CREATIVE independent businesses in a Southend industrial area will be throwing open their doors to reveal artists' studios, vintage clothing, art shows, music, food and drink this weekend, inviting residents to a 'Christmas walkabout'.

Sally-Anne Ashley - an artist who runs The Arthouse Retreat on the Grainger Road estate - says the area which combines Grainger Road, Short Street, Carlton Road and other surrounding roads in the industrial area, is "quickly becoming the artists' quarter of Southend".

The collective walkabout event is the chance for people to see what is going on inside the warehouse based businesses, from 11am until 5pm this Saturday and Sunday.

Sally-Anne added: "In the last year, independent artists have been moving into the area and more recently The New City Gallery has also taken up residence in one of the industrial warehouse units.

"Earlier in the year, we joined forces with other independent, creative businesses to hold an 'industrial walkabout'.

"The idea was to put these hidden away industrial warehouses on the map in Southend and raise awareness within the local community.

"The 'walkabouts' usually take place bi-monthly but the businesses are gearing up for a Christmas special this weekend with mulled wine, music, mince pies and other festive fun."

Businesses include The Yoga Factory and Chai cafe, Two Vintage, Studio Soufflé, Gaia, The Little Known Studio, Arthouse Retreat Studio, The New City Gallery and The Mosaic Studio.

The New City Gallery will be including its latest art show launch 'Finding the Common Pulse', as part of its revolving programme.