Blackpool Central Pier – the most popular of Blackpool’s three piers – has been synonymous with British seaside entertainment since it opened in 1868, and was nicknamed ‘The People’s Pier’. It used to attract crowds for its open air dancing, but after weathering two fires, it’s now home to a funfair and a 32m-high Big Wheel along with a theatre, bars and amusement arcades.
2. Brighton Pier
Unofficially known as the Palace Pier, the iconic, Victorian Brighton Pier opened in 1899 after costing a massive £137,000 (a lot in those days) to build. Its entertainment – including the125ft Super Booster ride, which goes from 0-60mph in under three seconds and the creepy Horror Hotel ghost train – draw over three million visitors a year.
3. Southend Pier
The poet Sir John Betjeman said “The Pier is Southend, Southend is the Pier”, and it’s the longest pleasure pier in the world, measuring 1.34 miles. The pier served as a mustering point for convoys during the Second World War. In 1944 the American ship SS Richard Montgomery ran aground nearby. Now it’s been refurbished, and boasts a brand new Cultural Centre: a venue for concerts, exhibitions and comedy festivals, with an in house café. A railway runs the length of it, if the end of the pier seems too far to walk.
4. Llandudno Pier
This listed Victorian pier was opened in 1858 and is the longest in Wales (and the fifth longest in Britain). It is said to be Indian Gothic in style and appears to “float” in the water. It is open every day and a fifteen-minute walk to the end of the pier gives a beautiful view of the surrounding coastline. Arcades, ice cream, candy floss and other seaside attractions can be sampled along the way.
5. Cromer Pier
Short but perfectly preserved, Cromer pier opened in 1901 after several earlier jetties had been washed away. It may be only 150m long, but it has one great claim to fame: the Pavilion Theatre is still intact, suspended over the North Sea. It hosts the last End of the Pier Show in Europe with a summer season of traditional family variety, dance and comedy, which still sells out.