It may not be the last word in sophistication but Weston-super-Mare has a kitsch charm about it which is very endearing and keeps visitors returning year after year. It was a premiere seaside resort for Victorians and Edwardians and retains many of the same features which drew the crowds back then. Donkey rides on the beach, Punch and Judy puppet shows and sand-castle competitions remain firm favourites although the town also has plenty of more modern British seaside classics including noisy amusement arcades.
For a bit of local history head to the town's Museum, based in an old gasworks (don't let that put you off) it is a great place to find out about the area from prehistoric times to the present day. Next door is Clara's Cottage - reconstructed as it would have been in 1900.
Those that may have poked fun at the place as old fashioned and backward looking were forced to change their views in 2015 when Banksy the world famous elusive graffiti artist took over the old Tropicana Lido and chose Weston as the location for Dismaland, his anti-establishment “bemusement” park, which closed in the same year. In doing so he placed Weston-super-Mare firmly on the "in" map with hundreds of thousands of visitors arriving and queueing to visit, bringing Weston-super-Mare to a totally new audience. A temporary exhibition that featured work from a host of subversive artists, Dismaland may have gone but its left a legacy in Weston-super-Mare and a sense that there is much more to the place than first meets the eye.
The huge tidal range of the Bristol Channel which serves as the sea here means that at low tide it is impossible to swim unless you wade across a mile of mudflats but when the tide is in the beach is a long stretch of golden sand. The Pier has a brand-new pavilion which draws visitors from far and wide and a major refurbishment of the wide Grand Promenade, which runs along the back of the beach for two miles and is great for a stroll, taking in the salt air and maybe enjoying a serving of fish and chips or cockles and whelks from one of the many food stands on the beach.
For the Mendip Way walker Weston provides easy access by train from Bristol, a good range of accommodation, restaurants and facilities and a degree of hilarity and entertainment before heading off into the wilds!