The re-built Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare opens its doors just two years after it burned down in a devastating blaze.
Hundreds of people queued through the night to get the first glimpse inside the £39m building which promises to ”revolutionise the British seaside”.
The 104-year-old pavilion was completely destroyed in July 2008 by a fire which took just 90 minutes to reduce it to a smouldering wreck.
But the attraction has now risen from the ashes and been hailed as ”the biggest boost to a British seaside resort” for nearly a century.
The new-look pier can hold 6,700 people and is expected to attract four million visitors a year.
It boasts everything from traditional seaside rides such as dodgems and carousels to state-of-the art rollercoasters.
The biggest ride is the 1,000ft Go Kart track split over two levels, which cost £1 million to manufacture.
It also boasts Britain’s smallest rollercoaster, the Robocoaster, which cost £350,000.
Other attractions include the £300,000 Sidewinder, a swinging pendulum ride, and two £335,000 Formula 1 Stimulators.
There is also a 4D cinema, Crystal Maze, Kids Adventure Cove, Psychedelia and a three-storey helter skelter in the North West tower.
There are also plans to add a 300ft high revolving panoramic viewing tower which will offer visitors a 360 degree view of the coastline
The five-storey landmark also features four round corner towers, an undercover walkway and extensive decking and restaurants.
It is illuminated at night and even has wind turbines to generate its own electricity supply.
Owner Kerry Michael said: ”We believe the opening of the new pavilion at Weston-super-Mare will be the biggest boost to a British seaside resort in
”Blackpool strung garlands of lights across its seafront in 1912 and changed the face of the British seaside and we believe this design can boost Weston by lengthening the season.”
Tourism minister and Weston’s MP, John Penrose, attended the opening in the seaside town along with thousands of holidaymakers.
The new pier was expected to be completed in June, but has been hit by several construction setbacks and now opening after the lucrative summer season.
Mr Michael – who has spent £1.2million on a fire safety system at the new pier – says he scoured the globe for the best rides and attractions.
”The new pier is everything we had planned and hoped it would be,” he said.
”It is exactly how we envisaged it; it has now come to life and is how I saw it.
”Everyone who has come to the pier so far has had the same reaction.
”They are genuinely surprised, as they don’t expect to see all this, the escalator, robots and functions rooms, on the end of a traditional seaside pier.
”I do believe we have delivered a world-class pier but that’s not for me to judge, hopefully when the customers judge us, they will think so, too.”
The new pier is due to host the final of Miss Great Britain on December 4.
The Grade II-listed pier in Weston first opened in 1904. The first pavilion was destroyed in a fire in 1930 and, two years ago, an electrical fault caused the second fire.
all praise to the owners for having had the vision & the courage to develop this superb new attraction at a popular resort. They deserve to succeed.
Was there last weekend.The new pier is FAB !