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Southend Pier

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Listed in Culture, Creativity & History, Events Services, Exhibition Centre, Museums, Other Attractions, Places to Go, Services, Venues

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If you walk along Southend-on-Sea’s High Street, towards the sea, your eye will be drawn in a straight line towards the longest pleasure Pier in the world.

Standing for over a century it extends 2.158 kilometres (1.341 miles) into the Thames Estuary, and is a well loved and recognised symbol of Southend and the pleasures of the English seaside.

With truly stunning 360 degree views all year round, Southend Pier is the perfect place to go for a taste of the invigorating fresh air, and experience the freedom of the sea or to simply spend the day fishing at Southend pier. At the Pier Head you can visit the active RNLI station and gift shop, relax and take in the fantastic views from the superb sun-deck or stop by The Royal Pavilion, which dominates much of the Pier Head and provides the perfect place for an afternoon tea in the in-house café.

Throughout the year Southend Pier plays host to a number of fantastic events, from live music and puppetry, to spooktacular Halloween fun and even a visit from Santa, as well as visiting Tall Ships, which offer unique trips and a taste of the nautical life.

 

Southend Pier is now home to The Royal Pavilion, which officially opened on 19th July 2012.

The 350sq m building, which was designed by White Arkitekter working in partnership with London-based architects Sprunt, was constructed off-site at Tilbury Docks in Essex. It was then lowered onto a barge at the docks on Wednesday 16th May 2012 and transported along the Thames to the Pier.

The Pavilion was officially named in a unique ceremony conducted by His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, on Tuesday 16th July 2013.

It is the first structure to be added to the pier head since 2000 when a new RNLI lifeboat station was constructed. Now completed, the Pavilion is capable of seating 185 people in it’s main hall and also houses a 40 sq m artists’ studio and Café, a unique eatery which is open every day, and offers fantastic, unrivalled views over the Thames Estuary from its covered terrace.

There are a variety of events, concerts and exhibitions to enjoy over the coming months including music, theatre, art and photograph.

 

Southend on Sea has one of the busiest lifeboat stations in the country, averaging over 100 ‘shouts’ per year. In fact Southend, you could argue, has two of the busiest stations in the country!

One of them comprising of the Hovercraft and D-class at the inshore station and the other station being offshore at the end of the pier, housing the Atlantic 75 and the offshore D-class.

The RNLI first established a station at Southend in 1879 to assist ships going ashore on the many sandbanks of the Thames Estuary. The lifeboat was launched from davits on the Pierhead, 1.25 miles from the shore, much as it is today. Between 1885 and 1891 a second station existed, the lifeboat being housed in Hartington Road and launched by horse-drawn carriage. The lifeboats at this time were of the pulling (rowing) and sailing type, but in 1928 the first motor lifeboat arrived, the “Greater London”, and this was at first moored off the Pier Head.

Since 1879 the Lifeboat crews of Southend have saved over 2000 lives. Working alongside our flank stations, Sheerness and Gravesend, the crew at Southend provide coverage for the ever increasing amount of river usage in the Thames estuary.

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