At a kilometer long, this is the United Kingdom’s second-longest pier, also the country’s longest overland pier, and its oldest iron pier. It crosses the U.K.’s largest manmade lake, the Marine Lake. As if these weren’t accolades enough, the pier, a Grade II listed structure that has been standing for over 150 years, also won a Pier of the Year award in 2003.
From the end of the pier, you can see Blackpool to the north, including Blackpool Tower and the menacing Big One rollercoaster. Beyond it, on a clear day, you can see the Southern Fells of the English Lake District and the Pennine Hills. To the south, you can see the mouth of the River Mersey and beyond that Snowdonia.
Southport Beach is a sizeable expanse of very flat sand. When the tide is out, you can barely see it shimmering in the distance. Southport locals want to say that the tide never comes in, although it does come in fully a few times a year. However, on most days of the 365, there is no water at all beneath Southport Pier, just sand.
In late 2022, Southport Pier was closed by owners Sefton Council for safety reasons. Subsequent inspections revealed significant deterioration to the metalwork and damage to the wooden walkway. Refurbishment costs are estimated at £13 million which is well beyond the cash-strapped local council. Efforts are afoot to raise the required funds but, sadly, this iconic and much-loved attraction is likely to remain closed for years to come.
In the meantime, although you can’t walk the pier, you can admire it from below as you stroll along the sandy beach.
Know Before You Go
You can get the train into Southport and it is a short walk to the front, there is plentiful parking at the Ocean Plaza or the town is serviced by a good bus service.