If you’re contemplating visiting Weston’s SEE MONSTER but aren’t sure what to expect and whether it’s worth a trip here, then you’re in the right place!
A bonkers amount of time went into researching this article, to make sure that it is as useful as possible and will hopefully answer the questions you might have too, like:
- What is the point of See Monster?
- What is there to do once I get here? and
- How do I get a ticket?
But all the effort felt totally worthwhile when the creators of SEE Monster emailed me to say;-
IT’S AMAZING! Wonderful piece of work, by far the most in-depth review we have had, and so useful for those who don’t really understand what it’s really all about.UNBOXED
Thank you to Visit Weston-super-Mare and Unboxed for inviting us along and showing us around. I’ll also share our recommendations for some of the other family-friendly attractions in Weston here too.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WESTON’S SEE MONSTER!
SEE MONSTER is a retired offshore gas platform. She has been painstakingly transported to Weston-super-Mare’s former Tropicana Lido and transformed into one of the UK’s largest public art installations.
OK, but this raises a few questions:-
- Why has a 35-metre-high, decommissioned rig, been transported from the north sea to the site of a 1930s lido in North Somerset?
- What is there to see when I get there?
- Is SEE MONSTER worth a visit – and if so, how do I get a ticket?
In this article, I’ll address these questions – and many others you may have!
Check out the table of contents below if you want to skip to something specific, otherwise, just read on!
WHY IS SEA MONSTER AT WESTON-SUPER-MARE?
With the support of North Somerset Council, this repurposed rusty metal rig has been brought here to make us think.
At the moment she’s making us consider:-
- Recycling and reusing waste:
- How a structure from the past can be transformed into something new.
- How on earth this giant will be disposed of once her work here is done!
- The weather:
- SEE MONSTER offers an immersive experience of the weather.
- We can see in practice how the elements are being harnessed and transformed into energy: power generated by installations on the rig is being used to power elements of the rig itself.
- The impact of the weather is seen and heard as the wind moves through the installations and garden. (This is intended to prompt discussion about the science behind the great British weather and how it can support a sustainable future.)
CAN YOU GO ON WESTON’S SEE MONSTER?
Weather permitting, you can go to the top of See Monster. A lift is available for those with limited mobility.
You can also get a good view from the viewing platform, if ascending is not an option.
WHAT CAN I SEE AT THE SEE MONSTER ATTRACTION?
SEE MONSTER is the latest temporary tourist attraction to be housed at The Tropicana in Weston.
(The last time we came here was to visit Banksy’s Dismaland, a “sinister twist on Disneyland”, which attracted around 150,000 visitors to Weston.
SEE MONSTER features four publicly-accessible levels:-
- This is where you can get your first view of SEE MONSTER Weston Super Mare in its entirety.
- You’ll also see the giant ten-metre waterfall which cascades at 2,700 cubic metres of water per hour and continually recirculates through the water pools at its base.
- Facing SEE MONSTER is a digital broadcasting space which also hosts workshops for local school children and youth groups.
- You’ll find the wheelchair viewing deck on this level, from where you can get a great view without going up onto the platform.
- As you journey up around the outside of the platform, you can see and touch the monster’s aluminium scales which were designed to move and shimmer in the wind.
- On the cellar deck, you’ll see the ten-metre cloud portal which comes to life several times an hour: a playful installation which emulates this common feature of the British weather!
- The Garden Lab level features plants, grasses, nine-metre-high trees and flowers, all selected to be resilient to the challenges of seaside weather.
- The flora is interspersed with examples of design-led renewable technologies
- The WindNest, designed by artist Trevor Lee, comprises two rotating airborne pods, which generate wind and solar energy that powers the Garden Lab irrigation system.
- Energy from the Solar Tree‘s 336 solar cells, is being collected and stored in a battery for future use.
- You’ve reached the top! Enjoy the unrivalled views out to sea and inland from the helideck. You can use the telescopes for an even better view!
- The amphitheatre is a great spot to catch your breath and take in the sights, while the shipping forecast plays in the background.
- A ten-metre curvy metal slide offers a fun, alternative route back down to the Garden Lab below!
WHAT CAN I DO AT SEA MONSTER?
- As you approach, you can see and hear the roar of the giant 10-metre cascading waterfall.
- Lift your gaze higher and watch the 6,000-piece monster’s scales shimmer in the breeze.
- Journey up into the beast and mess about in the cloud portal
- Touch the silvery scales that wrap around SEE MONSTER
- Marvel at how the plants in the Garden Lab manage to survive the Weston super Mare weather!
