Pleasure Piers

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   Text © Copyright November 2009, Oast House Archive; licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Licence.
Images also under a similar Creative Commons Licence.

TQ3103 : Palace Pier, Brighton by Oast House Archive
Pleasure piers were first built during the early 19th century, and became popular during the Victorian era of the mid to late 1800s. The earliest pier was at Ryde (opened 1814), which is still open to this day. During this period, the railways were expanding allowing mass tourism to the coastal resort towns. Pleasure piers allowed holiday makers to promenade over and alongside the sea at all times. Since the introduction of commercial flights from the 1950's holiday makers flocked abroad and the seaside towns lost the tourist trade. Many piers became unprofitable and fell into disrepair. Many have since been destroyed by storms, demolished, or lay derelict.

At 7080ft (2158metres / 2.1km / 1.34miles) Southend-on-sea Pier is the longest pleasure pier in the world. Many piers are named 'Victoria Pier' after Queen Victoria, the reigning monarch of the Victorian times.

Eastbourne pier in 2011 Oast House Archive

Pleasure Piers of Great Britain, by county
working clockwise from the Thames Estuary



TQ651744 Opened 1834

The oldest cast iron pier.

TQ6574 : Riverside scene at Gravesend by Marathon


Opened (unknown) - Lost 1897 (washed away)

Herne Bay

TR170688 Opened 1896 - Part lost 1971

The pier was the second longest in the UK. Boats could dock at the end of the pier. A stub was left joined to the shore and a new sports centre built at the end of it 1976. The remains of the end of the pier can still be seen about 1km off the shore. Shared description

TR1669 : The end of Herne Bay's Pier by Hywel Williams TR1669 : Herne Bay pier in the 1960s by G H Clarke TR1768 : Herne Bay pier after storm damage by Nick Smith

Herne Bay (New pier)

TR1768 : Herne Bay Pier by Stephen McKay TR1768 : Herne Bay Pier, Herne Bay, Kent by Oast House Archive


Opened 1855 - Closed 1976 (destroyed 1978)

TR3571 : The day Margate pier was destroyed by Nick Smith

Ramsgate - Marina Pier

Opened 1881 - Demolished 1930

Pegwell Bay

TR3463 Opened 1878 - Lost 1890s

A short lived landing for paddle steamers.


TR379527 Opened 1958 - Length 1026ft

This is the third pier at the site. The first, a 250ft pier from 1838 was washed away. The second, an 1100ft foot structure opened in 1864 was removed in World War II.

TR3752 : Deal Pier by Philip Halling TR3852 : Fishermen on Deal pier by Nick Smith

Dover - Promenade Pier

Opened 1893 - Demolished 1927

Folkestone - Victoria Pier

Opened 1888 - Closed 1943 (demolished 1954) - Length 683ft

East Sussex


TQ811089 Opened 1872 - Closed 2007 - Length 910ft

The pier was fully closed in 2007 due to structural decay, and set on fire in 2010. It is now being built in a new form to re-open in 2015. Shared description

TQ8108 : Hastings Pier, White Rock, Hastings by Oast House Archive TQ8109 : Hastings Pier by JThomas

St Leonards

Opened 1891 - Closed during WWII (demolished 1951) - Length 960ft
See photo from 1894External link


TV618988 Opened 1970 - Length 1000ft - Grade II* listed

Shared description

TV6198 : Eastbourne Pier by Oast House Archive TV6198 : Eastbourne Pier, Grand Parade, Eastbourne, East Sussex by Oast House Archive

Brighton - Chain Pier

Opened 1823 - Destroyed by storm 1896 - Length 1134ft

Brighton - Palace Pier

TQ313035 Opened 1899 - Length 1760ft - Grade II* listed
Shared description

TQ3103 : Brighton - starlings over the Palace Pier at dusk by Ian Cunliffe TQ3103 : Palace Pier at night by Oast House Archive

Brighton - West Pier

TQ303038 Opened 1866 - Lost 1975 - Length 1115ft

After decades of decay and a fire in 2005, only the iron remains of the pier are left. Grade I listed. Shared description

TQ3003 : West Pier,  Brighton by Bob Embleton TQ3003 : West Pier, Brighton by Christine Matthews

West Sussex


TQ150021 Opened 1862 - Length 984ft - Grade II listed
Shared description

TQ1502 : Worthing Pier, West Sussex by Roger  Kidd TQ1502 : Southern Pavilion, Worthing Pier by Colin Smith

Bognor Regis

SZ935987 Opened 1865 - Length 350ft (originally 1000ft) - Grade II listed

SZ9398 : Bognor Regis by Pam Goodey SZ9398 : West side of Bognor Regis Pier by P L Chadwick


