Well-regarded schools in Rochford include St Teresa’s Catholic Primary School, Rochford Primary and Nursery School, Greensward Academy and The King Edmund School. Several independent and high-performing selective schools can also be found in the area. These include Southend High School for Boys, Southend High School for Girls, Westcliff High School for Boys Academy and Westcliff High School for Girls.
The University of Essex has a campus in Southend and Anglia Ruskin University has a campus in Chelmsford. London and its many universities can be reached by train in around 50 minutes (Rochford to Liverpool Street).
A good selection of shops can be found in Rochford town centre, mainly made up of small boutiques and independents. Southend, however, is home to two shopping centres and a broad range of well-known chains along its high street. The Victoria shopping centre is located at the top of High Street and can be accessed directly from Southend Victoria Railway Station, or is a five-minute walk from Southend Central Railway Station. The Royals is less than five minutes walk from the Western Esplanade and beach, and has around 30 stores.
Rochford farmers’ market takes place once a month in the Women’s’ Institute Hall in West Street. Southend market is a popular destination for shoppers and takes place every Thursday, while the town’s farmers’ market is held twice a month. There are also regular farmers’ markets at nearby Leigh-on-Sea, Rayleigh and Hadleigh.
For a night out, or a daytime snack, fast food or home cooking, Rochford offers a plentiful selection of restaurants, cafés, pubs and takeaways. The Beehive Tea Rooms on South Street is a long-established presence in the town, serving home cooked food seven days a week to an appreciative clientele. There are also several cafés and pubs providing traditional British dishes, as well as Indian, Chinese and Italian restaurants.
The coastal town of Southend is of course known for its fish and chips, and being a holiday resort, its ice cream. Rossi’s on Western Esplanade first opened its doors in 1932 and is celebrated among locals and visitors for the quality of its ice cream. The seaside cafés known as the Arches, due to their location beneath the arches of Shorefield Road, are also longstanding Southend residents and date back to the early 1900s, while Tomassi’s restaurant, café and ice cream parlour on High Street has been trading in the town since 1934.
Rochford is blessed with acres of managed green space, as well as being surrounded by open countryside. Cherry Orchard Jubilee Country Park in the Roach Valley extends for 200 acres and encompasses grassland, a lake and woodland, providing a home for a wide range of animals and plants – including 28,000 trees – and cycle routes, walking trails and bridleways for visitors. Magnolia Nature Reserve in nearby Hawkwell is also important for wildlife, as are Betts Wood and Hockley Woods, areas of ancient woodland in the village of Hockley.
Public parks in the area include Priory Park and Chalkwell Park in Southend, both of which have children’s playgrounds, sports courts and sports pitches. Southend Cliff Gardens, just behind Western Esplanade, offer views over Southend’s beaches and across the Thames Estuary to Kent.
The town of Rochford is home to a number of ancient buildings, such as the Old House, which dates back to the 13th century and Rochford Hall, home to the Boleyn family and Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife and mother of Queen Elizabeth I.
Southend has been a celebrated seaside resort for generations and sports many of the facilities that go with that accolade, including the longest pleasure pier in the world, a funfair and amusement park (Adventure Island), an aquarium (Sea Life Adventure) and a funicular railway that links the promenade with the cliff top.
Culture buffs are also catered for with contemporary art exhibitions at the Focal Point Gallery; photography and textile exhibitions at Beecroft Art Gallery, and local and natural history collections at Central Museum. The museum also houses Southend Planetarium, which hosts a regular programme of astronomy events.
The town has three theatres – the Palace Theatre, Cliffs Pavilion and Clifftown Theatre – as well as a modern event venue, the Royal Pavilion, at the end of Southend Pier. A multiplex cinema at the top of High Street screens blockbuster movies, dance, music, opera and sports events.
Rochford Railway Station is served by trains from Southend Victoria to London Liverpool Street, with stops at Southend Airport and Stratford in east London (for Docklands Light Railway). Journey times to Stratford are around 40 minutes and to London Liverpool Street around 50 minutes. Getting to Southend Airport from Rochford takes less than five minutes by train and to Southend Victoria 10 minutes.
Southend Airport lies within the Rochford district and several carriers operate passenger flights from there to cities in Europe.
Major roads in the area include the A127, which links Southend with Gallows Corner near Romford and intersects with the A12 and the M25; the A130 from Little Waltham, just outside Chelmsford, to Canvey Island, and the A13 from Shoeburyness to Aldgate in the City of London.
Local area information, including retail, leisure or other amenities is intended as general guidance only. References to schools and other educational establishments are included to illustrate their proximity to the development and should not be regarded as a guarantee of eligibility or admission. Travel times are approximate and by car unless otherwise stated.