Weston-super-Mare is the best know sea side resort in Somerset. The name is derived from the saxon West -tun as in settlement and the super-Mare was later used to distinguish it from other Westons in the area (very similar to how the french use sur-mer - on sea).
Like many seaside resorts, Weston-super-Mare was a small town until the advent of the railway. Brunel in fact stayed in the town while building part of the Great Western Railway and once this was constructed, people came to the area from nearby Bristol. The Victorian era was the beginning of tourism as we know it with for day trips to the seaside being very popular. In addition to the railways, there were also boat trips from the South of Wales.
There are 2 piers at Weston-super-Mare. The first to be constructed was Birnbeck Pier and much as it was popular in its day, it is now sadly derelict. The opening of the second Grand pier in 1904, showed the status of Weston-super-Mare as a fine resort. This pier too has had a dramatic history and was recently damaged in a fire in 2008 and reopened in 2010.
Weston-super-Mare is synonymous with the traditional seaside resort with long sandy beaches, donkeys and the distant views of the Welsh coast. The town has a good selection of hotels, restaurants and attractions. These include the Weston Wheel, the Marine Lake, the Seaquarium the North Somerset Museum, Helicopter Museum and the renowned Winter Gardens.
The Silica is a striking building dating from 2006 that is a public work of art that is also a bus stop and kiosk.