Indoor Children's Activities For A Rainy Day In Southend

Guest Post: Southend is synonymous with sunny days beside the seaside and we get a lot of sunny days here - it’s one of the top ten sunniest seaside areas in the UK! But when it does rain, don’t worry! There are loads of fun indoor activities to do as a family. After five years living here, we’ve had our fair share of rainy days and bad weather so we’ve tried and tested lots of things to do. I’ve shared some of our favourites below and you might also want to check out these places to eat in Southend as they are inside too. 

Children colouring in and completing activities in the Beecroft Gallery
There are plenty of inside places to go in Southend with children like the Beecroft Gallery

Adventure Inside, Western Esplanade, SS1 1EE

Adventure Inside is the indoor offering from Adventure Island theme park, located right on the seafront. It is complete with arcades, a huge multi floor soft play, rides including a small pirate ship and carousel and cafe. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy in bad weather. The soft play is suitable for children up to age 10, but combined with the games Adventure Island is suitable for a wide age group from a baby to teenager and the amusements are some of the cheapest in Southend mostly at 20p per play! “Feelgoods” restaurant which is family friendly is also attached if you get peckish! Unlike the outside parts of Adventure Island the indoor area is open all year round.

A preschooler playing with balls and air blowing machine in a soft play at Adventure Island
Adventure Inside (part of Adventure Island) has a huge soft play, arcades and some rides

Sealife Adventure, Eastern Esplanade, SS1 2ER

Sealife Adventure, Southend’s zooquarium is also a very popular spot on rainy days. This attraction is almost all undercover with just a few animals only visible from the outside! There is a large aquarium with an abundance of fish as well as my children’s favourites - seahorses and jellyfish! There’s a walkthrough tunnel for some great pictures too and you can see the penguins swim right up close to the glass even in the rain. There is also the newly opened Pangaea exhibition with lifelike robotic dinosaurs alongside living dinosaurs like turtles and even a butterfly enclose. Finish the day with a visit to their large cafe!

Read a review of visiting Southend's Zooquarium here.

Walkthrough tunnel at Sealife Adventure aquarium in Southend
Most of Sealife Adventure is inside so it's a great place to warm up or dry off on cold rainy days

Kingpins Bowling, Lucy Road, SS1 2AU

Bowling is a really fun activity for all the family and Kingpins is in a great location above the seafront amusements. It’s also right next to the car park so you can make a dash from the car in bad weather! We really enjoy the modern bowling facilities and the girls have also played the duck pins with their friends! They also offer darts, pool, shuffleboard and karaoke alongside a family friendly bar and restaurant. After a game, we always go downstairs to the amusements! Our favourite is the 2p machines!

children playing with 2 penny slots in an arcade below Kingpin bowling in Southend
The arcade machines below Kingspins Bowling

Caddies Mini Golf, 12 London Road, SS1 1N

Caddies Mini golf is another great bet for wet weather entertainment in Southend. The indoor crazy golf course is really fun and extremely eclectic. There is also a bar, pool tables and a newly introduced ball pit!

Indirock 1st Floor, Victoria Shopping Centre, SS2 5SP

I have a confession to make! The only time I visited Indirock, Southend’s new bouldering wall is to visit the coffee shop but it was excellent and what’s more, there is a toy box for little ones! I am always hearing excellent things about the climbing facilities and definitely will be visiting soon! (Minimum age to climb is 4. Check the website for age restrictions and supervision requirements.)

Little Adventurers, The Victoria Shopping Centre, SS2 5SR

Next door to Indirock is another local gem for parents of young children - Little Adventurers. A dedicated play space which offers very affordable soft play sessions and stay and play craft sessions for children up to 5 years old. You can book online here.

