Playgrounds & Play Areas in Southend-on-Sea

Guest Post. My daughters (3&7) have boundless energy and we often take them to the various playgrounds and play areas in Southend or to one of the many beautiful parks to ride their bikes and feed the ducks. We love to enjoy the fresh air and encourage them to play so we have visited all the different parks, playgrounds and green space in Southend. 

The pirate ship in the playground near the Forum Southend-On-Sea City Centre
Southend has several playgrounds and beautiful parks with play areas

These are our favourite playgrounds and play areas in Southend-On-Sea, Essex

The Beach

Southend’s Beach or “Golden Mile” has quite a few areas designated for children to play. The playgrounds on the beach are my favourite to take the girls to and although busy in peak summer, they are generally fairly quiet. Ive never seen play equipment on the beach like we have in Southend and I love it!

Poodles Play Park (Jubilee Beach, SS1 2EL) 

The larger of the two playground areas with play equipment has equipment including a large climbing frame, a smaller one suitable for toddlers alongside stepping stones and a balance beam. It’s also directly opposite the city’s play fountains which is ideal in warmer weather or take your wellies & waterproofs down!

Poodles Playground is right on Southend beach
Poodles Play Park, Southend Beach

The Three Shells Playground (Western Esplanade SS1 1EE) 

This playground is great for toddlers and younger children with a climbing frame & slide, and sand toys like diggers & a pulley system. It is located directly next to the three shells lagoon which is ideal for children to paddle.

Both play areas are located near toilets, cafes etc.

Three Shells Playground next to Adventure Island, Southend
Three Shells Playground, Southend Beach

The Town Centre

I often take the girls to the play areas and park areas in Southend town centre to burn off some of their energy before or after visiting the high street. There are a few good areas for children to explore:

Elmer Square Playground, SS1 1NS 

This is the newest playground in Southend. It boats a big wooden boat to climb, bridges, stepping stones, a tree house and swing. I love that it’s all built from wood and it’s very conveniently located behind the high street right opposite the library where you can use the facilities or pop into the children’s library.

Elmer square new playground Southend City Centre
Elmer Square Playground next to the Forum with a great children's library

Warrior Square Skatepark, SS1 2JJ 

A popular local spot to go skateboarding.

Prittlewell Gardens, Prittlewell Square, SS1 1DP 

A small green space with manicured gardens and a huge fountain but a favourite spot of ours to enjoy some outdoor time or take tricycles and scooters.

Formal garden in Prittlewell Square
Prittlewell Gardens

Southend Cliff Gardens, Clifftown Parade, SS1 1DP 

A favourite spot to take the girls, these formal gardens have such beautiful flowers including so many daffodils and blossom trees. They have plenty of benches and lawn areas to sit and admire the views over the sea. There is also a war memorial and statue of Queen Victoria to see.

Children wandering through the flowers of Southend Cliff Gardens
Exploring The Cliff Gardens, Southend

Priory Park, Victoria Avenue, SS2 6NB

The biggest park in central Southend, which hosts a range of fun family events. We love to visit and walk around this large park, which is also the home to Prittlewell Priory, a 12th century Monastery. There are manicured lawns, huge old trees with plenty of shaded areas to relax, walled gardens, a bandstand and equipment including tennis courts, basketball courts, outdoor gym and children playground. The playground has a wide range of equipment suitable for a large age range including swings, climbing frames, merry go round, see saw and much more.

Our favourite area to explore as a family is the walled gardens. They are so pretty with so many flowers, wisteria in spring and fountains. There are also toilets and a cafe serving a limited range of food & drinks.

Children on a climbing frame at Southend Priory Park
Priory Park Playground

Priory Park has a walled garden
Priory Park walled garden

Southchurch Park, Northumberland Crescent, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS1 2XB

One of the larger parks in Southend, it boasts a large children’s playground with play equipment for children of all ages which includes swings, slides and climbing apparatus. There is also a very good cafe with outdoor and indoor seating, a large boating lake with duck food dispensers. The gardens are a mixture of manicured lawns, wildflower meadows and a rose garden. We all enjoy a day out here and it’s also located a short walk to a quiet stretch of the beach!

Children on a bench next to the boating lake at Southchurch Park
The boating lake has duck food dispensers

Child on a roundabout in a snowsuit
Southchurch Park Playground

A girl pretending to steer a boat at a playground in Southend
Enjoy playing in boats at Southchurch Park

Chalkwell Park, London Road, Westcliff-on-Sea, SS0 8NB

Another family favourite to visit is Chalkwell Park. This is another big park in the area. The main draw for our family are the two playground areas, one of which is ideally suited to preschool age children with swings, and smaller climbing frames and slides. The other is more of an adventure playground with larger climbing apparatus suitable for older children. There are also tennis courts, basketball courts, a cafe serving a wide range of food, drinks and ice creams and toilets. There are open green spaces for children to play as well as formal gardens including a pretty rose garden.

A toddler on one of the climbing frames at Chalkwell Park
Chalkwell Park has 2 playgrounds

Shoebury Common North Playground, Shoebury Common Rd, SS3 9HQ

Another spot we love to visit is the Shoebury Common North playground which is quite new (opened in 2021). It has well-kept and fun sea themed play equipment including climbing frames, see saw, swings and a fun boat for little ones. We love that it is located opposite Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the seaside to enjoy an ice cream or warming drink walking along the seafront near the beach huts before or after playing. There are also good toilet facilities and parking near the sea front.

Children on a penguin seesaw at Shoebury Common North Playground
Shoebury Common North Playground has sea themed equipment

Shoeburyness Park/ Shoebury Park, Elm Road, Shoeburyness, SS3 9SF

I have to admit that this is not a spot that I know well, having actually only visited once. But it is a huge park (20 acres) and very popular with families, dog walkers and anglers alike. The large park boasts athletic fields, a fishing lake, skate park and playground. The lake and ponds are very beautiful with manicured gardens around the fishing lake and makes a great spot to feed the ducks. The play equipment includes swings, monkey bars, quite a large slide and various climbing frames. I had to drag the girls out (as I usually do at playgrounds!). There are toilets but no cafe on site.

Southchurch Hall Gardens, Woodgrange Drive, SS1 2SE

A popular spot with local dog walkers are the grounds of Southchurch Hall, a grade listed building that dates back to medieval times. The gardens are quite small but very pretty with charming bridge, a huge pond to feed the ducks and we’ve even spotted terrapins! No toilets or cafe on site.

A toddler in front of a lake at Southchurch Hall Gardens
Southchurch Hall Gardens

Belfairs Park Woodland Play Area, Belfairs Park, Leigh-on-Sea SS9 4LR

This park technically isn’t in Southend but a short drive away but I thought to mention it as it is the closest woodland play area and it’s very popular with Southend mums. The playground has a lovely and large play frame where children can clamber over various bridges and nets and then slide down a large slide as well as a large swing.

Facilities are available nearby at the Belfairs Nature Discovery Centre, which has all the comforts to enjoy the woodlands in comfort including information, toilets, a cafe, picnic area and parking.

Aside from the playground, it is so beautiful to stroll through the ancient woodland, much of which is over 1000 years old. The girls always enjoy searching for bugs while we are there.


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. 

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