Published date: March 2019
One of Norfolk’s most iconic landmarks
Cromer’s seaside pier attracts many visitors each year and stands strong and proud in the often-unforgiving and sometimes brutally destructive North Sea. Spending many months battered by harsh winds and rough seas, Cromer Pier enjoys calmer times during the summer months when the sun shines, waves gently lap and visitors flock. It’s the town’s most famous landmark and if you head towards the beach, you simply can’t miss it.
Home to the Cromer Lifeboat Station and the Pavilion Theatre, Cromer Pier plays a pivotal role in the town and is where the famous annual crabbing event takes place. It is also one of the best places in Cromer to sit and relax and watch the world go by and the ideal spot to enjoy an ice-cream or some fish and chips. The stunning North Norfolk coastline can be enjoyed from the pier with views of East and West Runton beach, Overstrand beach and some great views of Cromer. Idly watch the boats bring in their daily catch, marvel at the hang gliders and paragliders swooping high above the cliffs and be mindful of the greedy gulls that descend on the pier in search of leftover chips!
A trip to Cromer is incomplete without visiting the town’s famous pier, it’s free to enter and dog friendly too.
Cromer Pier’s History
Records of a pier in Cromer date back as far as 1391, although then it was more of a jetty. It was in 1822 that a 210-foot long jetty was built, but this was completely destroyed during a storm. Two years later a 240-foot structure was built that lasted until 1890 when it too was destroyed by stormy seas and records show the remains were sold at auction for £40.
In 1901 a 500-foot iron pier, the work of a London engineering firm, Douglass and Arnott, was opened. A bandstand was erected at the head and this was extended in 1905 to form a pavilion.
Sadly, Cromer pier was damaged by storms in 1949, 1953, 1976 and 1978. In 1990, severe weather destroyed the amusement arcade and in 1993, a 100-ton rig crashed into the pier, isolating the theatre and lifeboat station. Extensive repairs were carried out in time for the 1994 summer season.
Further storm damage occurred in 2003/2004 and again in 2013. Considerable repair work has been carried out on the pier since 2013.
The pier and the town were used as a location for the 2013 film featuring Alan Partridge - Alpha Papa.
In 2015 Cromer Pier won National Piers Society’s Pier of the Year, with the society’s president, Gavin Henderson, saying “There is no business like show business and Cromer Pier proves it.” In July 2015 it is reported that Cromer was now the only end of the pier variety show remaining in Europe.
In January 2017, after another storm surge, Cromer’s damaged promenade reopens to the public, just five days after the initial damage. Repair work is also carried out under the pier.
June 2017 marks Cromer Pier’s 40th summer variety show, with tickets in high demand.
In October 2017, Cromer Pier’s owners, North Norfolk District Council announced they had awarded resort management company Openwide, a 10-year contract to run and develop Cromer Pier.
In November 2017 Marks & Spencer choose Cromer and its pier as their winter photo shoot location and the pier features in Marks and Spencer’s adverts the following month.
During January 2018 Cromer Pier reports that they have had more full houses than ever before, with programmes completely selling out by the end of week four. Also, in January 2018 it was announced that Cromer’s popular folk rock festival would be returning to the pier for its 20th birthday in May 2018.
In 2019 further repairs and maintenance work are carried out on Cromer Pier.
Cromer Pier Variety Show
It is thought that Cromer Pier’s variety show is the only full season end of the pier show in the world and is one of only five UK end of pier theatres. The 151-metre walk along the pier’s wooden decking to the theatre is quite an experience in itself, with breath-taking views of the north Norfolk coastline both left and right and glimpses of sea beneath foot. The traditional 500 seat theatre is sure to impress, as will the magical variety experience that awaits you. Enjoy both traditional and contemporary variety, glitz and glamour, laugh out loud comedy, impressive vocals, intriguing speciality acts and an eclectic blend of dance - from street through to classical ballet.
The Summer Show and The Christmas Show are both full of variety acts, dancers, comedians and singers and if you happen to be in Cromer for 2 weeks during the summer, you could book tickets for both show 1 and show 2. It’s the same cast but with a differing programme. During the last two weeks of the season, the best bits from each show are amalgamated for ‘The Ultimate Cromer Pier Show’.
During the show’s 42 year history, Cromer Pier Pavilion Theatre has played host to many household names, who have often started their careers here, including the likes of TV favourite Bradley Walsh, ventriloquist Steve Hewlett and Darren Day. If you are looking for something very typically British, funny, exciting, professional and thoroughly entertaining then book yourself some tickets for the end of the pier variety show on Cromer Pier.
