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48 Hours in... Bournemouth

PUBLISHED: 12:00 25 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:48 20 February 2013

48 Hours in... Bournemouth

48 Hours in... Bournemouth

James Kingston explores this Mediterranean-style lounging place on the English Channel that seduced Tolkien and Beardsley with its fragrant pine-scented air

48 Hours in... Bournemouth


James Kingston explores this Mediterranean-style lounging place on the English Channel that seduced Tolkien and Beardsley with its fragrant pine-scented air


This September, it will be 200 years since Lewis Tregonwell bought a plot of land near the coast, above the Bourne Stream. Little did he know, as he was about to build the first house in Bournemouth, that this would become the South Coasts premier holiday resort which Thomas Hardy would later describe as a Mediterranean lounging place on the English Channel. As Bournemouth developed, its pine trees and sea air attracted many, including JRR Tolkien, who came for some peace and quiet, and Aubrey Beardsley who came for his health. The intoxicating scent of pines still fills the air, but its the flower-filled gardens, superb entertainment venues and outstanding range of shops, that attract most visitors to this lovely town.


Stroll around the town
Start at the Pier Approach, with its views along miles of golden beaches from Hengistbury Head in the east to Old Harry Rocks in the west. At Bournemouths Oceanarium (open 10am-5pm, 01202 311993), on the Pier Approach, you will be dazzled by shoals of brightly coloured fish as well as the real denizens of the deep, such as the blacktip reef shark, swimming above your head. It even has an Interactive Dive Cage, which brings you nose to nose with a great white shark before youre swallowed by a blue whale!
From here, stroll through the Lower Gardens towards Bournemouth Square passing the Bournemouth Eye a huge tethered balloon with a suspended viewing platform finally arriving at the pedestrianised Square.
Bournemouths centre spreads out in all directions from the Square. Old-established family stores like Dingles and Beales are complemented by smaller independent retailers and funky boutiques with cool clothing for college students and fashion-conscious teenagers, as well as leading national high street names. In tree-lined Westover Road, known as Bournemouths Bond Street, youll find classic clothes shops, jewellers, specialist mens tailors
and two cinemas.


Things to do
If you have some experience of riding a wave or two, then join the dudes enjoying the surf produced by the new artificial surf reef off Boscombe Pier. Officially opened last autumn, it is already proving popular with the surf crowd, and the Sorted Surf School in The Overstrand building on the promenade offers lessons in surfing and the latest trend, stand-up paddling, to groups, individuals and youngsters.
Not too far west along the Undercliff from Bournemouth is Alum Chine where you will find the Tropical Gardens filled with exotic and unusual plants taking advantage of the mild microclimate along the south-facing cliffs. You can get a descriptive leaflet from the Bowling Club at the top of the gardens.


Three things to take home
Consider taking home a piece of art from the Light and Shade exhibition, currently on at the Russell-Cotes Museum and Art Gallery. The museum shop sells specific items linked to current exhibitions, including Kathryn Arbons beautiful collection of handmade jewellery (including her range of Silver Swallow jewellery); ceramic pieces and wall plaques by Rosemarie James, and atmospheric paintings of coastal scenery by Graham Towler. (Open Tuesday to Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday from 10am-5pm. Free entry. www.russell-cotes.bournemouth.gov.uk or call 01202 451858).
Down on Boscombe seafront, at The Overstrand on Undercliff Drive, the Urban Reef Deli offers delicious local goodies from around the South West as well as scrummy home-baked cakes from its in-house bakery. Take home a piece of their heavenly chunky chocolate cake or a seasonal muffin, and for those seeking a healthier option why not try their homemade granola. Much of the Deli produce also ends up on the menu of the Urban Reef restaurant next door, which is a lovely spot to linger with a cappuccino as you watch the dudes catch a wave. (Until 28 March open Mon-Sat from 9am-11pm and Sun 9am-6pm; from 29 March open Mon-Sun from 8am to 11pm. Contact 01202 443960).
At the Cove Shop at the Oceanarium on Pier Approach you can find cuddly versions of many of their residents, including Friday and Crusoe the green sea turtles.

This September, it will be 200 years since Lewis Tregonwell bought a plot of land near the coast, above the Bourne Stream. Little did he know, as he was about to build the first house in Bournemouth, that this would become the South Coasts premier holiday resort which Thomas Hardy would later describe as a Mediterranean lounging place on the English Channel. As Bournemouth developed, its pine trees and sea air attracted many, including JRR Tolkien, who came for some peace and quiet, and Aubrey Beardsley who came for his health. The intoxicating scent of pines still fills the air, but its the flower-filled gardens, superb entertainment venues and outstanding range of shops, that attract most visitors to this lovely town.