- Be mesmerised by the therapeutic movements of the kinetic wind sculptures
- Check out the artist-designed, solar tree and wind nest and contemplate renewable energy possibilities.
- Venture up to the HeliDeck and see how many landmarks you can spot from the rig’s highest point.
- Enjoy a well-earned breather in the seated amphitheatre.
- See if you can see even further into the distance using the telescopes on the top level.
- Take a fun ride part way back down the monster on the metal tube slide.
- Watch her adorn her evening look as SEE MONSTER is illuminated for the evening.
WHAT CAN I SEE FROM THE TOP OF THE SEA MONSTER?
There are amazing views from the top of SEE MONSTER.
We visited on a clear October morning and were rewarded with fabulous views over Weston-super-Mare town and beach. The Grand Pier and Birnbeck Pier were clearly visible. You could see right across to the Somerset hills in one direction and beyond Steepholm and Flatholm, we could make out Wales in the other.
Revo Kitchen, where we dined later that evening, is right next door to the monster on Weston beach and is the perfect vantage point to take in the views of the illuminated SEE MONSTER, while enjoying your evening meal.
DO YOU HAVE TO PAY TO VISIT WESTON’S SEE MONSTER?
No, it’s free to enter and free to go up onto the See Monster.
Looking for other money-saving family outings?
Then check out this article next:-
Fab FREE Things to do in Bristol & North Somerset
WHAT ARE SEE MONSTER OPENING TIMES?
SEE MONSTER will be open daily from 9 am – 9 pm. The last entry will be at 8 pm
HOW DO I GET TICKETS TO VISIT WESTON’S SEE MONSTER?
You don’t need a ticket to enter – just turn up!
DO I NEED TO BOOK FOR SEE MONSTER?
There’s no need to book, but remember it’s an outdoor installation, so visiting is weather-dependent. Check the SEE MONSTER website and social media channels for updates before travelling
HOW LONG WILL SEE MONSTER BE IN WESTON SUPER MARE?
Sea monster Weston super Mare update:
Her stay has just been extended an extra couple of weeks so she will now be at home to visitors until 20th November 2022.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO SEE MONSTER AFTERWARDS?
After the attraction closes, the metal from the rig will be reused or recycled.
The Garden Lab plants, grasses and trees which were selected to be resilient to salty breezes and Atlantic gales will be donated to North Somerset at the end of SEE MONSTER’s life. The plants will be repurposed around Weston.
WHERE IS SEE MONSTER LOCATED?
The sea monster is at The Tropicana on Weston-super-Mare seafront which is a few miles down the coast from Portishead and Clevedon and near the city of Bristol.
See Monster Address: Tropicana, Marine Parade, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1BG, United Kingdom
HOW CAN I GET TO THE TROPICANA?
Great Western Railway run direct high-speed and regional train services to Weston-super-Mare station from Bristol, London, Taunton, Exeter, Cardiff and beyond, from where it’s just a 15-minute walk to the SEE MONSTER.
First Bus operates a number of services across the West of England to get you to SEE MONSTER.
I noticed that there are some bike racks in front of The Tropicana which could be handy if cycling to See Monster is an option for you.
There’s some chargeable seafront car parking on the road opposite the Tropicana, plus disabled parking and a drop-off point outside the venue.
I CAN’T GET TO WESTON. IS THERE A VIRTUAL TOUR?
Yes, there’s a virtual tour with an audio guide.
The 360 Virtual Tour has been brought to life by 3Deep Media. Using specialist camera equipment, they captured both aerial and ground-based 360-degree photography of the structure in its entirety, during daytime, sunset, and after nightfall. With written and audio descriptions of SEE MONSTER, combined with factual films and virtual learning tools, this experience aims to inform, educate and inspire.
SEE MONSTER HANDY INFO & TOP TIPS FOR VISITING
- There are plenty of steps to climb to reach the top, and the ground may well be wet, so remember to wear appropriate shoes.
- Don’t bring your pet pooch – only working dogs are allowed.
- If you can’t do heights, take advantage of the ground-level viewing platform where you can still get a great, close-up view.
- Go early to avoid the rush. We went at around 10.30 am during the busy half-term week and there was no queue to speak of. By the time we left an hour later, the queue had built nicely!
- Be prepared for carrying or hand-holding your little ones, as buggies aren’t allowed up See Monster. Pushchairs can be left in a dedicated location.
- Mobility scooters aren’t allowed up and may be left in a dedicated location.
