Bournemouth Pier is the focal point of Bournemouth, situated on a large plaza, called Pier Approach, sandwiched between the sea and the town. Head there on a summer’s day and there’s always something going on.
The pier was built in 1880. It was actually the third pier to be built in Bournemouth, after the first two met with disaster (the first was eaten by worms and the second blew away in a storm). Like most British piers, it was partially destroyed in 1940 in a bid to make the country less susceptible to invasion. It reopened in 1946.
For many years there was a theatre on the pier, but in 2014 the building was repurposed as ‘Rock Reef’ with various activities such as a climbing wall and giant slide. In addition, a zipwire was installed on a tower on the end of the pier, so if you are that way inclined, you can zip wire from the pier back to the beach.
There are a number of other attractions on the pier. At the entrance you will find a restaurant (Aruba), shop and amusement arcade. There are also some of my favourite toilets, if it is possible to have favourite toilets, as the interior has been painted by local artists Paint Shop Studio. Walking in always makes me smile.
The pier is open daily from 10 am. Entry is free in winter and costs £1.40 in summer. This is, in effect a season ticket as the same ticket can be reused for the rest of the year. If you have a reservation for one of the attractions on the pier, you do not need to pay the entrance toll.
Also on the pier are two of of the prom selfie trail; Floating Love and the £99 Flake. Plus a couple of pieces by digital artist Maxine Walter; Beach Love and Ice Dreams.
In July, the popular Pier to Pier Swim takes place where thousands of swimmers attempt to swim the 1.4 miles from Bournemouth Pier to Boscombe Pier.
In September the pier forms the focal point for the annual Air Festival and evening firework displays. In 2018, the entertainment included two men who launched themselves off the pier powered by jet packs.
In October the pier forms part of the route for Run Bournemouth, so you are likely to see plenty of runners practicing and going after those pier Strava segments. It is at this point that you really appreciate how long the pier is (304.8 metres to be precise, which feels like a lot when you’ve just run a half marathon and were briefly in sight of the finish line.