New-look café, crazy golf and postal service on world’s longest pleasure pier

Submitted by Amelia O'Hanlon | 25/05/2016

A fully refurbished café, crazy golf, pop-up beach huts and a new pier-head postal service are being introduced on Southend Pier ahead of what is hoped will be a bumper summer for the town.

The café at the Royal Pavilion on the pier head is to re-open this week after an extensive refurbishment by its new operator, Vertas Group Limited.

Renamed, ‘Salt’, the refurbished café offers a range of locally sourced, freshly prepared food and drink, launching its new look on Thursday 19 May at midday.

Vertas, a company that specialises in catering and other services across East Anglia, took over running the Royal Pavilion, at the sea end of the landmark, on 8 February, promising “considerable investment”, branded coffee, ice cream, locally prepared sandwiches, hot melts, and homemade cake.

On launch day, café staff will be offering free samples, opening day discounts and a competition for the best #SouthendSaltSelfie.

Crazy Golf tees off

The new look café is just one of several improvements to the pier head being introduced this summer.

Visitors to the pier head can now also enjoy a game of crazy golf thanks to newly launched venture “Southend Pier Crazy Golf” by local businessman, Darren Lattimer. The 12-hole course features challenging obstacles, including its centrepiece, Olga the Octopus, who will preside over the course, serving as a taxing putt-through obstacle.

Pier head postal service

A new post box is due to be introduced to the end of the pier from Friday. Pier managers hope that sending a postcard, complete with its own “Southend Pier” frank mark, quickly establishes itself as a must-do activity for all Southend visitors.

A total of 10 pop-up beach huts are also due to open on the bowling deck and pier head in June, providing a mix of music, art and entertainment.

Scott Dolling, Head of Economy, Regeneration and Tourism at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, said:

“We’re delighted with the new investment in the pier café, which demonstrates confidence from the private sector in our plans for the pier’s renaissance as a major tourist attraction of national importance.

“Along with the pop-up beach huts, mini golf and pier postal service, the visitor experience on the pier this summer will bigger and better than previous years and will maintain and grow its appeal while longer-term investments materialise.”

Manoj Nair, General Manager for Vertas Group Limited, said:

“We are absolutely thrilled with the new look café and catering offer at Southend Pier and cannot wait to welcome local residents and visitors to ‘Salt’.

“The new brand boasts a fresh and modern feel, whilst keeping in line with the surroundings. It was important for us to ensure that we created a service offering which appealed to all audiences and best promoted this iconic landmark.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to all those who have contributed to the success of Salt so far and I encourage all to take a trip to see us, try our tasty menu and enjoy the stunning surroundings.”

Darren Lattimer of Southend Pier Crazy Golf said:

“I have been looking forward to putting the course at the end of the pier to give our visitors even more fun and enjoyment on their visit.

“Along with the other improvements and attractions this year, there will be more reason than ever to take a walk or a ride down the world’s longest pleasure pier.”

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