- Wheelchairs are allowed on the platform. If you need to borrow a wheelchair please ask the team who can lend them subject to availability.
- There’s a lift available for people with mobility access needs.
- There’s not a great deal of signage when you get onto SEE MONSTER so if you’d like to learn more about it, you can listen to this audio tour before you go.
SEE MONSTER WESTON SUPER MARE FUN FACTS
- SEE MONSTER is one of the UK’s largest ever public art installations
- This is the first time in the world that an offshore platform has been transformed in this way and offers a blueprint for the reuse of industrial structures
- SEE MONSTER is 35 metres tall – 15 metres taller than the Angel of the North and just 11 metres shy of Nelson’s Column. The monster is so big, it had to be transported by sea on a barge as large as a football pitch
- She weighs 450 tonnes – the same as three blue whales or 65 African elephants!
- The WindNest generates clean energy through wind and solar technology, demonstrating that energy can be produced both sustainably AND beautifully
- SEE MONSTER is part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK. From inception to installation this world-first project is one of the most challenging and ambitious design feats to be undertaken in the United Kingdom.
IS WESTON’S MONSTER WORTH A VISIT? THE VERDICT
We spent an enjoyable hour or so at SEE MONSTER.
The panoramic views at the top are spectacular. We were lucky enough to visit on a bright sunny day so we were rewarded with clear, far-reaching views.
The intentions and educational lessons surrounding Weston’s SEE MONSTER are admirable but the messaging around this on the platform is sparse. I’ve included as much useful information as possible in this article, so make sure you bookmark or pin this and re-read it later. And also check out the SEE MONSTER website before you visit.
See Monster offers an interesting and unusual family day out with an educational slant. The vibe is relaxed and happy and everyone just seems to be enjoying wandering around the attraction.
We would definitely recommend a visit before this free attraction closes later in November.
OTHER THINGS TO DO IN WESTON SUPER MARE WITH KIDS
A visit to this Victorian seaside town wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Weston beach. The two-mile-long sandy beach on the Somerset coast is the perfect place for making sand castles, enjoying a traditional donkey ride and eating fish and chips or an ice cream.
The Marine Lake, Grand Pier and Water Park are welcome facilities as Somerset’s huge tidal range (the second highest in the world) means that when the tide goes out, it goes out a long way!
Fortunately the Marine Lake, which has just been renovated in 2022, is a great place for paddling and sea water swimming. It has its own sandy beach and every day the water is replenished by the natural tides.
SEAFRONT WATER AND ADVENTURE PLAYPARK:
The seafront adventure park is open year round. The water park is seasonal and boasts fun splash jets and other water features. My boys loved coming here when they were little and the cafe and seating make it pleasant for the grown ups too.
The adventure playground is free to enter, with a reasonable charge per child when the water features are in operation. Adults accompanying children enter free of charge.
THE GRAND PIER:
Originally completed in 1904, the Grand Pier reopened in 2010 following a £51 million restoration. Weston pier is the place to go if you’re after the hustle and bustle of amusements, arcade favourites and rides, including go-karting, dodgems or even Britain’s smallest rollercoaster ride!
Check out my Grand Pier Teen Party Review for a great view of the rides on offer and to see how much a bunch of teens and tweens can make the absolute most of unlimited-rides-wristbands!
CLIP N CLIMB:
Our three boys had a brilliant time at Clip ‘n Climb in Dolphin Square. I wasn’t sure that the indoor climbing activity would be challenging enough to be of interest to my 14 to 18 year old teens, but how wrong could I be? There was loads of friendly competition at the south west’s highest indoor climbing wall and the staff were absolutely brilliant – offering the boys insider tips, so they could race up the walls faster and continue to beat their own times! Let’s just say that there aren’t many wholesome activities that leave all three teenage boys so animated and engaged. Higly recommended. (no pun intended!).
Weston Museum is free to enter. The Museum spans pre-history to Weston today. We enjoyed visiting “Clara’s Cottage” a real dwelling, set in the museum grounds, which shows you what it was like to live in Weston were like back in the 1900s.
OTHER FAMILY ATTRACTIONS IN THE AREA
PIN THIS SEE MONSTER ARTICLE FOR LATER
Have you visited Weston’s See Monster? Let me know what you think of it or whether you’d like to visit in the comments below!
DISCLOSURE: WE WERE HOSTED BY VISIT WESTON SUPER MARE AND UNBOXED FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS REVIEW. ALL OPINIONS ARE MY/OUR OWN AND I CONTAIN FULL EDITORIAL CONTROL. THIS ARTICLE MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS.