A holiday in Britain wouldn’t be complete without a traditional trip to the seaside. From walking along the beach with an ice cream to paddling in the sea, there are plenty of activities to keep the whole family entertained. Many beaches in Britain also have a beautiful pier that dominates the coastline, where there are lots more exciting activities and panoramic views of the shore.
The first pier in Britain opened in 1814 on the Isle of Wight and was used as a landing stage for ferries from the sea to the mainland. Piers very quickly became popular in seaside resorts during the Victorian period that followed. They took off during the 1860s, with 22 being built across England and Wales during this decade alone. The pier became the symbol of a British seaside getaway - and by 1914, over 100 pleasure piers had been created around the UK’s coastline. Today, over half of these remain - and each one has a different story to tell.
Here at Parkdean Resorts, we’ve unearthed some of Britain’s best piers, so you can visit them yourself on your next holiday to the coast.
Cromer Pier, Norfolk
Cromer Pier overlooks the stunning coast of Norfolk, making it an excellent place to watch the tide hugging the shore as you stroll along. This Victorian pier deservedly won the Pier of the Year Award in 2015.
There are records of a pier in Cromer since 1391, although then it was more of a jetty - offering a small landing stage where boats could be docked. In 1890, the jetty was damaged beyond repair by heavy seas and its remains were sold for just £40. In 1902, the new pier was completed and opened to the public, where it has stood proudly ever since.
Video sourced from Ian Bentley
Just under an hour away from California Cliffs and Summerfields Holiday Park, it’s not just breathtaking views the pier has to offer. It’s also home to the Cromer Pier Show, which displays an unmissable array of acts during the summer period, promising fantastic entertainment. The beach below is also a prime location to go crabbing; an activity for the whole family to enjoy. It also has its own bar, restaurant and giftshop, meaning you’ll never be stuck for something to do on a visit.
Garth Pier, Bangor
Just over 30 minutes away from Ty Mawr Holiday Park is Garth Pier; a true treasure of Bangor. Standing over the low tides of Menai Strait, it’s the second largest pier in Wales, and is a popular tourist attraction.
The pier opened in May 1896, to enable steamships from Liverpool and other places to transport visitors into the city, bringing in over 34,000 passengers a year during its peak. It was a hub for tourism and a thriving haven for a last-minute getaway. Unfortunately, in 1914, a cargo steamer broke free from the pontoon - causing extensive damage to the neck of the pier. However, residents were passionate to hold on to the legacy of one of Britain’s finest piers, which meant it was thankfully saved.
Video sourced from JdMediafilm
When standing on the pier, you can take in the sights of Snowdonia and Puffin Island. The low tide means that the area is a prime location for spotting seabirds such as oystercatchers, redshanks and, if you’re lucky, a cormorant. After you’ve finished wildlife watching, there’s a lovely tea house located at the end of the pier, where you can have a bite to eat whilst watching the sun go down.
Southend Pier, Southend-on-Sea
The Southend Pier in Southend-on-Sea should be at the top of your to do list if you’re holidaying at Waterside Holiday Park. Just an hour away, the pier holds the title for the longest pier in the world at 1.34 miles long.
Since being built in 1830, the pier has survived its fair share of troubles. It has lived through fires, boat accidents, two World Wars and the elements of Mother Nature. It has evolved and grown a lot over the years, and in 1890, an electric tramway was installed to help accommodate the 6 million tourists the pier receives each year.
If you don’t fancy riding the rail line, you can take a stroll along the pier - taking in the spectacular views surrounding you. At the pier head is the Royal National Lifeboat Institution Museum, as well as The Royal Pavilion, a gift shop and a café - so you can take a well-deserved break once you reach the end!
Video sourced from Daniel Keys
Saltburn Pier, Saltburn-by-the-Sea
Saltburn Pier in Saltburn-by-the-Sea holds many titles. Not only was this beautiful, Victorian pier the first iron pier to be built on the North-East Coast, but it’s also the last one standing in Yorkshire.
You’ll find this fascinating pier just 45 minutes from Crimdon Dene Holiday Park, where you can learn all about how the North Sea has affected it over time. The pier first opened in 1869 and originally extended 460 metres into the water. However, after a long battle against numerous storms and ship collisions, the pier now stands at just 208 metres. Although visitors have always been able to explore this landmark at night, it now looks even more beautiful. In 2005, new lights were installed underneath the pier, giving it a moonlit feel every night.
A trip to Saltburn-by-the-Sea is a traditional seaside experience, where you can eat fish and chips and walk along the sand - all whilst taking in the breathtaking views of the rugged cliffs.
Video sourced from danthetube