Best place to live?
Bude is dead in Winter, I was there last week. Cold wind in from the sea, no tourists and half the shops are closed until Easter. So busy in the summer you can't move. Southend is Chav central. Spent half a day there that was enough.
Southend is mostly not a particularly attractive town but it is better for employment than Cornwall and is an easy commute to London. Bude and most of Cornwall have a beautiful coastline and landscape but employment prospects are not good
Bude is lovely, if you don't need to find a job. Southend has far better prospects but the estuary coast of Essex is not very picturesque. As a compromise, what about Bournemouth? It's not just a large holiday town,. It has a university and lots of very large offices.
I prefer living in Bude.
Essex its near London.