Southend beach packed with thousands of sunseekers from as far away as Leicestershire struggling to social distance

Social distancing proved a challenge for thousands of sunseekers who packed a seaside resort in Essex during the heatwave.

Southend-on-Sea's beach was a magnet for visitors from as far away as Leicestershire and Hertfordshire.

The Essex town was braced for an invasion of tourists despite adopting the slogan 'Don't Visit Southend'.

Families tried their best to stay two metres apart on the shingle beach as temperatures hit 25C.

The council introduced a series of 'mitigation' measures including one way queuing for toilets and wider pavements taking up parking spaces.

Lockdown has dealt a heavy blow to many of Southend's traditional seaside businesses.

Sunseekers packed out the beach on the Southend. Credit: ITV News

The main amusement park, Adventure Island, remained closed. The owner would normally employ 1,000 people at the height of the season but currently has just 30 working in food kiosks.