Kids Kingdom, Garon Park, Eastern Avenue, SS2 4FA

A great option when your children have tons of energy and it’s raining is a trip to the soft play. One of Southend’s largest ones and also located quite centrally is Kids Kingdom. Both my daughters absolutely love to come here. There is a play area for young children with less challenging climbing equipment, small ball pit and sensory area and pretend play area. There is also a central soft play area with a huge pyramid to climb and then another soft play area suited to older children. It’s the perfect place for children of any age to burn off energy. There is also a cafe area for a well earned coffee (or indeed Prosecco!) after clambering around after your children. You do need to book ahead on rainy days as it can become quite busy. For super energetic families, pair with nearby Southend Leisure Centre.

Child ironing in a role play area at Kids Kingdom
Soft play and role play in Kids Kingdom Southend

Swimming at Southend Leisure Centre, Garon Park, Eastern Avenue, SS2 4FA

The most fun place to take your children swimming in Southend is the Leisure Centre at Garon Park. Book the “family fun” session to play with loads of inflatables in the pool or “family swim” to focus more on swimming skills as a family without all the inflatables. There are a couple of small slides in the children’s pool which are popular with toddlers. I recommend booking online to be sure of availability for your chosen session.

RollaCity, 12 Purdeys Way, Rochford, Essex SS4 1ND

Technically just outside Southend, a firm favourite of my daughters on a wet day in Southend’s indoor roller skating rink. The rink is suitable for all ages from tiny tots to adults with skate hire for all sizes too. They also serve food which is handy with children! We always enjoy coming here as we don’t need to pre book or worry too much about the session times as it’s nearly always open with long session times.

Child waving from the floor of RollaCity rollerskating rink in Southend, Essex
RollaCity is one of only 2 permanent rollerskating rinks in Essex

Southend Theatres

Palace Theatre, 430 London Road, SS0 9LA
Cliffs Pavilion, Station Road, SS0 7RA

Undoubtedly a lovely way to while away a rainy afternoon is to catch a show. Southend has two theatres and so there’s always something to see! Upcoming shows include Bluey’s Big Play, Charlie Cooks Favourite Book, Paddington, Kidz Bop, Dear Zoo & Peppa Pig Fun Day Out!

Getting ready to see a family friendly performance at Palace Theatre Southend
There are regular family friendly shows at Southend Theatres

Southend Central Museum & Planetarium, Victoria Avenue, SS2 6EW

If you’re looking for free ways to spend a rainy day in Southend, the Museum is a great place to visit. Children and adults alike can learn more about the city of Southend. The girls love to come here and explore. The highlight for them is the exhibition about the former EKCO factory in Southend where you can see so many old radios and household items. The volunteers are always so friendly and happy to tell children about local history. Also, on site is a planetarium which has shows suitable for children every so often. These are fascinating but are payable and need to be booked in advance. The museum is quite small but is located next door to the Beecroft Gallery, which is another great free place to visit with children to learn about local artists. Spend some time relaxing in the calm atmosphere and have a go at the worksheets with art projects and colouring ideas which they always have available.

Read a review of visiting the planetarium here.

Exploring Southend Museum with children
Southend Museum is small and free

Southend Central Library at The Forum, The Forum, Elmer Avenue, SS1 1NS

The library is another simple and free way to spend time in Southend with children, especially as the central library has a lovely large dedicated space for children’s’ books. On a rainy day, we can while away hours in the children’s library at the central library. With hundreds of books to choose from and lot of cute reading books, it’s a lovely free place to enjoy in bad weather. There is also a weekly rhyme time for preschoolers and organises other children’s events which are advertised on their website.

Southend library has plenty of children's books and activities
There is plenty to keep children busy for a little while in the library

About the author: Sarah has been living in Southend with her two young children for nearly five years. She is sharing her thoughts about the Southend experience including the best things to do in Southend with children in a series of guest posts on Counting To Ten. You can also find Sarah on Instagram as @The.Southend.Mummy where she has honest and relatable posts about fashion, toys and family life in London and Essex. 

Rainy Day Ideas for Families in Southend showing some indoor places to go
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