Sitting by the shore of Weston Super Mare, situated in the old lido, is a monster. But this isn’t a beast lurking in the Bristol Channel – it’s a 450-tonne North Sea offshore platform that’s been revamped and regenerated into a unique art installation.
The SEE Monster was unveiled on 23rd September and will stay in place until 20th November (it was originally 5th November, but it’s been extended!).
The offshore platform incorporates the rusty metal structure with greenery, offering a unique fusion of nature within architecture.
It aims to provoke a valuable conversation about how waste is disposed of and demonstrate how science, technology and art can come together to create valuable exhibitions.
Things to do at the See Monster
Check out the viewing platform
Walk through the visitor centre and head to the viewing platform. Here, you can read a few facts about the installation and take some incredible photos!
See the ten foot high waterfall
One of the marvels of See Monster – and one of the ways that it replicates the natural environment – is its ten foot by ten foot waterfall, with 2700m³ of water falling each hour. This is usually always on, apart from in high wind!
Travel around the See Monster
Of course, the main highlight of See Monster is ascending up it itself! From the ground floor, you can walk into the belly of the beast and take the stairs up to the first platform.
If you’re not able to walk up the stairs, there is a lift.
By ascending, either on foot or by the lift, you’ll get a sense of how enormous this offshore platform really is – and it raises some very thought-provoking questions about what happens to these offshore platforms and how they can be reused and recycled.
Experience the cloud phenomenon
Another way that See Monster engages with natural weather is by having cloud simulators on the first floor.
This happens 10 times per hour, so if they’re not on when you approach the first floor, just hang out for a few minutes!
Enjoy the plants
Unless you’re an engineer, it’s rare that you’ll climb on board a North Sea offshore plaform. It’s even rarer that the platform will be covered in plants!
In fact, in this respect, See Monster is a world-first.
A lovely green space has been created on this platform, with plenty of space to sit and enjoy nature. It reminded me a little of the Chelsea High Line in New York!
Head up to the top deck and take in the views
Walk or take the lift to the top deck, where there are sweeping views of the beach and over to Uphill, to Steep Holm Island, the beginning of the Mendip Hills and the town.
It’s a great place for photos!
Slide back down!
You don’t have to take the slide back down – the stairs or lift is available too – but if you fancy, take the plunge and slide back to the first floor!
I took this option, and it was pretty adrenaline-boosting – a little fast, but good fun! It’s suitable for adults and children over five.
Snap a photo on the way out
If you haven’t taken a photo yet, make sure you get one on the way out! My favourite place to take a photo was just infront of the toilets, where I got this beauty:
Witness See Monster at night
At night time, See Monster looks completely different.
The legs of the beast start glowing and, before too long, the entire structure is lit up.
If you’re spending a day in Weston, head back to the See Monster in the evening to check out the phenomenon! I recommend dinner at Revo so you can see it from the platform.
Accessibility at the See Monster
The See Monster has worked directly with Dr Amit Patel, a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Consultant and disability rights campaigner.
He advised the following be installed into See Monster:
- Step-free access, with ramps and lifts
- On-site wheelchairs for people who may need them
- Accessible toilets
- Quiet sessions
- BSL sessions
- Audio guides
Sustainability at See Monster
See Monster aims to help people have open conversations about sustainability.
Not only does the project breathe new life into an offshore platform, but its solar and wind panels make it a self-sufficient installation.
Visiting it certainly made me think that, if See Monster manages to be self-sufficient in this way, can’t more buildings and installations do the same?
After 20th November, the platform will be dismantled, the metal recycled and the flora planted in various locations in the town.
Where is the See Monster?
The See Monster is located in Tropicana Weston, the historic lido of the town.
From one site, there are epic views over Weston Super Mare beach, and on the other, excellent vistas of the town.
Visiting information at the See Monster
The See Monster is completely free to visit, and no booking is required.
It’s open from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm every day (last entry is at 8:00 pm).
I’d recommend visiting as close to 10 as possible – we left at about 11 and there was already an hour-long queue (although this was on Friday in half term).
I’d also recommend checking the weather forecast before heading to the See Monster, as it can close in strong winds.
As mentioned, See Monster is only in Weston for a short period of time – get there before 20th November to see it in all its glory!
Other things to do in Weston Super Mare
Don’t forget to spend some time in Weston Super Mare and to see some of the attractions while you’re here!
Highlights of the town include:
- Weston pier, which dates back to 1904 and has a huge undercover amusements area with rides and games
- the street art around the town
- Weston Museum, a fantastic free exhibition about life and history in the town – plus, don’t miss Clara’s Cottage which is a house frozen in time since 1901!
- Clip n Climb, the highest selection of climbing walls in the southwest
- the two-mile-long Weston Beach and Uphill Beach at the end
- the Mendip Hills which sit just to the southeast of the town
Where to stay near See Monster
See Monster is certainly a one-of-a-kind installment, and I found that it posed some interesting questions about recycling and harmonising with nature.
As it’s completely free to visit, it’s ideal if you’re looking for budget-friendly things to do in the South West!