Inside the new UK city – home to beaches, theme park and longest pleasure pier in the world

A TOWN in England has recently been granted city status, the first in a decade.

Southend-on-Sea, often known as just Southend, has become the UK's 70th city, in honour of Sir David Amess, the MP who was killed last year.

Joining other seaside cities such as Plymouth, Portsmouth and Brighton – it is the newest city in England since Chelmsford was granted city status in 2012.

And it is also a great alternative staycation destination if wanting some sea and sand, but don't want the crowds of Cornwall and Devon.

The city became a popular seaside holiday hotspot back in the 19th century, after a visit from then-princess Caroline of Brunswick – King George IV's wife – and the creation of Southend Pier.

The pier is the longest pleasure pier in the world, stretching 1.34m out to sea.

It's not just the beach that makes it popular with tourists.

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It is home to the longest pleasure pier in the worldCredit: Alamy
A visit to the seaside is also complete by visiting the arcadesCredit: Alamy
Of course the stretch of sandy beach is the most popular thing to do in the summerCredit: Alamy

Visitors can have fun at the Adventure Island theme park which is free to enter.

Home to 36 rides, this includes five rollercoasters as well as tamer ones including Ferris wheels, carousels and helter skelters.

If you do get rain while there – despite being the driest seaside resort in England – there's the Sealife Adventure, amusement arcades and plenty of museums and galleries to explore.

A number of famous people also came from Southend, including actors Helen Mirren and Kara Tointon, as well as comedians Russell Kane and Phil Jupitus.

You might have spotted it in some huge blockbuster films too.

The 2017 Wonder Woman filmed scenes along the coast, while 2006 film The Queen, as well as James Bond's Goldfinger, were shot at Southend Airport.

This year is expected to be another record-breaking year for staycations as Brits opt for domestic holidays once again.

Here are some of the best Easter staycations from £119.

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