The best pubs in South Essex

If you’re looking for a relaxing pub for a pint after a long walk in the countryside we’ve got a list of some of Essex’s finest. Chat with locals over a tipple or two, enjoy an artisan ale or try some great food. Whether it’s in the town centre or the countryside, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. We’ve curated a list of the best pubs, beer gardens, and dog-friendly pubs in South Essex. Buy your tickets online 3+ days in advance and get from London to Southend for £12 return. You can now buy super off-peak tickets on c2c Smartcard, making your journey quicker and easier. Find out more about Smartcard.

Winner of the CAMRA South East Essex Pub Of The Year 2014, 2015, and 2016! The Mayflower is complete with a stunning seaside view, whether you’re popping in during a tour of the many excellent pubs lining the coast, or settling for the afternoon to enjoy live music, real ale, and their in-house chip shop.

5 – 6 High Street, Leigh-on-Sea, SS9 2EN
Nearest c2c station: Leigh-on-Sea

The Olde trout is a hidden gem. Try one of their ever-changing guest ales or the house ‘Trout Ale,’ which is brewed especially for the pub. If you like quizzes there’s one every two Sundays, and on Tuesday and Wednesday it’s darts nights. It’s a good spot for a couple of brews before heading to the Cliffs Pavilion theatre and does a smashing Sunday Lunch.

56 London Road, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 1NX
Nearest c2c station: Southend Central

This 15th Century coaching inn, run by the same family for over 75 years, has all the hallmarks of the perfect gastro pub: crackling fire, cuisine that made The Sunday Times Food List, modern interior decor and numerous ales. Their menu changes daily, using seasonal and local produce where possible, and if you’re struggling to leave there are 27 beautiful bedrooms to choose from should you wish to spend the night.

High Road, Horndon-On-The-Hill, Essex, SS17 8LD
Nearest c2c station: Stanford-le-Hope

If you’re in the town centre, The Exchange boasts a lovely patio and decking area, fresh food, complimentary bar snacks, free Wifi and great live music. Formerly a Barclay’s Bank, its name retains its financial history, but the bank vault is now a beer cellar.

Their Sunday Sessions feature live, chilled out music if you’re in the mood to relax with food, drink and friends.

659 Southchurch Road, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 2PW
Nearest c2c station: Southend East

Perched on the edge of the River Crouch, this thoroughly modern pub and restaurant enjoys an idyllic setting, where dogs and children have plenty of room to play. It’s the only pub in Essex to hold the Michelin Bib Gourmand award, received in 2016, which recognises outstanding food at moderate prices. They offer seasonal menus and source local produce, so check their website for what food is on offer.

Ferry Road, Hullbridge, Essex SS5 6ND
Nearest c2c station: Pitsea

A five-minute ride from Benfleet station brings you to The Woodmans Arms in Thundersley, serving locally sourced food that changes with the seasons. Choose from craft beer, real ale and a hand-picked selection of wine, but be sure to pop along on the third Friday of the month for Soul Night – which has proved so popular revellers have been known to literally drink the bar dry.

Nearest c2c station: Benfleet
Rayleigh Road, Thundersley, SS7 3TA

The best beer gardens in South Essex

Whether you love a lager, prefer a craft beer or stick to the soft drinks, the Southend area has a brilliant array of options for you. Read on for our curated list of the top 10 South Essex pubs with gardens or outdoor seating…

The Peterboat

The Peterboat pub garden

This olde worlde pub is located right on the seafront, offering a lovely drinking setting with traditional seaside vibes. Its beer garden is a great size and has both uncovered and covered tables. You’ll find all the drinks you’d expect, plus a food menu covering light bites, various mains, grill dishes and baguettes at lunchtime. There’s also a children’s menu, making this an ideal family spot.

Closest c2c station: Leigh-on-Sea

Hoy & Helmet

Hoy & Helmet pub

A little further out of Southend, the Hoy & Helmet in Benfleet is a historic, Grade 2 listed building which may be over 500 years old! Here you’ll find a large beer garden and plenty of drink options, including reasonably priced cocktails if you’re feeling fruity. Food-wise they serve all the pub classics, from gammon and eggs to sausage and mash. Just download the Green King app to order!

Closest c2c station: Benfleet

The Broadway

Drinking glasses of wine

This pub is well-known for showing live sport and brings quite the crowd in when there’s a big football game on. The beer garden here isn’t the biggest in Southend, but the staff are friendly and the food portions are big. What more could you want?

Closest c2c station: Leigh-on-Sea

Mile and a Third


This quirky spot is technically a micropub, named after the length of Southend Pier (1.33 miles). It may be compact but there’s space for about 25 people to sit outside and watch the world go by. You might have guessed that the order of the day here is craft beer, but there’s also real ale, wine and cider available. The owners are brothers who are genuinely passionate about craft beer, so you’re sure to be choosing from a top-notch selection.

