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Published October 8th 2012
Walk along the worlds longest pleasure pier
Southend-On-Sea is famous for its long coastline, Adventure Island amusement park and most of all, the longest pleasure pier in the world. Stretching 1.34 miles out to sea, Southend pier offers a pleasant walk or train ride along across this historic grade II listed structure. The iconic landmark opened in 1889 and was finally extended to the longest pleasure pier in the world in 1929.
You can chose to take a walk to the end of the pier and back again, however there is also a train which can take you back and forth. Taking a ride on Southend piers railway is a must. It has recently become a world record breaker in the Guinness Book of Records and is now known as the worlds longest pleasure pier railway. The railway opened in 1890 and has been taking tourists back and forth ever since.
No matter if you chose to walk or take the train along this iconic structure, it is sure to be extremely tranquil and a great way to explore Southend and its estuary. Once you have reached the end of the pier, you can simply admire the views whilst indulging in some fish and chips or even visit the lifeboat centre. Here you can view some of the lifeboats used along the coastline and learn more about how they work and what they do. The lifeboat centre also has a gift shop, of which is perfect for some souvenirs or memorabilia.
There is also a new building called the Cultural Centre situated at the end of the pier, which has a café and holds events and exhibitions throughout the year. The café offers stunning views over the estuary and is the perfect place to stop off for lunch or a coffee. A comedy festival was the first event to take place at the Cultural Centre, which launched the opening of the building in the summer. The building not only offers tourists a place to sit and relax, but is a work of art which modernises the 100 year old pier.
If you are visiting the pier with children - then a popular idea is to crab fish at the end of the pier. Crab fishing kits can be purchased in many of the shops along the main stretch of the seafront and provide children with hours of fun. During the summer there are also many boat rides available including the chance to look around or sail on a tall ship.
The pier has suffered from many hits and fires throughout the years however new plans are always being put forward to modernise the pier and bring more tourists to visit. Currently celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has been filming at his café at the end of the pier for a new television series. The new café is planned to be open to the public under new management after Jamie Oliver has finished filming.
If you are fascinated by the history of the pier, then Southend pier museum is also worth a visit. The museum has many interesting artefacts on show which have been collected throughout the history of the pier. Admission is £1 per adult and children under the age of 12 are admitted free.
The pier is open everyday, all year round except on Christmas day. Opening times, events and boat trips can be viewed before you visit using the website. It is also advisable to check the weather before you leave as there is little shelter along the pier and it can be very windy.
A trip along the longest pleasure pier and longest pleasure pier railway in the world is definitely worth a visit if you would like to immerse yourself in a tranquil setting and heaps of history.
Where: Southend Pier Western Esplanade, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 1EE
Cost:Return Train Journey: Adult £3.60, Child / OAP / Concession / Student £1.80, Family £9.30. Walk & Ride: Either walk one way and ride the other or walk both ways, Adult £3.10, Child / OAP / Concession / Student £1.80, Family £8.00.