Stroll around the town
Start at the Pier Approach, with its views along miles of golden beaches from Hengistbury Head in the east to Old Harry Rocks in the west. At Bournemouths Oceanarium (open 10am-5pm, 01202 311993), on the Pier Approach, you will be dazzled by shoals of brightly coloured fish as well as the real denizens of the deep, such as the blacktip reef shark, swimming above your head. It even has an Interactive Dive Cage, which brings you nose to nose with a great white shark before youre swallowed by a blue whale!
From here, stroll through the Lower Gardens towards Bournemouth Square passing the Bournemouth Eye a huge tethered balloon with a suspended viewing platform finally arriving at the pedestrianised Square.


Bournemouths centre spreads out in all directions from the Square. Old-established family stores like Dingles and Beales are complemented by smaller independent retailers and funky boutiques with cool clothing for college students and fashion-conscious teenagers, as well as leading national high street names. In tree-lined Westover Road, known as Bournemouths Bond Street, youll find classic clothes shops, jewellers, specialist mens tailors
and two cinemas.


Things to do
If you have some experience of riding a wave or two, then join the dudes enjoying the surf produced by the new artificial surf reef off Boscombe Pier. Officially opened last autumn, it is already proving popular with the surf crowd, and the Sorted Surf School in The Overstrand building on the promenade offers lessons in surfing and the latest trend, stand-up paddling, to groups, individuals and youngsters.
Not too far west along the Undercliff from Bournemouth is Alum Chine where you will find the Tropical Gardens filled with exotic and unusual plants taking advantage of the mild microclimate along the south-facing cliffs. You can get a descriptive leaflet from the Bowling Club at the top of the gardens.



Scattered around Bournemouth are 2,000 acres of parks and gardens but youll need a map from Tourist Information to find them. You can also get a Tree Trail leaflet which follows the Bourne Stream. Starting from the Lower Gardens, the walk passes through increasingly naturalised and more peaceful gardens to Coy Pond two miles away.
If youre looking for something to do in the evening, Bournemouth boasts some of the best entertainment venues in the South West. The Bournemouth International Centre (the BIC) on the Exeter Road, and the Pavilion next door, regularly play host to international music stars, and West End musicals and theatre. Call 01202 456400 or visit www.bic.co.uk/events for full details. Down at Boscombe, the Opera House on Christchurch Road, recently rebranded the O2 Academy Bournemouth, is a popular venue for cutting-edge bands, chart-topping singer/songwriters, rappers and DJs. Visit http://www.o2academybournemouth.co.uk/ or call 01202 399922.


Eating out
Bournemouth has over 250 restaurants, with probably the most wide-ranging choice of places to eat anywhere on the south coast. From expensive fine dining to the ever-popular tapas bars, there is something to suit all tastes and pockets. To help unravel the huge variety on offer, Bournemouth Tourism has published an Eating Out Guide.


Events
1 to 6 April: Bournemouth Thai Language and Culture School is hosting a Thai Food Festival, with stage performances, food stalls and much more. 01202 451705
4 April (Easter Sunday): Celebrity Rugby at Oakmeadians RFC Meyrick Park, in aid of the Help for Heroes charity. Details from eventdirector@h4h-rugby-dorset.co.uk
Until 18 April: Manga to Mural, at the Russell-Cotes Museum, explores the work of John Thomas who created the breathtaking murals and hand-painted glass in the Russell-Cotes museum-home. Free entry
Until 30 April: Chinese New Year 2010 Lantern Festival. Chinese lanterns will be hung around Bournemouth Town Hall and Gardens to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Tiger, which started on 14 February. There is also a Chinese Exhibition in Bournemouth Library.


Finally, throughout March, locals (with up to three friends) can get half price entry at the award-winning Oceanarium by providing proof of their BH (Bournemouth) postcode. For more details 01202 311993 or visit www.oceanarium.co.uk
For details of more events see our Whats On in Bournemouth page 95


Further Information: Bournemouth Tourist Information, Westover Road, Bournemouth or visit http://www.bournemouth.co.uk/ or telephone
0845 0511700



Bournemouth, Dorset

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