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Southend (SEN)

An odd airport in many ways - it's gone from being a hive of activity during the cross-channel car ferry days to a place where practically nothing ever seems to happen. Even the infrequent charter flights appear to have stopped now. Many plans for revitalising it have been proposed over the years, but so far all have come to nothing, and it must be just about the only 'major' airport in the UK not to have any regular flights. Perhaps the current plan for a rail station and new terminal building will succeed. Having said that, there is a fair amount of maintenance and painting work that goes on here, and it's become a store for large numbers of geriatric jets (especially Boeing 707s) with even a few propliners still, and you're almost guaranteed to see something of great interest, even if it never moves!

A drive and walk around the perimeter will turn up lots of potentially good photo points, depending on where anything is parked. Unfortunately, the layout of the airport and hangars also means that many of the most interesting machines can be frustratingly out of reach, unless you are lucky enough to get airside. Working in a clockwise direction some of the best points are as follows:

a) The road to the flying clubs, beside the railway, is good for 'tins' and the Vulcan at the end, and also gives the best general views of the airfield.

b) There are various vantage points from the fence or gates around the terminal area, although most of the aircraft parked outside the Heavylift hangars to the left will, unfortunately, be too far round for any landside photos.

Merchant Express Boeing 707

c) Follow the 'inner-airport' road round to the far end of the Heavylift hangars for probably the best place for anything taxiing for take-off or landing.

d) Turn right after leaving the airport complex itself and follow the road round. You should then find yourself on Eastwoodbury Lane, which goes right past the end of runway 06 and around by a church. If the wind is in the right direction this is a great place for landing shots, with the possibility of some taxiing shots as well. DON'T park here, though - there are plenty of signs prohibiting this anyway.

e) There's very often something outside the British World Engineering hangars that can probably be photographed reasonably well from various points around here. The hangars are just visible from the terminal side - to get here, turn right at the roundabout just after passing the end of the runway (point d) and follow the road all the way to the end.

f) From the British World hangars area, find the public footpath (not easy!) that goes to the golf course on the far side. This will take you past the end of the disused runway (15/33), where the long-term storage and scrapping area is - most of these aircraft can be photographed reasonably well from the path.
If you walk around the golf course far enough you get to the threshold of runway 24, which should be great if it's in use.

Boeing 707
Boeing 707

In general morning is probably the best time to visit (although the airport layout means that this is not a major factor), and you'll need a full range of lenses to get the best results.

Last visited on 28 June 1999 Top of page


Click on the icons below to see various maps and images relating to Southend airport. Note that, except for the aerial photograph, these are all external links to other sites, and will open in a new window.

SEN Map   Street Map   Area Map   Aerial Photo
Official CAA Southend airport map

Courtesy of: NATS Ltd.

Note that you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader (v4.0 or later) installed in order to view this.
Click here to download this from the Adobe site if you need it.

  OS street map of the Southend airport area

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  General map of the Southend area

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Maps by Travel

  Aerial photograph of Southend airport

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