I do like to be beside the sea side

What do you do for lunch when you want to spoil someone for their birthday? Take a day trip to the coast, of course.

On this occasion we journeyed by train to the Thames Estuary, off the North Sea. Only 35 miles east of London, it’s an easy 50 minute commute from Fenchurch Street Station to Leigh on Sea – a quintessentially English town, full of charm and character.

Champagne

Exiting the train station, a 15 minute walk through the Belton Hills nature reserve overlooking the estuary takes you to The Broadway. Set above the Old Town, it is bustling with pubs, restaurants and independent retail outlets, a welcome change from the usual High Street chain stores.

We chose to dine on seafood at The Sandbar and Seafood Co. on The Broadway.

The food was delicious – Twice cooked belly of pork served with borlotti bean and shallot purée; Half pint of crevettes (large prawns) served with toasted ciabatta and chilli mayonnaise; and Smoked mackerel with roast potatoes.

We toast the special occasion with a glass of Prosecco and enjoy a bottle of Albert Bichot Classic chardonnay from Bourgogne (Burgundy) with our meal. From our beautifully set table at the front of the restaurant – complete with a crisp white table cloth and charming single red rose – we can glimpse the ocean.