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'El Galeon', a replica of a 17th Century tall ship, docks on May 24 and welcomes guests aboard

Southend residents will wake up to the sight of a pirate invasion on May 24 - at least, they'd be forgiven for thinking Long John Silver has popped back to try his luck on the arcades. They'll actually be witnessing the majestic El Galeon, a replica of a 17th Century Spanish galleon, as it sails into the waters of the Essex estuary to moor at the head of the world famous Pier. And from Thursday May 25 until Sunday June 4, guests will be able to step aboard the beautiful vessel and learn about life at sea.

From 11am - 7pm every day, staff aboard the floating museum will wear period costume to create a wonderfully immersive experience for children as they tour the 200ft ship and discover how these galleons changed the world by making international travel possible.

For pirate-fans, there's an extra-special experience on Saturday May 27, when The Blackwater Pirate Crew (left) visit between 12-4pm, to help spread the spirit of the high seas to their visitors.

Even pirates of the High Seas can be nice sometimes, though - they'll be posing for photos and raising money for the Little Havens Children's Hospice.

With sunshine forecast for the half term holidays and Southend's beach, arcades and pubs a popular destination for families, it's worth booking ahead (though you can pay on the door if you're willing to take the risk).

Tickets cost £10 for adults, £5 for children, and a family ticket, for two adults and three children, can be purchased for £25. Book now

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