Discover Old Leigh

Old Leigh is a town full of unique character and charm and is a must-see when visiting Southend-on-Sea. With galleries and craft shops, a selection of pubs, excellent fish restaurants and the famous cockle sheds this picturesque town is the perfect place for you to unwind and take in the fresh sea air.

Art, Culture & Heritage

Old Leigh Studios
61 High Street, Old Leigh

Richard Baxter's studio is an ideal place to see his latest ceramics and pottery. Richard Baxter is a well known British potter producing highly individual and collectable ceramic art. From stylishly functional domestic earthenware pottery to beautifully fluid porcelain bowls and unique ceramic design.

Lynn Tait Gallery
The Old Foundry, 66 High Street, Old Leigh

A large selection of original gifts, souvenirs and collectables, including paintings and cards.

Leigh Heritage Centre
The centre's exhibition of objects, documents, photographs and any other item whatsoever connected with the town of Leigh-on-Sea is perfect for those wanting to delve into local history.

The Heritage Centre is open most days, especially weekends, but is entirely run by volunteers so it is best to phone first to check opening times. T: 01702 470834.


The perfect place to sample fresh seafood...

Old Leigh is renowned for its seafood - especially cockles! When in town you must visit ‘cockle row' where you can sample some of the local fishermen's freshest catch. Perfect on a summer's day sitting on the sea wall.  

The quality and the taste of seafood here is renowned with cockles being supplied to many exceptional restaurants - even as far as Paris. Although 80% of the town's catch is exported you're never going to be left disappointed as seafood is always available for you sample whether from one of the many cockle sheds or in one of the fish restaurants that boast stunning views of the estuary.


Inspiring Views

Old Leigh is a picturesque old fishing village steeped in history and is often an inspiring location for locals and visitors alike. When walking along the seafront footpath you can frequently see people taking in the charming landscape, sketching or painting whilst also a breathtaking backdrop for photographers.


From tea and cream cakes in one of the tearoom's (or tea garden) and traditional fish & chips beside the sea to the fine dining delights of one of the popular restaurants there is a variety of cuisine to suit all tastes and budgets.

When you have sampled the local eateries you can always unwind in one of the 4 nearby pubs and beer gardens - some of which directly overlook the Thames Estuary. If you still have room you can always finish off with a cool Rossi's ice cream which is also manufactured in the factory in Southend.



Throughout the year Old Leigh is host to a variety of events which always ensure the cobbled streets are bustling.

In June art lovers can join in the Leigh Art trail and wander around galleries, studios, shops, homes, restaurants and gardens where everything from ceramics and sculpture to jewellery and textiles will be on display or enjoy the return of one of the largest free festivals of music, song and dance in Essex with the annual Leigh Folk Festival.

In August you can see fishing boats, talk to the fishermen and sample the local delicacy of cockles at Leigh Fishing Festival whilst September sees the return of the Old Leigh Regatta and a weekend of fun and frivolity with the unique combination of sailing races and novelty water events, together with the unusual sights of cockle and banana eating contests, football on the mud and tug-of-war.

For details about these events and many others take a look at our ‘What's On' section.

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