kids encyclopedia robot

Clarence Pier facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Clarence Pier
Slogan One of the Largest Amusement Parks on the South Coast!
Location Portsmouth, England
Opened 1861
Operating season March to Late October
Total 13 (14 including Golf)
Roller coasters 2
Water rides 1
Southsea Clarence Pier
Clarence Pier.

Clarence Pier is an amusement pier in Portsmouth, Hampshire. It is located next to Southsea Hoverport. Unlike most seaside piers in the UK, the pier does not extend very far out to sea and instead goes along the coast.

The pier was originally constructed and opened in 1861 by the Prince and Princess of Wales and boasted a regular ferry service to the Isle of Wight. It was damaged by air raids during World War II and was reopened in its current form on 1 June 1961 after being rebuilt by local architects A.E. Cogswell & Sons and R. Lewis Reynish.

The main entrance to the pier from the road is via a striking pavilion building with distinctive yellow and blue cladding and a small tower. This originally housed an amusement arcade and cafe although in more recent years, the upper floor has variously been used for "Pirate Pete's" indoor children's playground, a Wimpy bar while the 'Golden Horseshoe' amusement arcade and Coffee Cup (originally a prize bingo hall) remain on the ground floor.

A smaller building, perpendicular but not physically joined to the main pavilion houses another amusement arcade, the "Clarence Pier" (Originally called "Wheel Of Fortune") and some small gift shops. The upper floor was originally used as a public house, but it was later converted into 'Jurassic 3001', a futuristic dinosaur-themed dark ride, which opened in 1995. The ride's exterior featured an animatronic triceratops, whose head protruded from the side of the building and roared occasionally at passers-by. The attraction closed in 2001, yet all ride signage and theming on the building remained until the end of 2011. The upper floor space previously occupied by this ride underwent a conversion to apartments, according to planning publications, in 2012.

A building at the side of the funfair houses an arcade called "Games Wharf" and "The Boat House" (originally another Coffee Cup).

The main funfair operates on a free admission, pay-per-ride token-based system. In the early 1980s, the amusement park was named "Fun Acres" and as well as the whole pier itself, it also took up 3500 sq metres of land or so to the north-west of the northern part of the pier. This part of the park was cleared and redeveloped as another arcade called "Southsea Island Leisure", The Clarence Pier Public House, a crazy golf course and a Premier Inn during the 1990s, therefore the park itself is significantly smaller than it used to be. The old part of the park contained the 56-seat Corbiere Spherical Ferris Wheel and a ghost train among other attractions. The token booths were shaped as mushrooms.

Clarence Pier as viewed from gosport
The pier viewed from gosport
St Clarence Pier Portsmouth June 2018
Clarence Pier Portsmouth June 2018

One of the main landmarks of Clarence Pier until the mid-1990s was the Super Loop ride, since removed. The Ferris wheel was sold and relocated to Pleasureland Southport. One ride which lasted the duration was the Skyways roller coaster which was removed in 2018. A new addition to the pier is a pirate-themed crazy golf course situated behind the Clarence Pier arcade.

"Mind the Baby, Mr. Bean", an episode of British TV comedy series "Mr. Bean" was filmed on location at Clarence Pier (as well as other locations in Southsea) and aired on ITV in 1994. This was prior to the closure of the north-western part of the park and the closure of the Wheel Of Fortune public house. The episode shows the Super Loop, Skyways roller coaster, and many of the park's other attractions from that time. Clarence Pier was also the filming location to the teen pop band, "S Club Juniors" song, "Fool No More" filmed mainly on the dodgems but the rollercoaster, 'Skyways' can also be seen in the video.


