The London, Tilbury and Southend Railway line arrived in the 1880s, connecting the town with London and shortening travel time to and from that city. Westcliff railway station in Station Road is now managed by c2c.
Along the top of the cliffs are spectacular views over the Thames Estuary towards the distant Kent coastline. The shingle and pebbles along the stretch of beach have been covered with imported sand. Not far from the Royal Mews are the Prittlewell Square gardens and farther along is the Beecroft Art Gallery in Station Road, which is just opposite the famous Cliffs Pavilion and its variety acts. In London Road is the Palace Theatre and a wide range of restaurants, including the world famous 'Khyber Pass' restaurant, while the New Empire Theatre is in Alexandra Street.
The main shopping area in Westcliff-on-Sea is Hamlet Court Road. The economic recessions of the 1980s and 1990s saw the area decline. However the road underwent a £1 million regeneration in the early 2000s to bring back some of its former glory with many restaurants, boutiques, antique shops and speciality stores opening up.
Hotels include the Erlsmere in Pembury Road, the Welbeck, a Victorian building in Palmerston Road, and the Westcliff in Westcliff Parade.