Burnham on Sea, Somerset

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Burnham on Sea on the Somerset coast has one of the longest sandy beaches in Europe, the shortest pier in Britain, and iconic lighthouses. Once a fashionable Victorian seaside resort, it still has a number of listed buildings along the Esplanade, as well as an art deco cinema with its original decorations. The town is on the edge of the Somerset Levels, looking out onto the Bristol Channel, and is a great place for a walk on the beach or at the wildlife park.

Photogenic lighthouses

Burham on Sea is home to a number of red and white lighthouses due to the risk to ships of the mudflats and moving sands of the Bristol Channel. Photographers love the Grade II listed ‘low’ lighthouse, a working lighthouse on legs built in 1832 on the beach. There is also a ‘high’ lighthouse, that has been converted into a holiday let.

The shortest pier?

The most controversial thing about Burnham on Sea is probably it’s pier – it is so short, some experts have argued it is not actually pier but a beach pavilion. Built in 1858 by the Somerset Central Railway, replaced with a concrete pier in 1911-1914, it still has railway lines under the concrete. It is one of the UK’s oldest illuminated seaside piers and was the first concrete structure of its kind in Europe. When it was first built, engineers from around Britain came to marvel at it and locals were worried the huge tides in Bridgwater Bay would soon sweep it into the sea. Today it has been restored and maintains its original Edwardian features, and houses amusements and places to eat.

Where to eat in Burnham on Sea

Try the Dunstan House Inn, a short walk from the main esplanade that serves seasonal classics in the pub and epic looking burgers from their burger shack, the Railway Inn on the High Street, La Vela for Italian or Saagar for the best Indian takeaway.

Did you know?

The beaches and mudflats of Burnham on Sea are part of Bridgwater Bay, where the tide can go out by a whopping 1.5 miles. The Bristol Channel itself has a tidal range of 11 metres (the difference in height between high tide and low tide), which is the second largest in the world behind the Bay of Fundy in Canada. In 1607, the whole area was hit by a huge flood, that experts think was caused by a tsunami.

Image credit: Barry Badcock via Flickr