Plans had first been discussed for a pier at Sandown in the early 1860s, although construction of the pier did not take place until 1876. Due to financial difficulties a further three years passed until the pier was open to the public. In 1887 a new pier company called The Sandown Pier Extension Company, owned by Island MP Richard Webster purchased the pier and immediately started planning further improvements to the structure. The extended Sandown Pier opened on 17 September 1895 reaching its current length of 265 metres (875 feet) with a new pavilion and steamer landing stage at the head. A regatta was held to officially mark the event.
During World War I Richard Webster died and after the war ended, Sandown Pier was sold to the Sandown Urban District Council for £2,500. In 1933 the pier was again extended with the construction of a new 1,000 seat pavilion at the shoreward end, with the original pavilion being converted for use as a Ballroom. In 1940 during World War II Sandown Pier, along with many others on the south and east coasts of Britain, was sectioned as a defence measure for fear of a German invasion. As a result of this, there was often a lack of proper maintenance causing the isolated seaward section and the landing stage to deteriorate badly.>
After the war, the pier was repaired and became popular once again. In 1954 the landing stage was redeveloped with construction of a concrete two-tier replacement that could facilitate landings at any stage of the tide, and during the late 1950s a direct passenger service with Portsmouth was established. In 1965 the pier became part of a royal visit when the Queen and Prince Philip attended a ceremony at the pavilion before departing in the Royal Barge from the pier head.
In 1968 there was major redevelopment to the entire pier structure. The pavilion at the seaward end was demolished and the shoreward end was redeveloped. At the same time major structural work was carried out with many of the iron piles being replaced in concrete and much of the decking being renewed. On 22 July 1973 the pier was officially reopened by Lord Mountbatten. In 1986 the pier was purchased by Sandown Pier Ltd with the provision that the theatre be leased back to the South Wight Council for a ten-year period. A further £500,000 of refurbishment was carried out before the theatre was let out.
In August 1989 a fire caused £2,000,000 worth of damage to the pier but after substantial repairs it was re-opened in June of the following year. The theatre finally closed in the 1990s to be replaced with a bowling alley and golf course.
The pier has a range of indoor amenities at the landward end, and an outdoor funfair and landing stage at the seaward end. There are cafes, a children's play area, an amusement arcade, bowling and an indoor crazy golf course.
- "English Seaside Piers - Culver Pier, Sandown, Isle of Wight". The Heritage Trail. Retrieved 2009-08-15.