     Roller Coasters
     Water Rides
     Dark Rides


Name Opened Manufacturer Description
Music Trip! 2021 Fairmatt A Miami ride. It is on loan from an Independent Operator for the 2021 season.
Super Trooper 2021 PWS Rides A modern take on the classic Paratrooper ride. It is on loan from an Independent Operator for the 2021 season.
Canyon River 2020 SBF Visa Group A small one-drop Log Flume.
Mad Mouse 2019 SBF Visa Group A Cyclon coaster. It is a similar coaster model to the Galaxi Coaster Skyways, which this coaster replaced.
Tidal Wave 2019 SBF Visa Group An MX 611 Spinning Coaster.
Diamond Dodgems 2017 Barbieri a traditional Bumper Cars ride. Up to 1 or 2 people can fit per car. This set previously operated at Presthaven Sands Holiday Camp before being moved to Clarence Pier.
Circus Train 2016 A Juvenile train ride with a locomotive and three carriages. This is the first ride at the pier to be operated via a remote control unit, carried by the person operating the ride.
Flying Dumbos 2015 Kolmax-Plus A flying elephant ride.
Air Balloon Ride 2011 A balloon-themed flying and spinning ride.
Sky Trail/Pier Pressure 2011 Innovative Leisure A High Ropes Course.
Balloon Wheel 2010 a balloon-themed Ferris Wheel ride.
Twister 2004 Sonacase A modern version of a traditional Twister Ride. 3 people can sit per car with a total of 12 cars. The ride was previously owned by an independent operator before being sold to the Pier. Since the 2019 Season, this ride is now enclosed.
Pirate Golf Early 2000s A pirate-themed mini-golf course, it is separate administration from the rest of the park.
Carousel 1998 J.H. Rundle A modern version of a traditional Carousel, which replaced an older set. It was refurbished for the 2019 season.
Waltzer 1982 Maxwell of Scotland A traditional Waltzer, which replaced an older version. It was known as Power Spin 2000 until 2003. Although the signage has changed various times, the ride has been the same model. For the 2019 season, the ride was refurbished with new imagery and LED lights.

