just some of the attractions on offer.

Silver End Village, Braintree

Silver End Village in Braintree was designed by Francis Crittall. Designed for workers of the local steel window factory, the development was essentially self-contained, with a village hall, department store and sports facilities. Guided tours of the village will be available all weekend.

Silver End Village from


Cressing Road, Braintree

Designed by WF ‘Pink’ Crittall, Cressing Road is thought to be the site of Britain’s first Modernist buildings, and no. 164 welcomes you to visit for an architectural tour.

The Beecroft Art Gallery, Southend-On-Sea

Opened in 1974 and known to most Southenders as the old library, the building that’s now home to the Beecroft Art Gallery and Hive business centre was designed by Borough Architect R. Horwell and is a great example of Modernism.

73 Vicarage Hill, Benfleet

The owners of 73 Vicarage Hall invite you to their early 1960s modernist style home, built by Norman W T Brooks, a renowned Essex architect. Tours will be available across the weekend.

Vicarage Hill from


Visiting Kew Gardens

Posted by 07heaven on August 11, 2016

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, are an internationally recognised scientific research institution… it’s also one of the best places to visit on a day trip, with gardens and attractions for the whole family.

The Great Broad Walk Borders

The longest double herbaceous borders in the UK boast 30,000 plants, and at 320 metres long is a wonderful opportunity to walk along a nature trail. Created between 1845 and 1846 and redesigned in 2015, the brightly coloured plants bloom mostly between June and September. There are eight zones to explore, each based on a plant group or characteristic.

The Hive

This 17-metre tall open air structure weighs 40 tonnes and takes visitors through the life of bees with the help of 1,000 LED lights and a soundtrack that hums in response to activity by some of Kew’s real bees. The Hive is open until November 2017.

The Hive at Kew Gardens from


Queen Charlotte’s Cottage

This thatched 18th century cottage was a private retreat for Queen Charlotte, and was considered a ‘favourite place’ of King George III. Visitors today can see beautiful bluebell woods on the grounds.

Queen Charlotte's Cottage from


Waterlily House

Completed in 1852, the Waterlily House was built to showcase the recently discovered giant Amazon waterlily.  Now home to a variety of tropical, ornamental plants, the Waterlily House is not one to be missed.

Performance: The Dream Fairies

Perfect for families with small children, interactive performance The Dream Fairies follows the fairy Honeysuckle as she meets the fairies from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A great experience for the children, the performance includes acrobatics and bubbles!

Treetop Walkway

Opened in 2008, the Treetop Walkway offers visitors a view an unforgettable view of the treetops and gardens. Either take the lift up or climb the 118 steps to reach the top, then walk along the 200 metre walkway exploring flora and fauna up close.

Kew the Movies

It’s not all about the plant life – Kew is hosting several film nights in August and September, including Mean Girls, Labyrinth, Star Wars and Jurassic Park.

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