Portsmouth - South Parade Pier

SZ65249807 Opened 1879 - Length 600ft (originally 1000ft)

SZ6598 : South Parade Pier, Southsea by Pierre Terre SZ6598 : Under South Parade Pier, Southsea by Patrick GUEULLE

Southsea Clarence Pier

SZ634988 Opened 1861 - Length 132ft

SZ6398 : Clarence Pier, Southsea, Hampshire by Peter Trimming SZ6398 : Clarence Pier, Southsea by GaryReggae


Opened 1888 - Closed 1932/1940 (demolished 1958) - Length 750ft

Southampton - Royal Pier

SU417108 Opened 1833 - Closed 1980 - Length 900ft

Only the base remains and the land based entrance which is now a restaurant. It is proposed to demolish the remains of the pier and create a new promenade.

SU4110 : Royal Pier, Southampton, from the River Test by Ralph Rawlinson SU4110 : Royal Pier by John M SU4111 : Royal Pier, Southampton by GaryReggae


Opened 1881 - Length 2100ft

Used as a passenger ferry dock. With light railway.

SU4208 : Hythe Pier by Maigheach-gheal SU4208 : Hythe Pier by Simon Palmer

Isle Of Wight

Cowes - Royal Pier

Opened 1867 - Destroyed by storm 1882 - Length 250ft

Cowes - Victoria Pier

Opened 1902 - Closed during WWII (dismantled 1961) - Length 170ft


SZ592933 Opened 1814 - Length 2305ft - Grade II listed

SZ5993 : Ryde Pier Railway by John Webber SZ5993 : Ryde: posts alongside the pier by Chris Downer

Ryde - Victoria Pier

Opened 1864 - Lost 1924

Seaview Chain Pier

Opened 1881 - Lost 1952


Opened 1879 - Length 875ft (originally 360ft)

SZ5983 : Sandown Pier by Shaun Ferguson SZ5983 : Sandown at Sunrise by Alma J Walsh


Opened c1890 - Lost 1993

Ventnor - Royal Victoria Pier

Opened n/a - 1873 - 1993

Alum Bay Pier

Opened 1869 - Lost 1927 - Length 370ft

Totland Bay

SZ322871 Opened 1880 - Length 450ft

SZ3287 : Totland Pier by Mark Pilbeam SZ3287 : The pier at Totland Bay by Steve Daniels

Yarmouth Pier

Opened 1876 - Length 609ft (originally 685ft) - Grade II listed

SZ3590 : Yarmouth Pier by Stephen McKay SZ3590 : The End of Yarmouth Pier by Mark Pilbeam



Opened 1888 - Demolished 1909


Opened 1889 - Length 750ft - Grade II listed

SZ1191 : Boscombe Pier by Shaun Ferguson


Opened 1856 - Length 750ft (originally 1000ft)

SZ0890 : Bournemouth Pier with PS Waverley moored alongside by Keith Edkins SZ0890 : Bournemouth : Bournemouth Pier by Lewis Clarke


Opened 1859 - Length 642ft (originally 750ft) - Grade II listed

SZ0378 : Swanage Pier by Colin Babb SZ0378 : Victorian Pier by Mr Ignavy

Weymouth - Bandstand Pier

SY682799 Opened 1939 - Length 48ft (originally 200ft)

SY6879 : Looking along beach to the Pier head by Nick Mutton 01329 000000


SY687790 Opened 1933 - Length 1300ft (originally 900ft)

SY6879 : Weymouth Pleasure Pier by Gillian Thomas


Teignmouth - Grand Pier

SX942726 Opened 1867 - Length 625ft (originally 700ft)

SX9472 : Teignmouth Pier by Phil Williams SX9472 : Teignmouth Pier by Richard Knights

Torquay - Princess Pier

SX914634 Opened 1894 - Length 780ft

SX9163 : Princess Pier, Torquay by Derek Harper SX9163 : Princess Pier, Torquay 3 by Jonathan Billinger


SX895608 Opened 1879 - Length 740ft (originally 780ft)

SX8960 : Paignton Pier by Paul Anderson SX8960 : Under Paignton Pier by Sarah Charlesworth

Plymouth Hoe Pier

SW807330 Opened 1884 - Lost 1953


Falmouth - Prince of Wales Pier


SW8033 : Falmouth Town Pier by Tony Atkin

Devon (continued)

