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The local area guide to living in Southend-on-Sea
Southend-on-Sea, also known as Southend, is a unitary authority and seaside town, situated in Essex. Initially a suburb of Prittlewell frequented only by poor fishermen, Southend later became a thriving seaside resort during the Georgian era. To this day, tourism is the number one economic driving factor behind the seaside resort, with many people from London and other major UK cities often coming to visit, particularly during the summer.
There is more to Southend than just tourism however, with a range of festivals held here each year, tailoring to every taste and interest. The Southend Cricket Festival returned to the town in 2012 after being in Chelmsford for a number of years, while the Leigh Folk Festival is the largest free folk festival in the UK, featuring folk bands, ale, dancers, and films. The Southend Libraries Book Festival is much acclaimed and celebrates literature, highlighting the lack of libraries in Essex in general. The Southend Pier Cultural Centre also holds numerous festivals, such as the Comedy Festival and the ShakesPIER Festival.
Information about the local residents
There is a population of around 173,658 people in Southend, comprised of 51% females and 49% males. 88.1% of people that reside here were born in England, followed by 1.1% in Scotland, 0.8% in Zimbabwe, and 0.7% in Ireland. Over 91% of inhabitants here are either white or white British background, significantly higher than the national average of 85%. Asian/Asian British is the second highest ethnic group residing in Southend, with 3% of the population, somewhat lower than the national figure of 8%.
For Primary Schools, Temple Sutton Primary School and West Leigh Junior School in Leigh-on-Sea have received 'outstanding' reports from Ofsted, while the rest of the primary schools in the area are also described as 'good'. Southend High School for Girls and the Westcliff High School for Boys Academy are newly converted academies, and have also received 'outstanding' reports from Ofsted. South Essex College also caters for students in further education, offering 30 courses served by the University of Essex.
For drivers, both the A127 and the A13 allow access to London, and usually take just over an hour and a half to arrive in the capital. There are two bus companies that operate within Southend and Essex, Arriva Southend and First Essex Buses. From Southend railway station there are regular trains that go to Liverpool Street which take just over an hour. There are also services that go to Leigh-on-Sea, Westcliff, Southend Central, Southend East, Chalkwell, Shoeburyness, and Thorpe Bay. Southend has its very own airport, London Southend Airport, and flies to numerous European destinations.
For all shopping requirements, the high street has a number of shops, while there are also farmers' markets held there twice a month. The Victoria Shopping Centre is also a popular place to go shopping, with over 40 high street outlets and independent shops, and more stores soon to be introduced. The Royals Shopping Centre is another good option, with 30 shops, including Debenhams.
There are a number of pubs dotted around Southend. Alex, which is located on Alexandra Street, is a vibrant pub with a burger menu and live sports, and is often frequented by locals. The Townhouse Bar & Kitchen is highly rated on TripAdvisor, and is a popular family-friendly establishment.
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