An Afternoon at Brighton Pier (Photo Essay)

1,772 feet of fun. That’s what you can expect from Brighton Pier. A stunning seaside location in Brighton, Brighton Pier may have some stiff competition with other attractions located throughout the city, but it has still managed to hold on to its title as the top attraction in Brighton since 1823.

Brighton is one my favorite cities to visit. It’s rife with charm, it’s pretty as a postcard, and there’s a funky baseline to this city just waiting to be uncovered. Whether it’s shopping in the Lane, getting down with your bad self at Audio, enjoying some sunshine on Brighton Beach, facing the wind at Devil’s Dyke, hanging out with a Banksy or just unwinding in one of the city’s many pubs, Brighton has something for everyone.

And everyone, at some point or another, visits the iconic Brighton Pier.

It’s hard not to notice Brighton Pier as you’re driving along the beachfront. If the giant Ferris Wheel doesn’t give it away, you’ll almost certainly notice the seagulls circling the skies and the smell of popcorn in the air, that is, if you haven’t already spotted its distinctive iron and steel structure and flashing neon lights.

Brighton Beach-3939

Brighton Pier-3883

Brighton Pier-3884

Back in 1823, Brighton Pier was known as Old Chain Pier, and it was mostly used as a landing stage for passenger ships sailing from France. The pier’s commercial value quickly became evident to its owners, however, and it wasn’t long before the strip was littered with souvenir kiosks, candy shops and fortune tellers. Visitors were charged $2 to enter.

Throughout the following decade, the Old Chain Pier was hammered by dozens of storms, and in 1834, a storm destroyed the pier entirely. Throughout the following decade, the pier was rebuilt only to be washed away by another raging storm, so it wasn’t until May 20th, 1899 that Brighton Pier was finally opened in a grand ceremony. On opening night, Brighton Pier was illuminated by 3,000 lights. Today, there are over 67,000 energy saving lights illuminating Brighton Pier.

Brighton Pier is probably best known for its arcade games and amusement park rides, although arcade games didn’t arrive until the 1980s. It has a reputation for being the first in England to introduce new games and rides. A concert hall was opened in 1911, and it eventually became a theater. Summer shows were held here, and the likes of Dick Emery, Doris & Elsie Waters performed on stage on the Brighton Pier. That stage is still on Brighton Pier today. You can find it in the Palm Court Fish and Chip Restaurant.

Brighton Pier-3906

Today, you’ll find that admission to Brighton Pier is free. The owners have also provided free deck chairs, which are almost always in use. There’s nothing like taking a walk out to the sea, whether its a gorgeous sunny summer day, or a blustery winter day, Brighton Pier is always a treat.

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Brighton Pier-3903


Post Author: Carrie Kellenberger

I'm a chronically ill Canadian expat who has been living abroad in Asia since 2003. I moved from China to Taiwan in 2006. My husband and I have owned our own business in Taiwan since 2012. In addition to my own work, I've been writing professionally about Asia, travel and health advocacy since 2007, providing regular content to several publishing companies and travel publications in Asia and North America. Follow Carrie on on Twitter @globetrotteri or on Instagram at

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