Westwood Ho

Opened 1871 - Demolished 1880 - Length 600ft



Opened 1901 - Closed 1940 (dismantled during WWII) - Length 700ft


ST30324913 Opened 1914 - Length 117ft

ST3049 : The Pier at Burnham-On-Sea by Steve Daniels

Weston-Super-Mare - Grand Pier

ST314614 Opened 1904 - Length 1200ft (originally 1080ft) - Grade II listed

ST3161 : The Grand Pier by Sharon Loxton ST3161 : The Grand Pier at Weston Super Mare by Steve Daniels

The pier caught fire on 28th July 2009

ST3161 : The Grand Pier in flames by Chris Borrison

Weston-Super-Mare - Birnbeck Pier

ST307624 Opened 1867 - Length 1040ft (originally 1200ft) - Grade II* listed

ST3062 : Weston-super-Mare: Birnbeck Pier by Martin Bodman ST3062 : Pier to Birnbeck Island by Steve Daniels


ST401719 Opened 1869 - Length 842ft - Grade I listed

Shared description

ST3971 : Clevedon Pier by Graham Taylor ST4071 : Sunset on Pier by Alex Nelson



ST190713 Opened 1895 - Length 658ft - Grade II listed

ST1971 : Penarth Pier from the beach by Ruth Sharville ST1971 : The End of the Pier by Colin Smith

Port Talbot - Aberavon Pier

Opened 1898 - Closed during WWII (demolished 1962) - Length 900ft


SS631874 Opened 1898 - Length 835ft

SS6387 : Mumbles Pier by Alan Bowring SS6387 : Welcome to Mumbles Pier by Colin Smith

Tenby - Royal Victoria Pier

Opened 1899 - Closed during WWII (demolished 1946-1953)


Aberystwyth Royal Pier

SN581818 Opened 1865 - Length 300ft (originally 700ft)

SN5881 : Aberystwyth Pier by Rossographer SN5881 : Aberystwyth Royal Pier by John Lucas



SH606758 Opened 1846 - Length 570ft

SH6075 : Beaumaris Pier by Gordon Hatton SH6075 : Beaumaris pier by Jonathan Billinger

Bangor - Garth Pier

SH582734 Opened 1896 - Length 1500ft (originally 1550ft) - Grade II* listed

SH5873 : Bangor Pier with the Glyders and Nant Ffrancon Pass in distance by Richard Johnson SH5873 : Looking Towards Anglesey from Bangor Pier by Trevor Rickard



SH785832 Opened 1877 - Length 2295ft (originally 1234ft) - Grade II* listed

SH7883 : Llandudno Pier by Paul Allison SH7883 : Another angle of Llandudno Pier. by Johnny Durnan

Rhos-on Sea

Opened 1895 - Fire damaged and demolished 1954

Colwyn Bay

Victoria Pier
Opened 1900 - Length 750ft - Grade II listed

SH8579 : Colwyn Bay by Graham Taylor SH8579 : Colwyn Bay - The Victoria Pier by Neil Kennedy

The ownership and future of the pier has been under debate for a long time with the suggestion it was to be delisted and demolished. The end of the pier, however, gave way on 1 February 2017 and plans are afoot to dismantle it and store it for restoration.

SH8579 : The end of the pier by Richard Hoare SH8579 : The end of the pier (2) by Richard Hoare


Opened 1867 - Lost 1973 - Length 350ft (originally 2355ft)


New Brighton

Opened 1867 - Lost 1977


SD328180 Opened 1860 - Length 3633ft (originally 3600ft)

SD3218 : High Tide under Southport Pier by Chris Eaton SD3218 : The End of the Pier by Gerald England



Opened 1865 - Closed 1938 (demolished 1960) - Length 914ft

St Anne's

SD317285 Opened in 1885 - Length 600ft (originally 914ft) Shared description

SD3128 : The Pier. by Paul Beaman SD3128 : St. Annes: under the pier by Chris Downer

Blackpool - South Pier

SD303337 Opened 1893 - Length 492ft

SD3033 : South Pier, Blackpool by Stephen Sweeney SD3033 : The end of South Pier by Bob Jenkins

Blackpool - Central Pier

SD304354 Opened 1868 - Length 118ft (originally 1518ft)

SD3035 : Central pier seen from the Tower by Keith Edkins SD3035 : Central Pier, Blackpool by Dave Green

Blackpool - North Pier

SD303363 Opened 1863 - Length 1318ft (originally 1410ft) - Grade II listed

SD3036 : Blackpool North Pier by Gerald Massey SD3036 : North Pier by Betty Longbottom


Opened 1910 - Closed 2000 (demolished 2008) - Length 415ft (originally 492ft)

