Cromer Pier is the archetypal British Pier. It remains the quiet relaxing pier it was designed for in the Victorian seaside town of Cromer on the North Norfolk coast with;
It’s also the town’s most famous landmark, you can’t miss it!
There has been a pier in Cromer since 1391, but history really relates from 1822 onwards. In this year, a 210 foot wooden jetty was built, but unfortunately it was washed away in 1843. It was then replaced with another slightly longer one, 240 foot, which lasted until 1890. This one was also destroyed by the stormy seas and the remains were consequently sold at auction for £40.
Following this, very sensibly, an iron jetty was built that was 500 foot long, together with a bandstand which was eventually extended into a pavilion.
During the war Cromer Pier was sectioned for defence purposes.
The poor Pier also had its fair share of being damaged too, which I suppose is understandable, being stuck out in the sea!
In 1949, 1953, 1976 and 1978 it was storm damaged.
In 1990 gales destroyed the amusement arcade and it was never replaced
In 1993 a 100 ton rig crushed into the Pier cutting off the theatre and lifeboat station from the land
In 2004 there was yet more storm damage
In 2013 we had the tidal surge which also damaged the Pier.
For many of you, the Pavilion Theatre is the highlight of your visit to Cromer.
The Pavilion theatre, with its cosy 510 seats, puts on two long running end-of-pier shows during the year, and is an event that many of you come back to year after year. This is the only end of pier show in the WHOLE WORLD so it’s a totally unique experience. It’s also now a Heritage attraction.
The two spectaculars are The Summer Show and The Christmas Show. Both are full of traditional fun but with a modern twist, and colourful entertainment with lots of variety; fantastic dancers, comedians, vocalists with wonderful voices and speciality acts.
And if you’re in Cromer for 2 weeks, you can watch Show 1 AND Show 2 – the same cast but different programmes with lots of variety. And as a finale, for the last two weeks of the season, the best moments from both shows are put together to give you "The Ultimate Pier Show".
Over the years these shows have improved
hugely due to public demand, so don't miss out on this fantastic display of variety entertainment. For tickets, times and schedules, visit the Cromer Pier website here.
In fact, the lady next to me, who had been coming for over 5 years, said the show we had watched was the best she’d seen. And there were people who had come from Singapore just for the show and another man who was there for the 34th time!
As you arrive on the pier, you get a real feel of enjoyment for what lies ahead. Most people are dressed up for the evening, sitting outside the bar and enjoying a drink and a natter with wonderful views towards Cromer.
The Pavilion Theatre also puts on a lot of other individual shows throughout the year, as well as the two main long running ones as mentioned above. For more on the shows and for booking tickets, you can visit the Cromer Pier website.
The location of this particular theatre is very special. Once inside the theatre you’re still very much reminded that you're on the pier with its construction of red painted iron girders above your head and down the sides.
For an added bonus when visiting the theatre, if it’s been a beautiful day, you must pop outside during the interval to make sure you don’t miss the setting sun over the sea.
At any time of year, and in any weather, this pier is one where you can come and enjoy the very best of being in Britain. The views from the pier are stunning, looking back onto Cromer as well as the coastal views towards both East and West Runton beach and Overstrand beach.
And whilst there, why not while away the hours at the theatre bar or café which are excellent? If you just want a drink overlooking the sea with wonderful views, then this is a perfect place to come. The bar is open all year, so whether it’s sunny, rainy, windy or snowy, come and get away from it all on the pier.
Or enjoy some fish and chips from No 1 Cromer which is perched just on the top of the cliff from the Pier and bring them down to eat on the plentiful seating all the way along the pier.
Most use the pier for pure enjoyment. And the best bit about it is that there are no noisy amusement arcades or computer games here (apart from everyone’s iphones I suppose!). Relax as you stroll along the wooden decking, taking in the seaside atmosphere, children enjoying themselves, dogs having a little wander, and fisherman trying to catch that elusive fish and others just pondering on life!
Dogs are allowed on Cromer pier, but not into the Pavilion Theatre or the Lifeboat station. You could also take a lovely walk from the Pier to Cromer Lighthouse walking up the steps in the cliff face just a short distance from the east end of Cromer promenade.
There is limited disabled parking near the front of the Pier, and access to the Pier is via ramps.
The RNLI Lifeboat has been an extremely important part of Cromer over the years and there’s a very strong community attached to it. Today you can visit three places of interest regarding the Cromer lifeboat and its history. The first is the Pier-head station, where the present lifeboat is stationed. In a large corrugated building at the end of the pier, you can walk around the viewing platform and have a good look in to the all-weather lifeboat and get a good idea of the size and importance of this job. This station is open all year, (depending on operations).
The second place is in the “old” lifeboat house on the Gangway, which houses the inshore lifeboat, a much smaller and quicker boat which can get much closer to the shore and the cliffs around Norfolk.
Finally, sitting right on the edge of the beach is the Henry Blogg Museum which houses the RNLI museum which has some really interesting history about the Cromer Lifeboats and its volunteers. This picture above is from this museum. For more detail on this, why not visit my article on the Henry Blogg Museum
Cromer Pier also features in the Cromer Museum.
Crabbing off the top of the pier is a hugely popular past-time for the children and adults alike. It doesn’t matter where you’re crabbing, it’s always great fun. Trying to catch those pesky crabs with their sharp claws, putting them in the bucket of sea water and watching them try to scrabble out is all part of the enjoyment! I don’t know what it is about crabbing, but it’s one of those activities that is always great fun and guaranteed to have the children occupied for hours!
What a great way to spend a morning or an afternoon on the pier. I have to say, with the rise of the nets that now come with crabbing paraphernalia , I think that’s an unfair advantage!! Just a bit of bacon, and the fun is to lean over the handrails and see if you can get them into the bucket before they drop off.
High tide is usually best for catching crabs. Wells harbour is another great place where crabbing is very popular.
Fishing on the end of Cromer pier is also very popular due mainly to the fact the fisherman can get their lines out further than if they fish from the beach. Mackerel and bass are the main catches here.
Cromer Pier is such a lovely place to come to that it definitely deserves a visit when you’re here. To miss out on this would be missing out on a piece of Victoria Seaside history.