Regularly topping polls as one of the happiest places to live in Britain, we know Leigh-on-Sea offers something for everyone. The town is famed for its beaches, fantastic range of independent shops and cafés, family festivals, and beautiful properties to call home.
Leigh-on-Sea is a cultural gem along the Essex coastline, with a strong community spirit, plenty of places to visit, and a dynamic arts scene that has enjoyed renewed success, particularly in the last few years.
Being one of the largest estate agents in Essex, we wanted to share our insights on the local property market, the growth that the popular coastal town has experienced in recent years and just what makes Leigh-on-Sea such a happy place to live. Read on for our tips and advice for living in Leigh.
What is Leigh-on-Sea like?
Originally a fishing town – with records dating back to the Doomsday Book of 1086 – Leigh-on-Sea boasts a charming array of traditional properties along the coastline of Old Leigh. These are beautifully blended with modern developments located across the town that make the most of the Estuary views and links to London.
Today, Leigh-on-Sea attracts a growing number of homeowners and renters, thanks to the easy commute to the capital, impressive travel links beyond the capital via Southend Airport, and the wide range of local amenities.
From Leigh-on-Sea, you can be in London in 50 minutes, making the town a popular option for those looking to commute into the City for work or visiting major attractions at the weekend. Being just 40 miles from central London means that Leigh-on-Sea is also a great option for Londoners looking to move out of the city.
Leigh-on-Sea’s railway station is on Belton Way, which is served by C2C. Eastbound, the C2C line stops at Chalkwell, Southend Central and terminates at Shoeburyness, while terminating at Fenchurch Street on London-bound journeys.
On the road, the A127 connects Leigh-on-Sea to other towns across Essex including Basildon and Romford, then onto the M25. The A13, which is accessed on London Road, provides a route from Leigh-on-Sea to areas including Benfleet and Thurrock (for intu Lakeside and Thurrock Retail Parks) and the Dartford Crossing for those looking to venture into Kent.
Or, should you wish to travel internationally, London Southend Airport is less than 5 miles away from Leigh-on-Sea, which offers an ever-increasing number of destinations to travel to, including:
Entertainment, attractions and things to do in Leigh-on-Sea
Think Leigh-on-Sea, think culture. The town is renowned for its thriving arts scene, with so much to see and do. Leigh Broadway alone is a hub of activity, home to galleries, independent boutiques and the local library. Closer to the coast, Old Leigh high street has a number of attractions to explore. No wonder it’s one of the happiest places to live in Britain!
Galleries, Libraries and Culture
Shopping in Leigh Broadway
The Broadway is at the heart of the community here in Leigh-on-Sea, priding itself on a unique collection of independent shops.
Take a stroll down the Broadway and explore antiques, records, fashion, homeware and much more, followed by a pitstop at one of the cafés or restaurants. Don’t forget to check out Clements Arcade for even more independent stores.
Old Leigh and Leigh Heritage Centre
Want to learn more about the local area around you? It’s worth a visit to the Leigh Heritage Centre, which can be found in the high street of Old Leigh. The ‘old town’ was once a traditional fishing village, and today is home to craft shops, pubs, wharfs and cockle sheds – not to mention the fantastic views across the estuary.
Two Tree Island
Accessed from Leigh-on-Sea all year round, Two Tree Island is a small, peaceful nature reserve that features walking trails and stunning views over the mudflats. Perfect for keen birdwatchers and dog walkers looking for another route to explore.
For a family day out, we recommend a visit to Belfairs woods. The ancient woodland features a golf course, tennis courts, bowling greens, children’s playground, restaurant, walking trails and much more.
Events in Leigh-on-Sea
There are a fantastic range of exhibitions, festivals and events held in – and ran by members of – the local community every year.
Every summer, Village Green Festival is held in Chalkwell Park. It’s an art and music festival for all the family, a diverse event at the heart of the local community.
