Piers are wooden or metal structures usually found in seaside locations and they provide excellent facilities for pensioners to walk slowly, pretend they’re interested in quoits and try tombstoning into shallow waters.
Most piers have responded to changes in culture and technology by installing amusement arcades, zip wires and tapas bars, but some have chosen to reflect the Victorian era in which the majority were built, with traditional attractions such as bathing machines, under-seven’s chimney sweeping, recreational laudanum and Zulu shooting.
Traditionally, piers have been burnt down at regular intervals, but since the introduction of inner-city riots, this role has been taken over by furniture stores, police cars and railway stations.
The UK’s longest pier is at Southend (or Zeebrugge if you start from the other end), while the shortest is at Burnham-on-Sea (or Burnham-on-Land if you start from the other end).
From 1984 till 2001, The Sun newspaper ran a Pier of the Year competition, but this was discontinued after Carol Vorderman won it three years in a row.