Estuary 2021: a celebration of the ‘unfashionable end of the Thames’

Southend's Adventure Island (pic Jonathan Juniper)

Chalkwell Beach (pic Jonathan Juniper)
Chalkwell Beach… whatever your transport (pic Jonathan Juniper)
Chalkwell Funicular (pic Jonathan Juniper)

You can enjoy more than 90 artworks and events during the Estuary 2021 festival, which begins on Saturday (May 22).
Held along the 107-mile trail of the Thames estuary, it celebrates the lives, landscapes and histories found there through visual art, literature, music and film.
It can be enjoyed for free, outdoors and in a Covid-19-secure way; you can walk the shorelines of south Essex and north Kent, encountering contemporary artworks, storytelling and performance within the estuary’s landscape, historic sites and coastal towns.
Essex highlights include:

  • An estuary pub crawl to find specially-made mirrors in five historic hostelries including The Crooked Billet in the fishing village of Old Leigh, Barge Gladys on the water at Benfleet Creek, Lobster Smack on Canvey Island, The White Lion at Fobbing and The Worlds End, Tilbury.
  • Experiments with microplastics using washing machines installed in Wat Tyler Country Park – find out how these tiny fibres make their way from our clothes to our waterways every time they’re washed and learn how to do simple experiments on your own clothes at home.
  • A GPS treasure hunt around the Essex coast, using your phone to discover hidden geocaches – physical objects that will allow you to listen to specially-recorded sound portraits unique to each location.
  • Standing on an abandoned jetty beside the 19th-century brick-built Experimental Casemate in Shoeburyness to view a three-metre outdoor photography installation depicting the estuary’s waters.
  • Choosing a seedling and going on an audio walk at Wat Tyler Country Park before deciding whether to plant and put down roots.
  • A walk with a 360-degree film in the landscape across six sites at Gunners Park, inspired by the classic nature book, JA Baker’s The Peregrine
  • Getting a copy of the limited-edition ‘multiple’ of the hand-drawn Thames Estuary Trail map by Adam Dant. You can use it to find hidden gems, from unusual heritage sites to places to get creatively inspired. The Adam Dant Estuary map is available from or Estuary 2021 hubs and venues.
  • A guided walk with the author of Thames Estuary Trail: A Walk Round the End of the World to find out about the history, people and hidden delights that can be found at this “unfashionable end of the Thames”.
  • Estuary 2021 runs from Saturday, May 22, to Sunday, June 13. To learn more, visit