Former Attractions

Name First Season Final Season Manufacturer Description
Solent Wheel 2016 2020 Technical Park A 110 ft Ferris Wheel. The wheel contains 24 carriages (including a V.I.P. Carriage) which could sit up to 6 people (V.I.P. carriage could sit up to 4 people). The Wheel was removed in the same year it opened due to the fears that Brent Geese could accidentally fly into it. The Wheel sat at Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach before returning to the pier for the 2018 season and remaining there for the next two years, until September 2020, when it was removed and dismantled after being sold to an independent operator.
Toy Carousel 2016 2019 A mini Carousel ride.
Crazy Slide 2017 2018 An inflatable slide.
Flying Planes 2018 2018 A small Aeroplane ride that moves in a circle, and has a Disney Planes theme. As with Happy Catapilla, it was on loan from an independent operator.
Pirate Castle 2016 2018 An inflatable castle, located under Skytrail. It was removed in 2018.
Happy Catapilla 2018 2018 A Wacky Worm Roller Coaster in place of Skyways after it was sent away to be refurbished and was on loan from an independent operator. In 2019, it was moved on-loan to the nearby South Parade Pier.
Skyways 1980 2017 An S.D.C. Galaxi Roller Coaster which replaced a wooden wild mouse roller coaster. The ride featured in a Mr Bean comedy sketch. The coaster has been dismantled in 2018 and although the ride was thought to return in 2020, the cars for the ride were sold to an independent buyer, who confirmed that the ride would not be returning and the track had been scrapped.
Tea Cups Unknown 2017 A small Teacups ride with 5 cups seating up to four children each. This set underwent a major renovation for the 2016 season with the addition of Disney artwork.
Speedy Gonzales/Speedy Coaster 2011 2017 D.P. V Rides A Junior Coaster themed as the Looney Tunes character Speedy Gonzales. It was removed from the Pier after the 2017 season and was relocated to Ocean Beach Pleasure Park, near Newcastle, where it was it was given a new lick of paint.
Blade Runner 2015/2017 2015/2017 Safeco A Breakdance ride. It was sited at the pier for 2015 on-loan from an independent operator. The ride sat on the pier again for the 2017 season as a replacement for the Solent Wheel. After this, the ride's ownership moved on to an Italian operator, and so it now travels the Italian fairground circuit.
Dodgems 2000 2016 Bertazzon A Dodgems set. one or two people can fit into each car. This set of Dodgems was scrapped in 2016, and a new set replaced these ones.
Flying Kiddie Cars 2015 2015 A spinning car ride which was located next to the Blade Runner breakdance. It was also on-loan from an independent operator who sat this ride in the pier for the 2015 season.
Formula 2000 2002 2015 A small Convoy Ride where a train of cars goes along a small circuit with a bridge. It was removed at the end of the 2015 season to make way for the Solent Wheel.
Swing Tower 2013 2014 AK Rides A mini Vertical Swing ride. Was on loan from an independent operator and currently travels the UK under the name of "Star Flyer".
Extreme Rotor 2011 2013 A.R.M. A Rotor. Currently owned by an independent fairground operator and travels the UK.
Toon Town Express unknown 2012 A small rotating train ride.
Mega Dance 2012 2012 Fabbri Group An Orbiter ride lent to the pier for the 2012 season. It was previously operated at Pleasurewood Hills for a time and was eventually sold to French and Spanish operators after leaving Clarence Pier.
Jets 2010 2011 A mini jet ride with a Buzz Lightyear theme. It was located near Skyways for the 2010 season, and for the 2011 season was located near the Toy Town Train Ride.
Toy Town Train Ride 2010 2011 A train ride with a Disney theme.
Disk-O 2005 2010 Zamperla A Disko Ride. The ride was removed at the end of the 2010 season and the Dodgem track was moved into the spot where the Disk-O was. The ride itself was later exported to Australia as a travelling ride, but has since returned to the UK at Brean Leisure Park where it is currently named as "Jet Spin".
The Cyclone 2007 2009 Moser Rides An Extraordinary Bike ride, where the looping gondolas are controlled by the riders' pedals.
Tri-Star 2009 2009 Fairmatt A Troika (ride) that was formerly located at Thorpe Park for a time, which was sited on the pier on-loan from independent operators for the 2009 season.
Wild River 1998 2009 Reverchon Industries A standard 2-drop Log Flume. The ride was removed at the end of 2009 and became a travelling ride until being moved to Tier Prince Fun Park in 2015, where it currently operates at.
Extreme 2007 2008 Tivoli UK An Orbiter (ride) that was lent to the pier by an independent operator.
Power Tower 2002 2006 Moser Rides A Drop Tower, which was at one point the tallest spring tower ride in Europe.