To find out more about Cromer Pavilion Theatre, its famous end of the pier show and to book tickets, visit the following website:
As well as hosting the two main variety events annually, the Cromer Pier Christmas Show and The Cromer Pier Summer Show, the Pavilion Theatre also hosts many other events. These include solo artists, tribute bands, comedians, children’s live stage shows, musicals and musical groups and the programme runs all year round. Visit the following website to see what’s on at Cromer Pier Pavilion Theatre:
There has been a lifeboat service operated from Cromer for the past 200 hundred years and today there are two boathouses, one for the All-Weather Lifeboat "Lester" which is on Cromer Pier and the other for the Inshore Lifeboat on the east promenade. If you are interested in learning more about the history of Cromer’s lifeboats and crew, a visit to the Henry Blogg Lifeboat Museum on the east promenade is recommended. This is an interactive museum, suitable for all ages and is free to enter.
More information can be found by visiting the following website:
The RNLI operational lifeboat station on Cromer Pier is open to visitors and offers a fascinating insight into the work of the RNLI and is a very interesting experience. Access to the station is free and you are able to view their Tamar class lifeboat Lester. Open all year round (subject to operational requirements) visitors can also browse the RNLI gift shop and pick up some interesting gifts.
Further information can be found on the RNLI Cromer website:
Cromer Pier’s Pavilion Bar
Pavilion Bar is open all year round and has some of the best views of the Norfolk Coastline. Meet friends and family here for pre-theatre drinks and pre-order your interval refreshments and ice creams.
Whatever time of year Cromer Pier’s Pavilion Bar is the perfect place to sit and watch the world go by whilst enjoying an alcoholic beverage from their extensive menu or a hot drink, when the weather isn’t so good. It’s a dog friendly bar too, so makes an ideal place to stop off and refuel after a long beach walk. A range of hot and cold snacks are also available, and the bar can be booked for private functions.
Located on Cromer Pier, Tides Restaurant is in a unique setting, with tables inside and out, overlooking the north Norfolk coast. Serving a variety of Mediterranean and traditional British favourites, the restaurant stocks a full range of fine wines, bottled beers, soft drinks, teas and coffees. Tides Restaurant is open daily from 11am for lunch and dinner. Please note opening hours may be subject to change due to inclement weather conditions.
To book a table call: 01263 511236
No seaside is complete without a traditional kiosk, selling everyone’s favourite treats. Located on Cromer Pier this handy kiosk serves all the goodies you could possibly wish for from whippy and soft scoop ice-creams, candy floss, sugared ring donuts, slush drinks, sweets and hot takeaway drinks.
Cromer Pier Gift Shop
The gift shop and box office are combined on Cromer Pier, so you can browse for gifts and see what’s on at the Pavilion Theatre. Look through their range of carefully selected products including clothing, artwork, nautical souvenirs, gifts, branded soft toys, greeting cards and sweet treats.
Crabbing on Cromer Pier
The perfect place to catch a famous Cromer Crab!
It’s free to crab fish off Cromer Pier and it’s a lovely way to reconnect with the family and spend some quality time together outdoors – and with a bit of healthy competition thrown in. Everything you need can be purchased from the gift shop on the pier or in one of the many shops around the town.
Each year Cromer plays host to a World Crabbing Competition, part of the Crab and Lobster Festival, taking place August bank holiday Sunday 2019 on the pier. Join the fun as a team or individual competitor and catch as many crabs as you can or the biggest crab.
**Top tip – Cromer crabs are partial to squid and mackerel rather than bacon, which is more commonly used!
To find out more about this upcoming event, visit the following website:
Close to Cromer Pier and not to be missed……….
Fish and Chips – takeaway and restaurant available at both
No 1 - 1 New Street, Cromer, Norfolk, NR27 9HP
Mary Jane’s - 27-29 Garden Street, , Norfolk, NR27 9HN
Probably Norfolk’s finest gourmet burgers to eat in or takeaway
Craft Burger Cromer - New Street, Cromer, Norfolk, NR27 9HP
Fishmonger - fresh fish, Cromer crabs and lobsters
Davies Fish Shop - Garden Street, Cromer, Norfolk, NR27 9HN
Cafés - excellent coffee and homemade cakes
Huckleberries - 43 Church Street, Cromer, Norfolk, NR27 9HH
North Lodge Park Tearooms - Overstrand Road, Cromer, Norfolk, NR27 0AH
Pub - serving excellent food and dog friendly
The Red Lion - Brook Street, Cromer, Norfolk, NR27 9HD