7 things you probably didn't know about Weston-super-Mare, Somerset

Weston-super-Mare Grand Pier in summer, in Beach Road

'The most expensive pier in the world' - Credit: Getty

Kiss-me-quick hats, ice-cream sundaes and sticks of rock - that's not all that Weston-super-Mare is famous for. A seaside town on the North Somerset coast, there is much more to this resort. Here are a few things you may not know about the area.

Back to the iron age

Worlebury Hill Fort is located in the town, in Worlebury Woods. Work has been taking place to clear the area of undergrowth, in order to reveal some historic ramparts.

Weston's famous son

Comedian John Cleese was born in Weston-super-Mare and he also attended St Peter’s Preparatory School.

Eat to your heart's content

Around 90 food and drink producers will get together in the centre of town on September 25 for eat:Weston. The eat events are now held across the region at different times, but the one in town is one of the biggest of the year.

Bombs away

The town has its very own abandoned MOD World War Two testing station off Sand Bay.
The station overlooks Woodspring Bay and cannonballs, unexploded bombs and other old weapons have been discovered there over the years.

Roal Dahl

Famous children's author Roald Dahl lived in the town as a child and his book Boy talks about his years spent there. He lived in Weston for four years, while a pupil at St Peter’s School.
He has his very own blue plaque in the resort, part of a scheme that celebrates the links between notable figures of the past and the buildings in which they lived and worked.

Piering across the water

The abandoned Birnbeck Pier at Weston-Super-Mare

The abandoned Birnbeck Pier at Weston-super-Mare Birnbeck Road - Credit: Getty Images

The town is actually home to two piers - the Grand Pier of course but also Birnbeck Pier. It is the only pier in the country which links the mainland to an island, linking to Birnbeck Island, a 1.2 hectares (3.0 acres) rocky island just to the west of Worlebury Hill. 
It is in a state of serious direpair and was shut to the public in 1994. Part of it collapsed in a storm six years ago and many developers have submitted plans over the years, all of which have so far come to nothing.

The most expensive pier in the world

We have already mentioned the other pier that Weston is home to, the Grand Pier. The main complex and surrounding features were largely destroyed by fire in 2008. Following a two-year transformation and £52million of investment, its owners declared at the time that it was 'the most epensive pier in the world'.

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Eisenhower

Another blue plaque, this time in Weston Woods, marks the night future US president Dwight Eisenhower slept in a caravan in Weston-super-Mare.
General Eisenhower visited Weston Woods for one night in 1944 en-route to the D-Day landings as part of his role as Supreme Allied Commander Europe.