Life in the ‘sad’ UK seaside resort that’s ‘completely empty’ out of season

Heading to the seaside on a wet and windy November day may not be how most people choose to spend their day off.

While it may be a typically booming tourism sector in the summer months, Clacton-on-Sea in Essex comes to a standstill when the sun retreats.

The pier, fish and chip shops and arcades all remain but businesses there are struggling, especially during the colder winter months.

Candy Corner, a candy store in the coastal town, has not done a lot business lately and with the weather playing an important role as to how well they’ll do day to day.

“Some days are worse than others”, one dejected employee told MyLondon.

“On a rainy day like today, I’ve had 13 customers. On a good summer day, I get more than 100.”

It’s not just Candy Corner that’s finding business tough at the moment, with Ice Cream and Chips at the Pavilion sharing similar sentiments about the change in season.

“We do get a lot less people,” the server admitted.

“Today I’ve had two, and I’ve been open since 10am. So yeah, a lot less.”

A stroll along the beach during the colder snap can be met with striking silence as swathes of summer tourists stay away.

One man who embarked on a seaside stroll, however, said: “I fancied going to the seaside and one of the closest to me is Clacton.

“I’ve been during the season and it was full of people and everything was open. I was expecting at least something to be open.

“But when I got here I realised everything is closed. There’s not much to do and it’s actually very sad how sad it looks in the off-season. There were no other tourists, the beach was empty, and there were only two shops open. I couldn’t even get fish and chips.”

He added: “The upside of visiting Clacton in the off-season is the gorgeous beaches are empty and if you’re driving there are no parking problems. For someone who just wants to enjoy the sea, it’s the perfect time to visit.

“But if you’re visiting with kids or family, I wouldn’t recommend it – it looks dodgy and everything is closed.”

Neighbouring Jaywick has oft been named England’s most deprived area and its off-season feel might partly explain why the area gets a bad rep. While Clacton-on-Sea is the place to be in summer, closed shops, shuttered restaurants and bars, and empty beaches make up the town’s winter tapestry and an overarching feeling of waiting for better days lingers.