As a country that is proud of our seaside resorts, and let’s face it, renowned for having the best in the world, we thought we’d pick out 10 of the best! There are two different types of pier - pleasure piers, which grew popular during the Victorian era, and docking piers, the type that is only used for docking boats.
Ryde Pier – where it all began
Built in 1814, Ryde Pier on the Isle of Wight is the oldest in Britain, originally constructed to allow ferries to berth at low tide. This pier has a working train line running along the 681 metres wooden structure, transporting passengers from the ferries to the East of the island.
Southend Pier – the longest in the World
This impressive structure, stretching a whopping 1.34 miles out into the Thames Estuary, is the longest pleasure pier in the world! The resort grew in popularity early in the 1900s as it was believed the sea air was good for you, and with Southend being so close to the bustling capital, it’s no surprise this is such a popular landmark.
You’ll find a range of events happening on the pier, from concerts and exhibitions at the Royal Pavilion. Or you can relax with a round of mini golf, stop off for a cuppa and slice of cake at the café or book a tour of the RNLI Lifeboat station, one of the busiest in the country.
Blackpool – The Iconic Pier
We couldn’t have a list of great British piers without mentioning the world famous Blackpool pier. It’s been standing for over 150 years, providing millions of people with joyful memories. The emblematic Ferris wheel stands proud on the pier, lighting up the seafront during the autumnal months as the star of the Illuminations show.
The pier is a buzzing hive for shopping, eating and fun-filled activities. If you visit Blackpool, this spectacular pier is not to be missed.
Hastings Pier – Pier of the Year 2017
The prestigious Pier of the Year award and RIBA Stirling Prize was given to Hastings Pier, which underwent a massive makeover in 2010 after a fire ravaged the seaside structure. It was originally built in 1872 and quickly grew as a popular place to socialise. The Pavilion here has played host to a number of high profile music artists including The Rolling Stones, The Who and Jimi Hendrix!
Cromer – Stunning Sunsets
Cromer pier is a grade II listed building and the Victorian structure is one of only 5 to have a full working and flourishing theatre. It won Pier of the Year award in 2015 and when you visit you can understand why.
The pier is in great condition, the shows in the theatre have received some glowing reviews from industry experts such as “The Stage”, you can enjoy the best crab fishing in the county and you can even get yourself a lovely souvenir from the Gift Shop.
However, it is the sunsets which make this such a special pier, a spectacle you just have to see.
Brighton – the last one standing
The Brighton Pier, or Palace Pier as it’s also known, is the last of 3 piers in Brighton still open today. It opened in 1899 as a replacement for the Chain Pier which collapsed in 1896, and like Cromer Pier, it focused on providing wonderful entertainment.
Today, the focus has shifted to being an amusement park with classic fairground rides and roller coasters! You can spend a whole day on this fun-filled pier with restaurants and cafés as well as all the amusements, and the stunning sea view!
Southport – Oldest Iron Pier
Not only is Southport Pier the oldest Iron pier in the country, standing the test of time for over 150 years, it is also the second longest with a length of 1,108 metres. It has been an entertainment hub in the North West of England where Charlie Chaplin performed, whereas today you’ll find amusements and cafeteria with some spectacular views across the Irish Sea.
Eastbourne – An Impressive FREE Airshow
Eastbourne Pier is absolutely fantastic for keeping you entertained, no matter what it is you’re looking for. From chip shops and cafes to jazz bars and nightclubs, you’re sure to have a good time when you visit.
The main event each year is the impressive airshow put on with planes like the Red Arrows being one of the main highlights of Airbourne. The airshow itself is free, but you can buy tickets to have seats in the Ocean Suite for a one of a kind view.
Llandudno Pier – longest in Wales
Stretching out a prominent 699 metres, Llandudno Pier has been at the centre of Llandudno’s tourism since 1886, and even today, it still offers a lot to the visitors. There is an array of concessions, including a traditional Welsh gift shop and retro memorabilia, stalls to buy delicious food and superb views of the Welsh coastline.
If jazz is your thing, then you should definitely head to Llandudno Pier, as it has many live jazz performances throughout the year, and during the summer months, there are entertainment shows for the youngsters.
Bournemouth – It has a zip line!
A pier that has traditional aspects, but one that’s also moving forward with new innovative ideas, mainly in the form of a zip line from the pier to the shore, the first of its kind! The pier was originally opened in 1880 by the Mayor of London, and it used to have a theatre, but this has been converted into an indoor activity centre called Rock Reef. You’ll find all of the expected amenities – ice cream stalls, souvenirs and arcades – along with these family orientated delights at Rock Reef and the Zip line.
Rock Reef has climbing walls, caves and an aerial obstacle course, whilst the zip line is a great way to take in the amazing views and whizz back to shore – you may end up going on the zip line a few times, it’s that much fun!
So this is our top 10 piers in the Britain, but have we missed off your favourite? Maybe you’d like to share your experiences of going to some of these piers? Either way we’d love to hear from you, so please get in touch with us in the comments section below, or on social media – Facebook or Twitter.