A total of 47,048 visitors visited the world’s longest pleasure pier this May, smashing the previous record of 37,349 in May 2016.
Two bank holidays of sunny weather, boat trips from the pier, new concessions and the popular Sunday Showcase music events are all thought to have contributed the pier’s record-breaking popularity.
Pier admission figures show 15,346 visitors on the early May Bank Holiday weekend alone, with an additional 11,351 on the late May Bank Holiday weekend.
Cllr James Courtenay, Executive Councillor for Growth, said: “It is very encouraging to see so many visitors flocking to the pier this month. While some of this can be attributed to the good weather, boat trips from the pier, pop-up attractions and regular events have all played their part in this month’s success.
“This year, we are continuing the ‘cultural beach huts’ on the pier, with some now operating as concession stalls at the pier head and selling food, drinks and souvenirs. This is in addition to the continuation of crazy golf, the ice cream sales – including Southend’s own Rossi’s and Gelato Italia - and the refurbishment of sun shelters.
“2018 promises to be a milestone year in the pier’s history, with work due to start in autumn on the expansion of the pier entrance into a former penny arcade and designs soon to be published for a new visitor pavilion on the former Bowling Deck.
“We remain committed to investing in the pier to widen its offer and appeal and ensure Southend is able to compete against other rival resorts.”
New Laurel & Hardy Gift Shop
A new Laurel & Hardy pop-up gift shop is to officially open from a beach hut on Southend Pier on 8 June in recognition of the film duo’s famous link to the town. A range of officially licensed Laurel and Hardy gifts and souvenirs will be on sale, including tshirts, caps and hats, mugs, postcards, umbrellas, aprons, keyrings, tankards, prints and posters.
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy famously stayed and performed in Southend for a week in August 1952, when they performed at the former Odeon and stayed at the Palace Hotel – something commemorated there by an official Blue Plaque.
Diane Pinnock, Proprietor of Laurel & Hardy Gifts, said: “I am delighted to be opening a pop-up gift shop at the end of the pier. The beach huts make a perfect little shop as they are so eye catching and surprisingly spacious. We have a great range of gifts and souvenirs for both tourists and local people which are also available on line at www.laurelandhardygifts.com.
To keep abreast of the latest Pier news, please go to www.visitsouthend.co.uk