Paratrooper 1976 2004 Ivan Bennett A traditional Paratrooper (ride). It was removed at the end of the 2004 Season after 28 years and the Twister was moved to where this was. The ride itself is now owned by an independent operator and travels the UK fairground circuit.
The Bounce 2003 2003 Safeco A Jump and Smile ride lent to the pier by the ride's owner for the 2003 season. It was sold to an independent operator in the same year and currently travels the UK fairground circuit.
Grand National 2003 2003 A ride where riders ride on horse themed cars around a guided track.
Wave Rave 1996 2002 K.T. Enterprises A Miami ride. It replaced and was part-exchanged for the Rainbow ride. It was sold to irish operators in 2002, and currently travels on the Dutch fairground circuit as "Party".
It's A Small World 2002 2002 Ronnie Bentley A Dark Ride which took guests through various scenes of different countries around the world. The ride is unrelated to the Disney ride of the same name, it was similar to former The Greatest Show on Earth ride at Blackpool Pleasure Beach and had teacup styled cars. This ride was relocated from Harbour Park.
Dodgems 1993 2001 Lang Wheels A traditional Dodgem track which replaced an earlier set. Was later relocated to Symonds Yat Holiday Park with a newer set taking its place.
Jumping Star 1990's 2001 Zamperla A junior drop tower.
Magic Ring 1990's 2001 Zamperla A juvenile car ride.
Monster Express 1996 2001 Carpenteria 2000 A small Ghost Train. Sold to an independent operator in 2002 (and again in 2014), and currently travels the UK fairground circuit, although it sat at Funland Tropicana for the 2019 season.
Mini Octopus unknown 2001 Minari A junior Octopus ride.
Jungle Train unknown 2001 Falgas A juvenile train ride.
Jurassic 3001 1995 2001 ITAL International A Dark Ride themed on the premise of dinosaurs returning from extinction in the year 3001. (Also referred to as 'Jurassic 3001 A.D.' on ride signage). This was housed on the second floor of the Wheel of Fortune (Now Clarence Pier) arcade. The facade included a robotic triceratops that roared at guests passing by. The ride closed in 2001, but all theming remained on the building until 2012. The vehicles were reused as cars for the Coney Beach Fun Park Ghost Train, while the rest of the ride was sold for scrap. The space where the attraction used to be is now a storage room.
Twister 2001 2001 KT Enterprises A modern version of a traditional Twist (ride). It was on hire from two independent operators for the 2001 season and was later replaced with a near-identical model.
The Big Wheel 1964 2000 Corbiere A 56-seat Corbiere Spherical Ferris Wheel. Built on the north-east area of Clarence Pier, between the Dodgems arena and the Carousel. Sold to a private owner, and later sited at Pleasureland Southport in 2005. The former Big Wheel site was then used for the mini-golf course.
Scrambler 1982 2000 Eli Bridge Company A traditional Twist (ride), it was replaced with a more modern Twister ride. It was sold in 2001 to an Independent operator. Currently, the ride is owned by Richard Cadell, who operates the ride under the name of "The Whirl-A-Round".
Gallopers 1954 1997 Frederick Savage A traditional Gallopers ride. Built on the north-east side of Clarence Pier, between the Big Wheel and the Ghost Train. Replaced in 1998 with a brand new model with a striped canopy, this ride itself replaced an older Gallopers set. This set itself was relocated to Folly Farm in Wales, and remains there to this day.
Ghost Train 1950 1995 Orton & Spooner A traditional ghost train (Dark Ride). Built on the north-east end of Clarence Pier. Removed and replaced with the mini-golf course.
Rainbow 1993 1995 HUSS Park Attractions A Rainbow (ride), previously located at Pleasureland Southport and Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Was part-exchanged for the Wave Rave Miami ride, which replaced it in 1996. What remains of the ride is unknown.
Jets 1966 1993 Lang Wheels A traditional Jets ride, where riders can control the height of their individual jets. Originally built for the Webber Brothers at Ocean Beach, Rhyl.
Meteor 1980 1993 Cadoxton Engineering A traditional Round Up (ride). Relocated to Butlin's Minehead
Orbiter 1988 1993 Tivoli UK An Orbiter (ride), previously located at Ocean Beach, Rhyl. Operated for a couple of seasons on Brighton seafront following its removal from Clarence Pier.
Super Loop 1984 1990s Larson International An imported Super Loops (Fire Ball ride.
Astro Glide 1970's 1993 Bennett A giant slide.
Tip Top 1993 1993 Tivoli UK A Tip Top/Force 10 ride. Operated on Brighton seafront for a couple of seasons following its removal. Currently travels the U.K. fairground circuit.
Topsy Turvey 1987 1993 Reverchon A Matterhorn (ride), previously located at Botton's Pleasure Beach Skegness. Upon leaving the park, the ride spent the 1994 season at Tramore Amusement Park in Ireland, followed by 2 seasons on Brighton seafront. The ride now travels in the U.K. fairground circuit.
