'Hidden gem' UK seaside town with Blue Flag beach that's 'much better and less busy'

John, 76, and Sue Gunn, 77, in Shoeburyness with general views of the local area
Shoeburyness, also known as Shoebury, is close to Southend, but very different -Credit:Matt Lee/EssexLive

There's a UK seaside town with stunning beaches that remains largely undiscovered by tourists. This overlooked Essex town, with its beautiful beachfront, has been hailed as a "hidden gem" nestled beside more popular and bustling coastal destinations.

Essex is known for its extensive and picturesque coastline which draws in sun worshippers in droves, but the peaceful town of Shoeburyness often goes unnoticed. As the summer heat intensifies, trains filled with holidaymakers make their way to well-trodden destinations like Clacton, Southend, and Leigh-on-Sea. However, just a short distance from Southend, there's a coastal sanctuary that many miss out on.

Shoeburyness, located at the terminus of the c2c train line, provides families with an ideal escape from the crowded Southend beaches. Visitors to Shoeburyness are greeted by two welcoming beaches upon arrival.

Both Shoebury Common and Shoebury East Beach boast the prestigious Blue Flag award, signifying their outstanding water and sand quality, reports the Mirror. Shoebury Common offers more than just a beach; it's also home to the much-loved Uncle Tom's Cabin, where a range of ice creams, snacks, and other treats await. Meanwhile, East Beach features an expansive sandy expanse flanked by grassy spots perfect for a picnic by the sea.

Pete, 66, a former insurance worker from London, has labelled Shoeburyness as the "poorer relation" to Southend-on-Sea. Having lived in the area for over twenty years, he said: "It's lovely to live here. There are the walks and the nice beach and the seaside too. It's really nice. It's certainly very busy during the summer with people wanting the beach. In Southend people go for the sights [such as the pier or arcades] whereas here it's nicer and calmer."

Just a stone's throw away from the lively Jubilee Beach in Southend-on-Sea, East Beach in Shoeburyness is a hidden treasure, according to Sue Gunn, 77, who insists it's "much better and less busy". Every year, crowds flock to its peaceful shores to bask in the sun.

While Southend lures young families with attractions like Adventure Island, recent concerns have been raised about the water quality for swimmers. Data from the Environment Agency paints a stark picture of water cleanliness, revealing 59 sewage spills at Jubilee Beach in 2023, while East Beach proudly maintains a record of zero incidents.

John, 76, Sue's husband, also had words of praise for their local area: "It's lovely here. This time of year it's quiet and it gets busier [during the summer]. There are lots of people from London during the summer. There are some days we would not come as it's too busy. We really enjoy it here [though]," he added. "We have always lived in an area that's very built up. Whilst it's relatively built up here, you don't get the same traffic here as we used to. It's very nice to have these areas. It's beautiful. We do a lot of walking at our age and it's great here."