Great Things To Do in Portsmouth

South Parade Pier: Historic Landmark & Entertainment Hub Southampton

South Parade Pier in Southampton is a historic landmark that has been a popular attraction for locals and tourists alike for over a century. Built in 1876, it has gone through several renovations and changes over the years, but its enduring popularity has never waned.

The pier was originally built to serve as a landing point for steamers travelling to and from the Isle of Wight. The original structure was made of wood and extended 300 feet into the water, with a pavilion at the end. In the early 1900s, the pier was extended to its current length of 633 feet, and a new pavilion was constructed.

The new pavilion was a grand affair, with a ballroom, concert hall, and theatre. It was the place to be for live entertainment in Southampton, with famous performers such as Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, and Gracie Fields all taking to the stage.

The pier was also home to a variety of attractions, including a funfair, an amusement arcade, and a restaurant. It quickly became a hub of activity for locals and visitors and was a popular destination for families.

During World War II, the pier was used by the military as a lookout post, and it was damaged by bombing raids. After the war, it was renovated and reopened in the 1950s but struggled to regain its former popularity.

In the 1960s, the pier was sold to new owners who added new attractions, including a nightclub and a casino. It became a popular spot for young people, with live music and dancing attracting crowds of revellers.

However, by the 1980s, the pier had fallen into disrepair and was closed to the public. It was purchased by new owners in the 1990s, who undertook a major renovation project to restore it to its former glory.

Today, South Parade Pier is once again a popular attraction, with a variety of activities and attractions for visitors of all ages. The pier is home to an amusement arcade, a restaurant, and a traditional fish and chip shop. There is also a children’s play area and an outdoor stage that hosts live music events during the summer months.

One of the main attractions of the pier is the pier head theatre, which has been restored to its original Art Deco style. The theatre hosts a variety of performances, from music and comedy to theatre and dance.

The pier is also a popular spot for fishing, with several fishing points located along its length. There is a tackle shop on the pier, and fishing equipment can be rented for those who don’t have their own.

Another popular activity on the pier is crabbing. Children (and adults) can rent a crabbing line and try their luck at catching the elusive crabs that lurk beneath the pier. It’s a fun activity that’s guaranteed to keep the kids entertained for hours.

For those who prefer a more leisurely pace, the pier is a great spot for a stroll. The views from the pier are stunning, with panoramic vistas of the Solent and the Isle of Wight. There are also plenty of benches along the pier where you can sit and soak up the sun.

South Parade Pier is steeped in history, and there are several information boards along the pier that provide details of its past. From its early days as a landing point for steamers to its heyday as a popular entertainment destination, the pier has played an important role in the history of Southampton.

The pier has also been featured in several films and TV shows, including the popular TV series ‘Minder’. In 2008, the pier was the subject of a documentary series called ‘Pier Pressure’, which chronicled the renovation project that restored the pier to its former glory.

In conclusion, South Parade Pier is a fantastic destination for anyone visiting Southampton. It’s a historic landmark that has been lovingly restored, with a variety of attractions and activities to keep visitors entertained.

Whether you’re looking for live entertainment, a funfair, or a relaxing stroll with stunning views, South Parade Pier has something for everyone. It’s also a great spot for fishing and crabbing, and the pier’s rich history adds to its appeal.

The pier is also a popular venue for events and functions, with the pier head theatre and outdoor stage providing a unique and atmospheric setting. It’s a great place to celebrate a special occasion or hold a corporate event.

One thing that’s particularly special about South Parade Pier is its sense of community. It’s a place where families and friends can come together to have fun and make memories. There’s a sense of nostalgia about the pier that draws people back time and time again.

In recent years, the pier has faced some challenges, including damage from storms and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the owners and the community have rallied around to support the pier and ensure that it continues to be a vital part of Southampton’s cultural and recreational landscape.

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