Tropicana, Weston-super-Mare

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The Tropicana, formerly a Lido site that once contained an outdoor swimming pool, is located in the seaside town of Weston-super-Mare in North Somerset, England. It is located on the Bristol Channel coast, on the southern section of the seafront.[1]

The iconic seafront landmark re-opened in 2015 following fifteen years of closure, with the creation of the Bay Café - a modern and vibrant licensed café and lounge.

The venue now offers multi-use indoor and outdoor event space, with capacities suitable of accommodating a diverse range of events including corporate, charity, exhibitions, music, arts and culture events.[2]


The site was first developed as a 950 square metres (10,200 sq ft)[3] swimming pool in 1937 and included an art deco diving board.[4][5] At the time it had the highest diving board and was the largest open air swimming pool in Europe.[6] When it was opened it was simply known as "The Pool", becoming branded as Tropicana in 1983.[7] The reinforced concrete diving board was demolished in 1982.[8] As part of the rebranding, features such as slides, a wave machine were introduced. The Tropicana had enormous fruits as a feature and adopted the tag line, "It's fun and fruity. It's wet and wild".[citation needed] It remained a popular attraction for many years.

Redevelopment plans[edit]

The wall facing the sea

In 2000, the Tropicana closed. Subsequently, a number of unsuccessful attempts were made to redevelop or re-open the facility.

In 2003, North Somerset Council granted planning permission for a new pool to be developed by Mace Estates; however in 2004 Mace withdrew.[9][10]

In 2005, Henry Boot PLC was chosen as the developer, but the recession of 2008 onwards caused them to pull out.[11][12]

In early 2011, developer Richard Nightingale withdrew following a dispute with the council over his plans for the site.[13]

In August 2011, the council announced it was giving developers one last chance to rebuild the old complex which by then had been shut for 11 years.[14] But it was announced in November 2011 that a working group had made a recommendation to the council to demolish the Tropicana.[15] In August 2012, it was announced that the council had been given approval by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to demolish the pool on the sea front and for the land to be cleared and returned to beach with a new sea wall.

In February 2013, the council granted planning permission to a consortium of local businesses, Trop Ltd, who intended to build a new swimming pool complex on the site.[16][17] As the land owner, however, the council has not yet given Trop Ltd permission to build on the site.

During 2015, as part of the works to make the building safe (and clean the facade) The Bay Cafe opened in the front section of the old building.


The Dismaland art installation

In August 2015 it was announced that Dismaland, an art installation, would be curated at the Tropicana by the artist Banksy.[18] The "sinister twist on Disneyland" opened during the weekend of 21 August 2015 and ran until 27 September 2015, attracting 150,000 visitors from all over the world and generating an estimated £20m in extra revenue for the town.[19]


In November 2015 it was announced that the council would be spending a further £550,000 bringing the site into safe usage and in partnership with local arts development charity The Theatre Orchard, was opening "Tropicana Theatre" with seasonal events over December and January with a view to running regular events in the future.[20] A consultation process was launched on 9 March 2016 with the engagement of local and regional artists, producers and residents, headed up by Wayne Hemingway.

The renaissance of the Tropicana continues as it's transformed into a pop-up amusement park 'Funland' during the summer of 2016.[21]

Since 2016, the Tropicana has become available to hire out as an event venue - it hosts a diverse programme of entertainment including live music, theatre, comedy, funfairs and circus by the sea.


  1. ^ "Weston Hildesheim Exchange". Weston-super-Mare People. 4 September 2009. Retrieved 1 April 2010.
  2. ^ "Weston-super-Mare Tropicana demolition". Bristol Evening Post. This is Bristol. 18 August 2009. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  3. ^ "Planning Application — Tropicana". Weston Mercury. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  4. ^ Merrington, Oliver. "The diving board, Weston-super-Mare lido, 1937". Flikr. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  5. ^ "The History of the Tropicana in Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset". Western Mercury. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  6. ^ "Proposed redevelopment of Tropicana" (PDF). Havard Tisdale. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  7. ^ "Derelict Tropicana costs North Somerset Council £121,890". BBC. 18 March 2011. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  8. ^ Gray, Fred (2006). Designing the seaside: architecture, society and nature. Reaktion Books. pp. 191–192. ISBN 978-1-86189-274-4.
  9. ^ "Tropicana – the facts". North Somerset Council. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  10. ^ "It's over! Tropicana dream dies — again". Weston Mercury. 17 March 2011. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  11. ^ "Weston-super-Mare's Tropicana revamp bid fails again". BBC. 17 March 2011. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  12. ^ "Weston Tropicana scheme in doubt". This is Bristol. 9 March 2009. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  13. ^ "Developer withdraws bid for Weston's Tropicana pool". BBC. 20 January 2011. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  14. ^ "Weston Tropicana could be demolished by spring". ITV The West Tonight News. 23 August 2011.
  15. ^ "Working party supports plan to demolish Tropicana". BBC. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
  16. ^ "Plans for Tropicana in Weston-super-Mare given green light". BBC News. 21 February 2013. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  17. ^ "Plans for Tropicana in Weston recommended for approval". BBC News. 14 February 2013. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  18. ^ "Banksy Dismaland show revealed at Weston's Tropicana". BBC News. 20 August 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  19. ^ "Dismaland closure leaves Banksy-shaped hole in Weston-super-Mare". The Guardian. 25 September 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  20. ^ "North Somerset Council Announces Theatre Shows for Tropicana". North Somerset Council.
  21. ^ Pickstock, H. (10 March 2016). "Leading designer appointed to draw up proposals for regeneration of Tropicana". Bristol Post. Retrieved 12 March 2016.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°20′27″N 2°58′58″W / 51.3409°N 2.9828°W / 51.3409; -2.9828