Grand pier

Just two years after it was devastated by fire, the pier at Weston-super-Mare was due to re-open as we went to press. A £51 million refit has left the pier well equipped to meet the needs of 21st century holidaymakers, with new high-tech rides and games, including two genuine formula one simulators where drivers can see just how good they really are.

The pier’s owners, brother and sister Kerry and Michelle Michael, are aiming high with the ambitious project. They want the pier to be an all-year attraction,with a hall large enough to hold 3,000 people for concerts or 1,000 for banquets, as well as conference facilities. Traditional holiday visitors and day-trippers will be catered for by the amusement park, which includes 18 rides, as well as 26 shops and food outlets.

Entrance to the pier remains free, so it will be possible simply to stroll out to sea or sit in the sun, but the Michaels hope the wide range of attractions will see 3.5 million visitors a year spending an average of £4.60 each.