Dodgems c.1950s 1992 A traditional Dodgem track Built on the north-central area of Clarence Pier, between the Slide (later, the Meteor) and the Big Wheel. Removed and replaced with the Premier Inn hotel. Replaced with a different track in 1993.
Santa Maria 1985 1988 Anton Schwarzkopf A rare Santa Maria ride - Schwarzkopf's version of a Pirate Ship (ride). Operated previously in Germany.
Lightning Swirl 1948 1987 R.J. Lakin A traditional Swirl/Skid ride, where riders control the spin of their car using a pedal. The ride was scrapped at the end of 1987 due to its age.
Satellite 1983 Chance Rides A traditional Trabant/Satellite ride with basic decoration, imported from the U.S.A.
Walt's Waltzer 1964 1981 Maxwell A traditional Waltzer ride, replacing an earlier version and itself being replaced with a newer model. The ride later appeared at Ramsgate Amusement Park, Cosgrove Park (Milton Keynes) and since 2011 has been sited at New Brighton, Merseyside.
Steam Yachts 1979 William Cartwright A traditional Steam Yachts ride, originally built in 1888.
Wild Mouse 1960 1979 Maxwell & Sons A steel hybrid Wild Mouse roller coaster. Was moved to Funland (Hayling Island) at the end of 1979, and was replaced with "Skyways". Parts of the ride were later used to construct David Pickstone's Wild Mouse at Brean Leisure Park in 1989.
Coronation Ark 1944 1978 R.J. Lakin A traditional Ark ride, originally built in 1937. Was relocated to Joyland Arcade in Bridlington, where it operated only briefly.
Rodeo Switchback 1947 1972 Frederick Savage A traditional Gondola Switchback, originally built around 1880. The ride was later sold to Six Flags Great Adventure in the U.S.A., before being re-imported in 1982. The ride is now preserved at Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre.
Calypso 1965 1970 Lang Wheels A Calypso ride, originally built for showman Side Stocks in 1961. Upon leaving the park the ride went back onto the travelling fair circuit. It was later scrapped.
Moonrocket 1962 1960s R.J. Lakin & Maxwell The third of three Moonrocket rides to operate at the park. The ride previously operated under the ownership of Gordon Codona at Redcar Amusement Park, and the Webber Brothers at Ocean Beach, Rhyl. The ride was for sale in 1968, and presumably scrapped.
Octopus 1961 Lusse A traditional Octopus ride. An identical model of the same ride type operated at the park until 1950.
Rotor 1960 1968 (Rebuilt by Maxwell) A traditional Rotor (sticky wall) ride, thought to originate from mainland Europe, and refitted by Scottish firm Maxwell. The ride was listed for sale in 1969.
Whirlaround 1959 1965 Edwin Hall A traditional Twist (ride) - the first of its type in the U.K. It was sold to travelling showman Bernard Cole in 1966, and then later to Jimmy Rogers. More modern models of the same ride type would operate at the park years later.
Chair-O-Plane 1940s 1964 (German) A traditional Chair-O-Plane ride, replacing a similar model in either 1947 or 1948.
Walt's Waltzer 1959 1963 Maxwell The first of three Waltzer rides to operate at the park. The ride was named after its owner Walter Shufflebottom. The ride went on to have a long career, with spells at Butlin's Pwllheli, Clacton Pier, Canvey Island Amusement Park and Killarney Springs. It was scrapped in October 2007.
Devil's Chute 1951 1959 Orton & Spooner An early version of a Wooden Wild Mouse roller coaster. Was replaced by the "Wild Mouse" in 1960.

Ferris wheel proposals

The Solent Eye Ferris wheel was proposed by Billy Manning Ltd for Clarence Pier in 2007. On 17 October, permission for a 130-foot tall (40 m) wheel was granted, but two days later it was revealed that Portsmouth City Councillors wished the wheel was bigger. As a result, the original plans, which were for a 180-foot tall (55 m) wheel, were revived and conditional planning permission subsequently granted on 19 December 2007. It was expected to cost £2 million. The plans were scrapped because the wheel was too large.

In 2015, a revived plan for a 110 ft wheel was sent. It was approved and opened in Easter 2016. Despite the popularity of the wheel, it was confirmed in September 2016 that the Solent Wheel will be taken down and sent elsewhere, which was later revealed to be Ireland. In March 2017, Clarence Pier's website was updated to say that the wheel would return in 2018, which it did. The wheel returned for the 2019 and 2020 seasons, until it was confirmed on August 27th, 2020 that the wheel will not return for the 2021 season, and will close for the final time on the 27th of September.

Women's History Month on Kiddle
Women Scientists of Antiquity
Mary the Jewess
kids search engine
Clarence Pier Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.