Closest c2c station: Westcliff

Old Walnut Tree

The old walnut tree pub

The Old Walnut tree is another traditional-style pub situated on Southchurch Boulevard. There’s a spacious, sunny beer garden here with a parasol on most tables. There are plenty of offers on food depending on the day of the week, so you can make sure you get your money’s worth.

Closest c2c station: Southend East

The Broker Freehouse

Cheers Champagne

This highly-rated, family-run pub has a good amount of new outdoor seating with a covered area and heaters – perfect for those chilly spring nights. The Broker serves a wide selection of drinks including real ales, wine and spirits, as well as hearty home cooked food. Book a table for a charming local feel.

Closest c2c station: Leigh-on-Sea

West Road Tap

Pint of beer being poured in a pub

West Road tap is another cool micropub on the Southend scene. Head here for a laid back atmosphere where you might discover your new favourite beer! The beer garden isn’t bookable so try and get down in good time to nab yourself a table. Choose from a selection of beers and ales, or cider, wine and spirits if you’re not a beer lover. There are also tasty bar snacks on offer.

Closest c2c station: Westcliff

Craftwerk Beers


This one’s more of a bar than a pub and has a limited amount of outdoor seating, but we had to include it thanks to its excellent reviews, fantastic drinks menu and down to earth feel. Craftwerk’s speciality is beers but it also serves cocktails, quality wines and spirits and even stone-baked pizzas with a number of sides! If you don’t manage to get a seat at one of “the most exclusive tables in Southend” (according to their Instagram), you can always grab some cans or bottles to take home with you.

Closest c2c station: Southend Central

The Crooked Billet

The Crooked Billet pub garden

Another atmospheric pub on the coast – South Essex has plenty to offer! The main outdoor seating area is in a lovely spot directly next to the sea, so there are stunning vistas aplenty here. They’re also taking walk-ins as well as bookings, so if you’re looking for a last-minute pub garden this could be the one. Gin lovers will be spoilt for choice here; the “gin palace” offers a selection of over 15 brands and flavours. The food is equally impressive, with pies, fish dishes, burgers and lots more available.

Closest c2c station: Leigh-on-Sea

Mawson’s Micropub


Mawson’s is a small but perfectly-formed micropub in Southchurch. Their beer garden has a few tables, a couple of which are covered by gazebos. Mawson’s calls itself Southend’s first micropub and is a local favourite with an excellent choice of craft beer, real ale, cider, wine, spirits and soft drinks. They even have a “Pint Patron” card, allowing you to amass loyalty points for each drink you buy!

Closest c2c station: Southend East

The best dog friendly pubs in South Essex

There’s only one thing that could make sitting in a seaside pub with a cold pint that much better and that’s sharing it with your furry best friend. Not the pint of course, but the chilled out vibes of relaxing in a sunny beer garden. We’ve put together a list of great pubs along the Southend coastline (From Shoeburyness to Leigh-on-Sea) that welcome all canine companions with open arms. Check them out below:

 The Old Garrison


A quaint local based at the end of the c2c line not a stone’s throw from Shoeburyness beach. The Old Garrison is famed for friendly staff and great ales, but with its spacious beer garden and plentiful pub benches outdoors, there’s enough room to play for both punters and pups.

Closest c2c station: Shoeburyness

Molo Lounge


This quirky cafe bar at the top of Southend high street is a great spot to excite your senses. The eccentric decor and art installations are a fun sight when dining, the range of foods from big meals to lighter tapas dishes all smell amazing and the cocktails, well, we’ll let you taste those for yourselves. 

Closest c2c station: Southend Central

Kilkies (formerly The Sand Bar)

Cocktails two

The downstairs area enjoys a buzzy atmosphere with its owners describing it as a great place to observe the comings and goings of Leigh life. There are plenty of seating options from sofas to high-tables to outside dining areas, giving the Sand Bar an enjoyable yet sophisticated experience. Only well-behaved pooches will be welcomed in this classy establishment.

Closest c2c station: Leigh-on-Sea (also near to Chalkwell)

Sara’s Tea Room

Saras Tearoom

Okay, so this one isn’t actually a pub, but we couldn’t not mention it in this dog loving list. Sara’s Tea Room in Leigh-on-Sea is a super friendly, super chilled place to relax with some great grub in a setting reminiscent of a fairytale garden. They even have a menu specifically for dogs too, how good is that?

Closest c2c station: Leigh-on-Sea

The Peterboat

The Peterboat, which we mentioned earlier, is suitable for all four-footed friends who are welcome to sit and take in the scenery too. 

Closest c2c station: Leigh-on-Sea

The Exchange

We’ve mentioned The Exchange earlier, and aside from having a terrific atmosphere, it’s a dog friendly pub your canine companion will love!

Closest c2c station: Southend East

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