Leigh Art Trail
Each June, the work of local contemporary artists and designers is proudly displayed in venues throughout Leigh-on-Sea, encouraging community engagement across the town. You can find out more here.
Leigh Folk Festival
Established in 1992, the Leigh Folk Festival attracts visitors from across the county and beyond to Old Leigh to enjoy folk and acoustic music, poetry, storytelling and more.
Old Leigh Regatta
The Old Leigh Regatta is an annual charity event, full of fun, games and music at the end of summer. It’s a local tradition, with the events taking place every year for nearly 50 years.
Cafes, bars and restaurants
When it comes to food and drink, Leigh-on-Sea has something for everyone, from high street names like Costa Coffee to fantastic fine dining options from independent restaurants. Some of Leigh’s eateries are so well loved that visitors from all over the country flock to the town to enjoy.
Leigh-on-Sea is also home to many cafes and bars, so residents are spoilt for choice. Centred around the hub of Leigh Broadway, the town has speciality cafes serving up independent, locally roasted coffee at The Corner Club, delicious waffles, biscuits and ice cream at Cookies & Cones and huge pancake stacks (with plenty of vegan options available) at Lemon Witch.
Here are some more of our favourites:
- The Peterboat – a traditional pub located in the heart of Old Leigh, a local favourite!
- Birdwood Bakery – situated on Leigh Road, Birdwood serves fresh coffee and prides itself on their sourdough bread, made in the bakery daily.
- Baboush Grill – try a range of delicious Middle-Eastern flavours at Baboush, just a short walk away from Chalkwell Station.
- Stop the World Café – located on Leigh Broadway, Stop the World offers light bites, cakes, milkshakes and more.
- The Estuary – an independently owned restaurant on Leigh Broadway, here you can enjoy a wide range of meals, with locally sourced seafood on the menu.
Leigh welcomes families to the town with a selection of highly rated comprehensive and private schools for both primary and secondary school levels.
The following primary schools are found in Leigh-on-Sea:
- Chalkwell Hall Infant and Junior Schools, London Road
- St Pierre School, Leigh Road
- Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School, Manchester Drive
- Leigh North Street Primary School, North Street
- Blenheim Primary School, School Way
The following secondary schools are found in Leigh-on-Sea:
- St Thomas More High School, Kenilworth Gardens
- Westcliff High School for Girls, Kenilworth Gardens
- Westcliff High School for Boys, Kenilworth Gardens
- Belfairs Academy, Highlands Boulevard
- The Eastwood Academy, Rayleigh Road
Further and higher education
For further and higher education opportunities, be sure to check out the College and University in our guide to living in Southend-on-Sea.
Hospitals and Medical Centres
An important consideration for homeowners of all ages is being close to hospitals and local GPs. Nearby Southend is home to a large University Hospital, while residents in Leigh-on-Sea have access to a full range of medical services, including Leigh Road Surgery, Pall Mall Surgery and The Leigh Surgery.
Leigh-on-Sea is served by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council – their website has plenty of information for homeowners, renters and landlords looking at property in Leigh as well as more general help and support. The Leigh-on-Sea Town Council also provides local services.
Costs of living in Leigh-on-Sea
To get an up to date view of the property market in Leigh-on-Sea, we recommend you speak with our specialist team here at Ayers & Cruiks.
If you are renting then the typical fees and deposits will be applicable.
Some of the fees and administration with Ayers & Cruiks would include:
- One month rent upfront
Renting or buying property in Leigh-on-Sea
As one of the leading firms of Estate Agents in Essex, we have built up an extensive database of properties and local contacts in Leigh-on-Sea and its surrounding areas.
Thinking about are buying, renting or investing in residential property in Leigh-on-Sea? We hope our guide to the picturesque Estuary town has helped you consider your options.
Looking for your next business venture in the town? Browse our latest commercial property to let in Leigh-on-Sea and our commercial properties for sale in the area here. We also have office space to let in Leigh-on-Sea.
Alternatively, contact us here to learn more about what we’ve got on our books.