Day 2 of this week’s blog series – and the first thing I love about Leigh – The Old Town. Check out my introduction to Leigh-on-Sea and this week’s posts by clicking here. Tips, tricks, reviews and best times to go. Leave a comment if you’ve got more to add.
Old Leigh, also known as ‘The Old Town’ is a picturesque, old fishing village, with cobbled streets, cockle sheds, pubs and so much going on. It oozes character and on a sunny weekend, you will struggle to find it not bustling and teaming with people. Right next to the station and 45 minutes from London, on a sunny day, I recommend jumping on the train, to avoid fighting for a parking space. Once again, Old Leigh is a mixed bag. Although, albeit often full of posers, it’s also popular with families, young and old, locals and day trippers.
Old Leigh still has active fishing boats leaving and returning; the cockle sheds are in full action and there is an industrial as well as quaint element to the setting. However, amongst locals and visitors alike, Old Leigh is best known for a walk, a day out, some cockles and a pint or maybe some fish and chips and ice cream thrown in. There are so many events held here throughout the summer which are always popular and bring the town to life, from the Regatta to the Folk Festival, to live music concerts held at The Peterboat. Depending on your stomach for crowds, this could be the worst or best time for you to visit. Just know this – if there’s an event, if the sun’s shining, it will be busy and there’s one thing the old town doesn’t lack and that’s atmosphere!
Later this week, I’ll be publishing a blog post related more to the events in this area.
Anyway I’ll get straight to the nitty gritty, what you really want to know about your trip to ‘The Old Town’.
The Pubs –
The Mayflower – slightly older crowd. Great fish and chips and there’s also a takeaway hole in the wall. Named after the boat that sailed the Pilgrim fathers to America, stopping at Leigh-on-Sea on the way.
The Peter-boat – Where it’s all at. Huge outdoor seating area, always packed with people on a nice day, more style over substance and slightly overpriced but it’s still my favourite. Standard pub grub inside and out. Great stage with live music acts in the summer.
The Crooked Billet – Small pub with only a very limited seating area inside and out but it’s very cute and right next to Osborne Bros seafood bar which has a good indoor and outdoor seating space. I recommend this one for great seafood and more of a family vibe. Also The Crooked Billet is usually more of a sure bet to get served quicker!
The Smack – your feet may stick to the floor a bit as you enter but it’s huge inside and perfect for a pint. Christmas Eve – this place is always teaming!
Although there are lots of places to eat in The Old Town, it’s more of a casual setting, hence why there are only two proper restaurants to speak of.
The Boat Yard – It’s got a stunning decking area for drinks and nibbles in the summer and a huge, indoor restaurant, perfect for all year round. It’s a smart establishment, always holding event evenings, however in my opinion it’s hit and miss. I’ve never had a really bad experience here but I’ve had some not so great ones. On the other hand I’ve had fantastic days and meals here. It’s never really a certain win but I wouldn’t knock it at the same time. Try it for yourself and let me know what you think.
The Old Foundry Hatch – Cool Vibes, coffee, cakes and snacks. Love this place. Perfect to pop in after or during a dog walk.
Sara’s Tea Room – never been but it’s cute and dog friendly! I’d advice visiting here in the summer rather than the winter!
I couldn’t write a blog post on Old Leigh without missing this place out. It’s a newish shop with stationery, jewellery, party decoration supplies and more. It’s essentially Uber cool and I really love it – completely recommend. Check out photos for more info!