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Weston-super-Mare Promenade

Take a deep breath and taste the fresh sea air, gaze along the golden sands and feel the cool breeze floating off the incoming tide. Kick off your shoes and paddle at the water's edge, just like generations have done before you. These are just some of the things that have always made Weston-super-Mare special.

It may have its modern day roots as a Victorian seaside resort where people were encouraged to visit for the benefits of the ozone laden winds but Weston today is very much a modern town by the sea.

It has one of the world's most impressive and eye-catching piers in the Grand Pier that stands proudly at the heart of the sea front.

Its promenade has in recent years undergone a £29 million transformation, with new paving and the addition of a second seawall as part of the town's flood defences. The result has been to create a safer, European-style promenade where thousands of people walk, cycle and skate every day.

The promenade runs roughly for two miles from the Royal Sands development to the Marine Lake, both of which have been completely redeveloped in the past 20 years. It is a flat and pleasant walk at any time of year and at any time of day with the beach and sea on one side and the town on the other, the Victorian villas giving way to more modern blocks of apartments as you near the pier. Then the promenade curves gently away with the beach some 30 feet below as it heads towards Knightstone Island and the Marine Lake.

The town's original swimming baths and Knightstone Theatre which stood on Knightstone Island - linked permanently to the mainland by a short road - have been turned into apartments overlooking the bay but the shape and look of the buildings they occupied have been preserved. The Marine Lake with its beach and a delightful causeway which you can walk across today looks better than it has for generations.

On Knightsone Island is Dr Fox's tearooms named after Dr Edward Long Fox who established the original baths and health treatment clinic on the island.

If you don't fancy or aren't able to walk along the promenade you can take the Weston land train for a small fare. There are two which run between the Royal Sands and the Victoria Cafe (just the Grand Pier) and from there to Knightstone Island. 

However you enjoy the promenade you may want to wonder how it could have looked if the engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel had got his way. When he was drawing up the route of the Great Western Railway he wanted the line to run beside the sea, just like it does between Dawlish and Teignmouth in Devon. But the great and good of Weston rejected his idea. They forced him to lay the tracks two miles inland. However, there is a track linking into town which is still used today.

Between the Royal sands and the Grand Pier is the Tropicana, formerly the town's open air pool which used to stage an annual beauty contest called Miss Modern Venus. Diana Dors entered this contest in 1945, aged just 14, and came third.

It is currently playing host to some fairground amusements, called Funland. A name inspired perhaps by the 2015 Dismaland art installation at the Tropicana by the graffiti artist Banksy. Dismaland led to tens of thousands of people flocking to the sea front and queuing, sometimes in the rain, to get in. Banksy himself said he had done it because he had fond memories of visiting Weston when he was growing up in Bristol and playing on the sands.

It is the expanse of the beach running for more than two miles from Uphill to Knightstone that sets Weston apart, together with it having the second highest tidal range in the world. This means that the vertical difference between low and high tide is something like 12 metres or 40 feet.

Some people joke that the sea never comes in at Weston. But it does, twice a day, and it is glorious. To walk along the sands at Weston at any time of day is one of the great joys of life. Try it if you can and don't forget to taste the air.

Tags: Weston-super-Mare Promenade

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