The Brighton Palace Pier is a pleasure pier that has an amusement park with sideshows and fairground rides including roller coasters. It is a tacky attraction similar to what you find in other English seaside resorts but it can be a lot of fun.
The Grade II* listed pier was opened in 1899 and was the third pier to be built in Brighton and the only one still standing today.
It was renamed to Brighton Pier in 2000 but it is commonly known by its original name and it is even called Brighton Palace Pier on its own website.
The pier has featured heavily in pop culture with a starring appearance in many films including Brighton Rock, MirrorMast, Quadrophenia and Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street as well as television series including Cuffs, Doctor Who and The Persuaders.
While Brighton is atypical of the traditional English seaside resort, a visit to the Palace Pier will show you the down-market style of seaside attractions normally associated with the English seaside, without having to travel to somewhere as depressing as Blackpool or Margate. In general, the pier reflects the tacky side of Brighton and it can be a fun place to spend an hour or two.
It is a popular tourist attraction with over four million visitors per year and it is England’s most visited tourist attraction outside London.
What to do at the Brighton Palace Pier
The 525m- (1722 ft)-long Brighton Pier is a traditional pleasure pier with carnival-style food stalls and fairground attractions such as an amusement arcade, a carousel and roller coaster.
Most of the fairground rides are at the amusement park area at the end of the pier and the walk up the pier takes you past the Palace of Fun amusement arcade, sideshow-style games and the concession food stands.
There are fairground rides for all ages from tame rides like the carousel and a teacup ride to more thrilling rides like the Crazy Mouse and Turbo Coaster roller coasters.
Rides at Brighton Pier include:
- a traditional carousel where all ages can ride on a brightly-painted horse;
- the Turbo Coaster roller coaster, which includes a loop and two steep drops;
- Galaxia, a ride that lifts, drops and spins you around;
- Air Race, a ride that emulates the experience of an acrobatic aeroplane ride;
- the Wild River log flume ride;
- Helter Skelter, an old-style fairground ride where you ride a spiral slide down the tower at the end of the pier;
- Booster, a ride that catapults you 39.5m (130 ft) in the air, offering brilliant views of Brighton;
- the Crazy Mouse roller coaster with its sharp bends and negative vertical G forces; and
- the i220, a thrill ride aimed mostly at children (but adults can also go on it) that sends you 8m (26 ft) in the air where it spins you around offering views over Brighton.
In addition to the rides and funfair attractions, the pier is a lovely place to walk to the end of to watch the sunset.
Visiting Brighton Palace Pier
Brighton Palace Pier is located by the seaside at the southern end of the city centre. It is only a few minutes’ walk from the SEA LIFE Brighton aquarium, the Brighton Zip and the Volk’s Electric Railway and the Lanes, the Old Police Cells Museum, the Royal Pavilion, the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery and the Brighton Dome are all within a 10-minute walk.
Brighton Palace Pier is open every day (except Christmas Day) and it is open longer during the summer months.
There is no charge to visit Brighton Pier but it will cost you if you want to ride on any of the rides. Wristbands that give you unlimited rides cost £22.50 or £12 if you are under 1.2m (3 ft 11 in) but are much cheaper if you buy them online in advance.
There are plenty of places to eat and drink on the pier. These include three bars, restaurants and fast food outlets. Popular options include fish and chips, sausages, hot dogs and pizza; however, the standard of food on the pier is as you would expect from a carnival and not as good as you will find in central Brighton.
Most people spend a few hours on the pier but you can spend just half an hour here if you just want to walk to the end to watch the sunset.