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Weston-super-Mare – Fun Loving Resort Town on the Somerset Coast
Situated directly on the Bristol Channel, Weston-super-Mare has drawn British holidaymakers to its broad beaches and traditional seaside attractions since the early 19th century. These range from an aquarium to amusement park rides, with the town most popular with retired visitors and families with younger children. It is also known for its large tidal pool. The stretch of coast to the west of the city is especially dramatic and there are a number of great daytrip opportunities in this area.
A Grand Pier and Sweeping Beaches
The broad beach, which runs for miles along the Bristol Channel, completely dominates coastal city Weston super Mare. The city features a number of hotels and attractions along its seafront typical of traditional English seaside resorts. First among them is the Grand Pier. It naturally lives up to its name, being rather large and located right in the tourist heart of the city. It’s difficult to miss. Aside from the great sea views to be had from its walkways, it also includes a number of amusement rides such as dodgem cars, a games arcade and even a ten-pin bowling alley. The other pier in town is Birnbeck Pier. Its age and lack of upkeep has resulted in it often being closed on account of dangerous conditions, but it is nonetheless interesting to view, and is the only pier in Britain that links to an island. While the expansive beach offers a number of great places to swim, those not keen on swimming directly in the sea will find the Knightstone Island Tidal Pool on the northern edge of the beach.
Carnivals and Culture on the Seashore
Weston-super-Mare serves two main groups when it comes to the cultural attractions it offers. It caters for an increasingly cosmopolitan permanent population that seeks out typical entertainment, sometimes including “high culture”, and summer visitors who are typically looking for fun, often family-friendly, entertainment. This results in a wide variety of entertainment being available. The Playhouse Theatre is situated right on the High Street, close to hotels and other amenities of the city centre. It offers opera and ballet and often features popular musicals in the tourist season. The historic Odeon Cinema is one of only two cinema’s remaining in England that still feature working organs.
Several carnivals and parades are held during the year. One of the most popular is the Weston Illuminated Carnival. It is held in November, with the bright and cheerful illuminated floats snaking their way through the streets and bringing some welcome light and jollity to the dark November nights.
A Rich Aviation History
Weston super Mare has long been associated with aviation, both civilian and military. RAF Weston-super-Mare was built in the years before WWII and used for training and relief operations during that war. Later it became known as a helicopter base, and is used today for occasional RAF search and rescue missions in the area. Westland Helicopters was based in the town until 2002, manufacturing a variety of models through the years. While their site no longer produces helicopters, it does serve as the location of one of the most comprehensive museums dedicated to helicopters anywhere in the world. More than 80 military and civilian helicopters are on display, with the museum being very popular among aviation buffs. The aerodrome is surprisingly close to the tourist heart of the city, with its hotels and other amenities. Air shows are held regularly, with the highlight being an annual display by the spectacular Red Arrows Aerobatic Team. They are visible from much of the town, including the city’s broad seafront, allowing fans to enjoy the show and a seaview at the same time.
Easy Daytrips to Exmoor National Park
Those with time to spare during their holiday might consider looking beyond the city limits of Weston super Mare for new and fresh attractions. Somerset has no shortage of these, with Exmoor National Park - one of the nation’s more dramatic areas, being particularly popular. It lies about an hour’s drive from the city, so it can be visited on a daytrip without needing to check out of your hotel room. It is especially well-known for its spectacular coastline, which is accessible to those prepared to do a bit of hiking. The highest sea cliff in mainland Britain, Great Hangman, is in the park. There are also numerous waterfalls and caves, making it the ideal destination for intrepid explorers looking to experience a wild and beautiful place with a great sea view. Those looking for easier walking conditions and more subdued scenery should head inland, where the hills are gentle and there are more civilised facilities like pubs and tearooms.