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01/08/2021

Although Brean is a very popular Somerset resort for family holidays, Burnham-on-Sea, just a short drive away (or walk along the beach) has its own interesting stories to tell and attractions to offer.

Burnham-on-Sea, From Fishing Village To Holiday Destination

The name Burnham (with on-Sea added later) comes from the Old English words ‘Burna’ meaning stream and ‘Hamm’ for enclosure and refers to its position in an area of the Somerset Levels, reclaimed by the Romans from the River Severn and the Bristol Channel. Burnham-on-Sea evolved from being a fishing village to, the 18th century, becoming a very popular Somerset daytrip and holiday resort. This was helped by the railway which ran right to seafront area.

Why Burnham-on-Sea is a Popular Holiday Destination

Some of the reasons why Burnham-on-Sea is still such a popular place for those e.g., staying at campsites in Brean to visit are related to its history. For example, historic buildings, such as:

The lighthouses, one on legs/stilts on the beach. Those who holiday in Brean will be very familiar with the so-called ‘round-tower’ lighthouse (built in the late 1700s) that they pass it on the Berrow Road going towards the Coast Road in Brean, perhaps for Holiday Resort Unity. Those who choose to either walk along the 7-miles of golden, soft sandy beach from Brean Sands to Burnham-on-Sea, or who drive the Burnham-on-Sea and look over the seafront will also see the famous low wooden pile lighthouse or "Lighthouse on legs". This wooden lighthouse, which dates from the early 1800s is used as the symbol for the town and can be seen on many holiday postcards.

The Pavilion. Jutting out across the beach on tall concrete legs is what some claim to be the shortest pier in England! The Pavilion, built in1858, now houses a popular amusement arcade and has a covered café area outside. Many families staying at campsites and holiday parks in Brean include the Pavilion as a stop-off point for refreshments, snacks, or an ice cream as they make their way along the seafront or of come off the beach during their days out in Burnham-on-Sea.

The Jetty and the beach area between the jetty and the seafront. The stone part of the jetty was built in the 1850s by George Reed (commemorated in the Reed Arms pub). The railway track ran from Burnham-on-Sea railway station to the jetty as part of a scheme to connect South-west England to South Wales using paddle steamers. Today, the jetty is used for visitors to walk along and as a place to launch small craft. The area between the jetty and the Pavilion is especially popular with visitors and over the years has been an area for beach donkey rides, and other attractions for children such as trampolines, sit-on roundabout rides, swinging boats, and more.

Catching The Bus From Brean To Burnham-on-Sea

The bus from Brean to Burnham-on-Sea stops just opposite the Reeds Arms (now a Wetherspoons) and just along from the beginning of the jetty. Those staying at campsites or holiday parks in Brean who have taken the bus to Burnham either to go onto the beach or explore the town will be very familiar with this area. Also, the return bus to Brean travels along the seafront giving spectacular views across the Severn estuary towards South Wales. A building of note across the water that many holiday makers have noticed changing in recent years is Hinckley Point power station which, it is rumoured, when its expansion work for Hinkley Point C is finished (in many years’ time), could be the most expensive building project in the world!

Burnham-on-Sea Town Centre

The town centre. For those families staying in Brean a day out in Burnham-on-Sea is not complete without a visit to the main High Street and town centre. It has many shops, cafes/restaurants/food outlets and pubs, ideal for exploring and enjoying on a day out at this popular but still unspoiled Somerset seaside resort.

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