Enjoy a quiet picnic in Southend Cliff Gardens, or take a stroll on Thorpe Bay Beach, and remember your loved one in a meaningful way in a place in Southend that meant a lot to them.
Hosting a wake in Southend-on-Sea
A wake is an informal event that traditionally takes place after a funeral service and cremation or burial. It is usually an informal event involving family and friends gathering to share memories and celebrate the life of their loved one.
Traditionally, a wake would take place at someone's home, a community centre, or a pub, but they could occur anywhere. Those organising the wake might want to honour their loved one by holding the wake in a special place to them, like the grounds of their favourite football team.
Also, although wakes usually take place after the funeral service, they can be held at any time. They can also be structured or as informal as the organiser would like. Wake organisers have the freedom to host the event that’s right for them, their family, and friends, and their loved one.
If you are organising a wake in Southend-on-Sea, there are plenty of unique venues where you can host the event in your own way, from Southend Cliff Gardens to Thorpe Bay Beach.
Find your funeral director in Southend-on-Sea who will help you arrange a cremation or burial and give you ideas for a wake, memorial or reception, that’s right for you.
The word ‘wake’ descends from Old English and Old Norse
We think the word wake comes from the term lichwake or lyke-wake from the mid 13th century. In Old Norse (a North Germanic language) vaka meant vigil, to stay awake at a time usually meant for sleep.
And in Old English the word wacu meant to watch. So the word wake is thought to have developed as a combination of wacu and vaka.
Lich is an Old English word for a dead body. Often the gate at the lowest end of a cemetery was called the lich gate, as this is where funeral processions carried the body in.
So lichwake literally means to stay up at night whilst we’re meant to be asleep to keep watch over the person who’s died. The tradition became most popular in Ireland and over time lost the word lich and became ‘wake’.
Enjoy a picnic in Southend Cliff Gardens
For those that loved gardening or nature, there’s no better place to host a wake than Southend Cliff Gardens. The dog-friendly gardens are peaceful and beautiful, with a range of formal and informal gardens to stroll through. Southend Cliff Gardens is a serene place to celebrate the life of your loved one.
Pack a picnic, gather your loved ones and find a spot to settle down in the 22 acres of garden. Although you will not be able to reserve the gardens for yourself, the gardens are usually quieter on weekdays, if you’d like more privacy.
While at the park, spend time admiring the beautiful flowers, or take a moment to visit the Queen Victoria Statue while remembering the times you spent with your loved one.
The quiet gardens will allow you to take time to reflect on the funeral and the life of your loved one while breathing in the fresh air and enjoying the views over the Thames estuary.
To reach the Cliff Gardens, you can take a short walk from Southend town centre, Southend Pier, Cliffs Pavillion Theatre, or Adventure Island. You can also park nearby and walk into the gardens, or walk from Westcliff or Southend Central train stations.
Take a walk on Thorpe Bay Beach
Host a wake at Thorpe Bay Beach, which was awarded the 2021 Blue Flag prize. The beautiful beach offers outstanding views of the Thames estuary and is a lovely place to reflect and remember the life of your loved one. Whether they were an avid walker, beach lover, or surfer, hosting their wake at the beach could be the ideal send-off.
There are plenty of cafes or restaurants nearby, but you could also take a picnic or barbecue with you. On a sunny day, gather your family and friends to share stories about your loved one with your favourite food and drinks. Just be sure to take any rubbish with you to avoid a fine.
The beach is accessible, too, with wheelchair and pushchair access on the decking that leads straight onto the beach. There’s also a car park and toilets nearby at Thorpe Esplanade Car Park, with plenty of spaces.
Thorpe Bay Beach is dog-friendly too, but not between May 1st and September 30th. During that period, only guide dogs will be permitted on the beach. Any other dogs found on the beach will result in a fine for owners.
The beach is a beautiful place for a wake and allows you to remember your loved one in a place that meant a lot to them.
The right choice for you
If you’re interested in a wake funeral and need to organise a direct cremation first, we can help.