Morecambe - West End Pier

Opened 1896 - Demolished 1978

Morecambe - Central Pier

Opened 1869 - Demolished 1992

Isle Of Man

Ramsey - Queen's Pier

Opened 1886 - Length 2224ft

SC4694 : Cafe on Queens Pier, Ramsey by Dr Neil Clifton SC4594 : Queen's Pier, Ramsey by Dr Neil Clifton


Opened 1869 - Relocated in 1895 to Rhos-on-sea


Edinburgh - Leith Trinity Pier

Opened 1821 - Destroyed by storm 1898 - Length 627ft

Edinburgh - Portobello Pier

Opened 1971 - Demolished 1917 - Length 1250ft



Opened 1875 - Demolished 1899 after being damaged by boat - Length 1800ft


Opened 1873 - Closed 1980 & Demolished 1981 - Length 1300ft

NZ6025 : Redcar: the Promenade by Ben Brooksbank NZ6025 : The End of the Pier ... by George Robinson


Opened 1869 - Length 681ft (originally 1500ft) - Grade II* listed

NZ6621 : Saltburn Pier and water lift by steve glasper NZ6621 : Horse riding at Saltburn Pier by Paul Buckingham

Scarborough - North Pier

Opened 1869 - Demolished 1905


Opened 1880 - Demolished 1897 - Length 1072ft


Opened 1877 - Lost 1903



Opened 1873 - Length 335ft (originally 1200ft)
TA3008 : Cleethorpes Pier by David Wright TA3008 : Cleethorpes pier by Kate Jewell


TF571634 Opened 1881 - Length 387ft (originally 1817ft)

TF5763 : Skegness Pier. by Andy Beecroft TF5763 : The remains of Skegness pier 1979 by Steve  Fareham



Opened 1870 - Closed & Demolished 1978 - Length 830ft


TG219424 Opened 1901 - Length 500ft - Grade II listed

TG2142 : Cromer pier after damage by Keith Evans TG2142 : Cromer Pier by Christine Matthews

Great Yarmouth - Britannia

TG532077 Opened 1902 - Length 810ft

The pier replaced and early 700ft long pier from 1858 which was damaged by a storm in 1899 and demolished.

TG5307 : Britannia Pier, Great Yarmouth by GaryReggae TG5307 : Britannia Pier, Great Yarmouth by Stephen McKay

Great Yarmouth - Wellington

TG532067 Opened 1853 - Length 700ft
TG5306 : The remains of Wellington Pier by Bob Crook TG5306 : Great Yarmouth: Wellington Pier was longer once by Chris Downer


Lowestoft - South Pier

TM5492 Opened 1846 - Length 1320ft

TM5492 : South Pier, Lowestoft by GaryReggae

Lowestoft - Claremont Pier

TM545918 Opened 1903 - Length 720ft (originally 600ft)

TM5491 : Claremont Pier in the snow by Richard Woods


TM512766 Opened 1900 - Length 623ft (originally 810ft)

TM5176 : Southwold Pier by Stuart Shepherd TM5176 : Southwold Pier by Graham Horn


Opened 1878 - Damage by vessel & demolished 1880s - Length 250ft


TM301340 Opened 1905 - Length 450ft (originally 2640ft)

TM3034 : The Pier, Felixstowe by John Goldsmith TM3034 : Felixstowe Pier by Bob Jones


Harwich - Halfpenny Pier

- approx 360ft (L-shape)
TM259329 Opened 1853

The pier was originally twice as long but was reduced by half after a fire. It is used as a boat terminal.

TM2532 : The Halfpenny Pier at Harwich by Leonore Kegel TM2532 : The Halfpenny Pier at Harwich by Ron Strutt


TM256214 Opened 1898 - Length 2600ft

The original pier was built in 1871 at a length of 530ft but the water often did not reach it for boats to land, so it was rebuilt in 1898.

TM2521 : Walton Pier by Ed Andrews TM2521 : Walton-on-the-Naze: Walton Pier by Nigel Cox


TM177143 Opened 1871 - Length 1180ft (originally 480ft)

TM1714 : Wing-Walking Over the Pier by Martin Addison TM1714 : Clacton Pier by Martin Addison


TQ886839 Opened 1890 - Length 7080ft

At over 2kilometres (1.3miles) long this is the longest pier in the UK. It has two sets of railway lines. The pier replaces an earlier wooden pier built between 1830 and 1846. Shared description

TQ8884 : Southend Pier by John Allan TQ8884 : Southend-on-Sea: Southend Pier looking South Southeast 2005 by Trevor Durritt

Further Reading

Geograph: Pleasure piers category
Geograph: Piers category
National Piers SocietyExternal link
Wikipedia: PierExternal link
You are not logged in login | register