“During the recent heatwave, BBC London visited Southend. In 30-plus-degree heat, the reporter stood at Jubilee Beach and spoke of a lack of social distancing as a ribbon of broiling bodies stretched away behind her. They seemed to occupy every single shingle and, frankly, the coverage almost put me off my visit. But this past weekend it was my daughter’s first birthday and I was determined that we would celebrate surviving the all-encompassing first year as a family with a stay beside the sea. I also knew that that strip of beach on the news was one short section of seven miles of sand and shingle.”

Southend may not be the first place that comes to mind when you imagine a chic seaside break. But this Essex town just an hour or so from London has always been a favourite escape of mine, for its five Blue Flag beaches, its fun atmosphere and for the chance to walk on water along the world’s longest pleasure pier.

On this visit I also found the gorgeous Roslin Beach Hotel, a little slice of Florida on the Thames Estuary. This stylish hotel is all sea views and seafood, and it tempted us into an overnight stay. In the age of Covid, the hotel is seeing more and more Brits staying for longer breaks. Next time, I’ll definitely be one of them.

Read all about why I love Southend in the Telegraph here