The three star-studded piers along Blackpool’s famous Golden Mile not only offer countless hours of thrills, spills and laughter for thousands of visitors a year – they are also venerable institutions of Britain’s seaside history, and have watched as the town evolved from the sawdust and oyster bars of yesteryear to the slick roller coasters and night clubs of today. Each pier has its own distinct identity, and with a combined length of over a kilometre, holiday makers can happily spend several days exploring all there is on offer at these iconic Blackpool attractions.
All three piers were constructed during the Victorian age – a golden era of British engineering and tourism.
The North Pier
The North Pier was the first to appear in 1863, with its opening ceremony attended by an amazing 20,000 people. Its instant success prompted the construction of another pier, and the second pier (now known as the Central Pier) was opened in 1868. Initially, the North Pier was intended for ‘genteel relaxation’, with ladies and gentlemen taking the air and enjoying the views along its 500 metre length, whereas the Central Pier was given over to fun and games – first of all dance halls, but as time wore on, roller skating, fairground rides and amusement arcades. It has also been home to several theatres over the the years, two of which were gutted by fire in the 1960’s and 70’s.
The Central Pier
The Central Pier is now a prominent landmark on Blackpool’s skyline, thanks to its magnificent ferris wheel, which stands at over 100 feet high, and the North Pier has survived several fires and more than one encounter with a ship, retaining its Victorian splendour and now boasting several sophisticated bars and restaurants, such as the Carousel Bar, where guests can enjoy uninterrupted views over the Blackpool seafront and the Irish Sea, whilst listening to live family cabaret entertainment. Now Grade II listed by English Heritage, the North Pier is a wonderful opportunity to take in the elegance and beauty of Victorian architecture and engineering, whilst soaking up the sun and watching the world go by.
The South Pier
The South Pier is the smallest of Blackpool’s Piers, and also the youngest, being opened in 1893 and at first known as the Victoria Pier, after the Queen. Designed to be more ‘upmarket’ than the first two piers, it eventually settled into its reputation as the family pier, and the ideal place for an afternoon out with the kids. It has rides ranging from terrifying white-knuckle rollercoasters in the pier’s Adrenaline Zone to the more sedate dodgems and waltzers, and the Beachcomber Amusement Arcade – perfect for those inevitable rainy days. And when’s the sun’s out the South Pier is the perfect vantage point from which to view the famous Pleasure Beach, and to admire Blackpool’s healthy population of sea birds.
All in all, the Piers encapsulate the spirit of Blackpool – glorious Victorian architecture, fabulous sea views, and of course the fun-loving atmosphere that draws people back to the town again and again.
There is no charge for entry to any of Blackpool's three piers. The only charges made are for access to any shows taking place and for rides on the piers.
Each pier has its own unique charm and each has plenty to offer. Those who like quiet solitude may prefer the North Pier which offers far more in the way of space and less distractions. Central Pier is home to the Ferris wheel and is also the closest to the Blackpool Tower, while the South Pier is aimed very much at families with children with more in the way of rides and amusements.
Opened in 1863, North Pier is Blackpool's oldest pier although construction of Central Pier was completed just five years later. South Pier is Blackpool's newest pier although with work having started in 1892, it is now 130 years old.
At 1,650ft (500m) in length, North Pier is the longest of the three piers in Blackpool. Until 2011, this was the only one of the three piers which charged admission.