Southend

An accessible trip to the beach and Adventure Island theme park in Southend

Senior editor for Rough Guides, Tracy Hopkins tells us about her family trip to the beach at sunny Southend and Adventure Island theme park.

Having worked on the Rough Guide to Accessible Britain, I soon realised just how great these attractions are for pregnant, pushchair-laden Mums, as well as disabled visitors, and I couldn’t wait to try one out. So, one unexpectedly sunny day, Southend’s beach and Adventure Island theme park beckoned.

After finding a parking space close to the action on the newly revamped seafront, we set up our picnic blanket on the beach. There are few things a three-year-old likes better than tramping about on the sand, and my daughter is no exception. She was soon building sandcastles, collecting pebbles and clambering about on the children’s climbing frame, while her dad and I enjoyed a quiet interlude watching the waves.

But sitting down wasn’t on our itinerary for long! Following a quick, giggle-filled detour to run around in the jets of the seafront’s water fountain, we made our way to the main focus of our visit – Adventure Island.

I’m usually far too much of a wimp to get my money’s worth at a theme park, but the beauty of this attraction is that you don’t pay for entry, so I could watch on the sidelines for free. We’d even remembered to buy our daughter’s ride wristband online before setting out, making it even better value. And, to top it all, adults get to accompany small children (under 1.2 metres) on the rides for free, so I got to enjoy the Flying Jumbos (my personal favourite) too, leaving it to my husband to brave the Sea Serpent spiral slide.

It was, without a doubt, a wonderful day out for the whole family, and I’m sure we’ll be back again soon.

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