Why Southend-on-Sea should be named the UK’s favourite place

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OK! has joined forces with our brand new sister site, 2Chill, to find out which place really is the nation's favourite.

Here, Samuel McManus champions Southend-on-Sea in Essex, and explains why it's a town worth discovering more about.

If you agree – or disagree – we'll give you the chance to vote in the search to find the UK’s favourite place.

Head over to 2Chill to find out who is at the top of the league table.

Remember the rankings will keep changing so do cast your vote.

The places with the lowest number of votes will end up in the relegation zone.

The 10 lowest ranking will be eliminated each week until we end up with our worthy winner.

Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside… that's why I absolutely love living in the (mostly) sunny Southend-on-Sea.

I have lived in Southend all of my life – bar the three years I spent at university in London – and, although I may be biased, I really don't think it can be beat.

Southend is a breeding ground for nostalgia, for happy memories of summer holidays, long walks along the beach, exhilarating days out at Adventure Island, and having one too many donuts along the pavilion, and I am so lucky to witness people making those memories every single day.

Just this weekend I went out for dinner with my brothers, and sat on the table next to us was a family who travelled down from up north during the school summer break.

The children's faces were filled with glee as they tripped over their tongues, not able to get their words out fast enough as they dissected their day. Their parents looked equally as happy, quietly plotting away their last few days in my glorious town.

There is rarely a dull moment in Southend, with such a wide variety of things to do. On a sunny day, you can take. a walk along the pier – it's the longest pleasure pier in the world, you know?

Or if we're unlucky enough to be showered on by the typical British summer rain, you can spend the day at the vast amount of arcades which stretch all the way along the seafront.

But aside from all the fun, Southend is also deep-rooted in history, which makes it the perfect place for all the fact finders out there.

The pier, then named HMS Leigh, even played a huge role in the evacuation of Dunkirk, becoming a crucial mustering point for convoys with over 3,000 convoys comprising over 84,000 vessels departing from it.

In 1939, the pier's moment of glory came when it became the Naval Control Centre for the Thames Estuary.

We also have a royal connection, with the remains and artefacts of Anglo-Saxon King Sæberht's brother Sæxa being found near Priory Park in 2003. The artefacts are now on permanent display in Southend's Central Museum.

Southend is just an hour away from London, with train connections from both Fenchurch Street and Liverpool Street stations, making it the perfect place for West End shows to transfer to once they leave the city.

A plethora of famous faces have graced the stages of the Cliffs Pavilion and Palace Theatre, with them being host to musical theatre performances, concerts, stand-up gigs and much more.

In a world that is full of uncertainty and the threat of travel bans, one thing is for sure – you will always be welcome in Southend, where the sea breeze and smell of fish and chips are ever so enticing, making us one of – if not the – UK's favourite place.

Do you agree with Samuel? Visit 2Chill to vote for your favourite place in the UK.

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