Clacton-on-Sea: What to Do Guide

When people ask me where my favourite places in the world are: they’re astounded to hear they’re mostly all British. My top 3? Derby, my hometown, Derby. Central London, because I just love the buzz. Clacton-on-Sea. Clacton is probably surprising to some people. It’s an old Essex seaside town with a tiny parade of shops. So why do I love it so much?

My daughter was born in Colchester, Essex. I was living in Clacton at the time of her birth. Clacton is a second-home if you will. We return 2/3 times a year to visit family and catch up with friends. I know the town pretty well, so here I am to share some of our favourite things to do.

Clacton Pier

When I first visited Clacton Pier it was nothing like it is now! Having recently undergone a 4m Makeover – It’s actually a day out on it’s own.

1. Amusements
Every seaside town needs 2p slot machines. They’re a seaside staple. Well, Clacton Pier has it’s very own one. We had £10 to spend – And we managed to have an afternoon of fun. We managed to win 4 cuddly toys in grabber machines, play a game of air hockey, play with the aforementioned 2p slots, and so many other arcade games.

2. Fairground Rides

The fairground rides look mega fun. There really is quite a variety I’d love to have tried. I’d love to be able to give an informed run-down of what to ride but honestly; I’ve never actually been on them! I’ve been far too pregnant each time I’ve visited or had a young baby. This time, I was convinced I’d pay for a wristband and take Holly on some of the rides. Unfortunately, the rides are closed in October on a weekday! Which makes perfect sense, of course as it isn’t peak season! We’re definitely going on them next time!

3. Bowling

There is a bowling alley on the pier. In the amusements, there is an alley which on a weekday before 11am is only £2.50 a person including shoe hire. Having children, we’re always up early! We took advantage of this offer because you can’t really beat that, can you? Although, I was definitely beat at bowling (even by Holly!) my score was SHOCKING.

4. Go Karts

Clacton Pier boasts the ‘The only figure of 8 double deck go-kart track in Europe’. Now I’m not a go-carter, but that’s quite an impressive.

5. Softplay

I was SHOOK with this one… There is a soft play centre on the pier. And it’s not your usual tiny, smelly and sticky soft play centre! This new soft play centre is new and absolutely AMAZING. By far the highlight of our visit to the pier. There is a little adventure area for under fours, which is fantastic. The apparatus for bigger children is HUGE. You could certainly lose your children for a few hours. The slides a thrilling and fast – I even tried them out after phsyching myself up for them! There is also a cinema room (the cinema was showing frozen when we visited!), a roleplay supermarket and disco room.

6. Much more…

I can’t actually list everything on Clacton Pier… But other things include a Gift shop, Traditional Seaside food such as doughnuts, rock, fish & chips and candy floss – All of which can be found on the pier. There is also an Aquarium to look at some marine life – both fun and educational. Sea fishing, Adventure golf and Circus Fantasia show.


Make no mistake, the Airshow isn’t a year-round attraction. It’s usually held at the end of August over two days. But it really is spectacular to see. The locals flock to the seafront, but everyone from further afield comes along too! I remember one year catching a train over one of the airshow days – It’s obvious that the airshow creates such a buzz because the place was buzzing with excitable crowds!


Clacton mark special occasions with stunning firework displays. Check to see when the next display is. I’ve been to a few and they truly are spectacular and not to be missed!

The Beach

Being a Midland girl, living in probably one of the most landlocked areas in Britain – The sea never ceases to amaze me. It’s so calming and beautiful. I’ll always look for cute seashells, build sandcastles and paddle in the sea. I even went for a paddle in mid-October!

Town Centre

Clacton town centre is modest. There isn’t a huge load of shops. Which means there is quite a few seaside gift shops – which I find quaint and charming. You’ll always find something for that one family member who asked you to bring them something back! Also, there are a few charity shops to peruse for bargains! There is also a wealth of places to eat and drink, from chains to independently owned cafes. You won’t go hungry.

Clacton Common

Clacton Common is a discount retail outlet which is only a short 10-minute drive from Clacton town centre. If you’re looking for designer clothes, but at a discounted price – go bag yourself a bargain!

Clacton truly is a lovely little british seaside family getaway!

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