I nearly made a bit of a mistake and bought a flat in Chelmsford. Not saying there is anything wrong with Chelmsford, but I’m a wicker basket girl; not a designer handbag girl. And although there are plenty of designer handbag types in Leigh; the independent boutiques, deli shops and restaurants, cafe culture and original food shops (bakeries, butchers, fishmongers) were calling.
Leigh is a treasure. Hidden in southern Essex, you could easily miss it. Situated in the middle of Southend and Basildon, perched on the entrance to the River Thames, a lot of people may not venture this far south into East Anglia. But for the risk of ruining it with tourists; you must!
There are not many traditional English towns left these days, but this is surely one of them. We do, unfortunately have a Costa and a Tesco Express, but you can easily ignore them! Instead you can visit so many beautiful family and independently run shops. It’s ideal for gift shopping and if you enjoy visiting butchers and fishmongers for the freshest meat, we actually have more than one to choose from. Shop owners still have “regulars” and take time out to have a chat, people still wonder in and out of shops in a chirpy manner, sometimes just window shopping, whilst others busily darting from one shop to the next to get supplies for tonight’s tea.
Leaving the Broadway, you can take a stroll past the old Church, down the cliff towards to estuary. Either head down to the Old Town for a quick pint or ice cream whilst watching the cockle boats coming in or perhaps a perfect sunset, or head left and walk towards Chalkwell and Westcliff – spotting the longest pier in the world on your horizon. Keep walking and after no time at all you’ll pass the Cliffs Pavillion (home to the best Essex pantos and other theatrical events) and end up in Southend to experience fabulous tacky seaside culture of candy floss, neon, arcades and helta skeltas.
Back in Leigh, I live in a lovely 3 bedroom house with my hubby close to the Broadway – perfect walking distance for me and my wicker basket. I’m not saying Leigh is perfect, but it still has some nice, good old-fashioned English charm that I love. A lovely town for a young family, on the up!
And obviously it will always be a place close to my heart . . . it’s where I met Andy!