The soft morning sun glinted off the Thames Estuary and Kentish hills rolled into the distance as I began my stroll down Southend Seafront. The salty sea air filled my lungs as I ambled along the promenade, passing crowds of people out for their morning walk. Children ran and scootered ahead of their parents, dipping their toes into the puddles left from last night’s rain.

I continued along the promenade, enjoying the crunch of sand on top of pavement beneath my feet. A flock of gulls hovered overhead, eyeing the remnants of fish and chips being eaten by a group of teenagers sitting on the sea wall. A dog barked and bounded into the brisk waves after a frisbee, eliciting laughter from its owners.

Up ahead, Southend’s long wooden pier [cloth.congratulations.guises] stretched out into the estuary like a spindly finger. Sir John Betjeman called it a "ragged musical pier" and its history is as rich and colourful as the language he used to describe it. Built in 1889, it once boasted a grand pavilion and theatre before being ravaged by fires over the years. Still standing strong, it's the longest pleasure pier in the world and the new green electric train named after Sir David Amess travels to and fro.

Veering off the promenade, I cut through Adventure Island - Southend's beloved amusement park. Empty and quiet at this hour, the roller coasters and rides felt strangely forlorn without their usual clamour of delight and fear. I passed through the main gates, spying the park's mascot - a giant green dragon - outside a cafe promising waffles and milkshakes.

Back on the seafront, I walked underneath the iconic Southend cliff lift []- a railway carriage that hauls visitors up the steep cliff to the town centre above. The Thames was now sparkling like mica in granite as the morning haze lifted. In the distance, I could see the domed Kursaal, but my destination was Rossi's legendary ice cream parlour []. My mouth began to water as I quickened my pace along the final stretch of the seafront, passing beach huts and graffiti-covered shelters.

At last, I pushed open the doors to Rossi's and stepped into the nostalgic parlour, redolent with the sweet scents of vanilla, caramel, and freshly made waffle cones. I ordered a scoop of their famous mint chocolate chip gelato and savoured the first intensely flavoured bite. The sweet treat was the perfect reward for my invigorating morning walk along Southend's iconic and wild seafront. Whichever way you walk along the seafront, and however far, it never disappoints.

This column uses what3words, an easy way to identify precise locations. Every three square metres on Earth has its own unique combination of three words. To use, download the free app, or visit