Southend is well-known for its record-breaking pier, award-winning amusement park and busy beaches.

However, many of the thousands of people who visit our city may be unaware of its picturesque twin town in Poland with several surprising similarities to Southend.

Echo: Pride of Sopot - the wooden pierPride of Sopot - the wooden pier (Image: Pixabay)

Sopot, situated in the north of the country on the Baltic coast, has been Southend's twin town since October 1999 and, like the Essex city, is known for its wonderful hotels, beaches, pubs and restaurants that make it an attractive spot for summer holidays.

Strikingly, it is also known for its historic pier which is the pride of the town - and the longest wooden pier in Europe.

At 511.5 metres, Sopot pier  - called "molo" in Polish - is not quite as long as Southend's, which extends 1.33 miles into the Thames Estuary and is famous for being the longest pleasure pier in the world.

Echo: Aerial image of picturesque SopotAerial image of picturesque Sopot (Image: Pixabay)

Surrounded by a large forest to the west and Gdansk Gulf to the east, Sopot is also well-connected to Poland's capital with Warsaw being just more than two hours away by train.

Perhaps the most remarkable coincidence, Sopot, which has been dubbed the Polish Riviera, also has its own crooked house. The unusually shaped building, named Krzywy Domek, is part of the Rezydent shopping centre and was inspired by fairy tale illustrations.

The Crooked House in Southend is the oldest attraction at Adventure Island and still as popular as it was decades ago when the theme park was known as Peter Pan's.

Echo: Sopot boasts Europe's longest wooden pierSopot boasts Europe's longest wooden pier (Image: Canva)

Over the years, the relationship between Southend and Sopot has continually been strengthened.

Twinning signs were put up at the gateway to Southend on the A127 in 2001 to declare the link between the two seaside towns two years after they were twinned.

Youngsters from the twin town visited the borough to discover its highlights first hand in a special visit in 2010 and its deputy mayor and civic dignitaries have regularly visited the city, stopping off at Roots Hall, Chase High School and the University of Essex site in the past.