Southend-on-sea. Nautical.

These benches are cleverer than I first thought. (Or I am an idiot)

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Underneath the bench, on the sides, I thought those bits were like… the top halves of stickmen. Or some kind of weird uneccesary support structure for the bench. It’s literally only now, months later, looking at these photos, that I realise — IT’S AN ANCHOR, you guys. I SEE WHAT THEY DID THERE (and I like them a lot more now)

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Anyway, these benches are situated on Southend-on-sea pier, the UK’s longest pier at 1.34 miles out into the sea. THAT’S A LOT OF PIER

(Especially on a rainy day when the pier train is broken)

I visited as part of my ongoing mission to visit all of the UK’s pleasure piers, and you know what, despite the rain, this was possibly one of my favourites, for its sheer ridiculousness. These benches are just one small detail on this crazy construction.

There are a fair few of them though, and a number of different nautical themed designs, which is cool. Presumably they were commissioned bespoke for the pier.

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There are a whole lot of them too, dotted all around the larger areas at the end of the pier. The views are interesting, even on a grey day, with lots of exciting boat action in this busy part of the channel.

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I’m not generally a fan of metal benches — they’re cold in winter and sometimes painfully hot in summer, and they seem to cling on to the rain more than some other materials… But these were reasonably comfortable, for what they are, and the nice designs made me happy. They also have memorials on them, which is a nice touch.

Comfort of bench: 5/10
Capacity of bench: About 4 per bench, but there are loads of them.
View from bench: 8/10. Lots of exciting boat action!
Accessibility of bench: While the pier is reasonably wheelchair friendly, it’s long, and I don’t know how wheelchair friendly the train is, plus some of the best benches are up some stairs, so I’m going to give this a cautious 4/10.
Adventure level: The pier is about 15 minutes walk from Southend station, which is around an hour outside London… and the pier train makes it easy to get to these, but if you’re going to walk it, it does feel quite intrepid, ploughing through the tourists/rain, so let’s say 4/10!

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