Things to see and do in Bournemouth
PUBLISHED: 11:17 05 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:44 05 July 2019
From its miles of golden sands to award-winning festivals, Bournemouth is one of the UK’s favourite seaside towns
In Dorset terms Bournemouth is a relatively new town. It was established in 1812 by retired army officer Lewis Tregonwell who believed that its wooded chines (ravines), pine-scented air and sea bathing would make it a fashionable health resort. In the 21st century its genteel nature has been replaced by a funkier town that is home to two universities and Bournemouth International Centre (BIC), a venue for world class music acts. It has several 'urban' villages, distinct areas that have their own vibe, including Southborne with its cool bars and cafes, bohemian Boscombe famous for its vintage emporiums, and Westbourne with its lovely Victorian shopping arcade and Farmers' Market held on the first Saturday of the month. The main shopping area in central Bournemouth is around The Triangle, and the beach is a mere Frisbee throw away.
MOST NOTED FOR...
its seven miles of golden sandy beaches helps to make Bournemouth the UK's most popular seaside resort. From sunrise yoga to bucket and spade fun there's plenty to do. Hire one of the colourful beach huts, stroll along one of its two piers, or take your supper plans down to the beach and fire up the barbie and watch the sunset.
WHILE YOU'RE HERE...
Thrill seekers should visit Bournemouth Pier to experience PierZip, the world's first pier-to-shore zip-wire, which takes you screaming over the waves. For a slightly less white-knuckle experience the Rock Reef indoor climbing centre is great when the weather isn't so good (rockreef.co.uk). Surfer and SUP dudes and dudettes should make their way to Bournemouth's laid back 'surfer quarter' at Boscombe to hire kit or grab a lesson from the locals (sortedsurfshop.co.uk/ surfsteps.co.uk). The in-crowd hang out at Urban Reef which offers a locally sourced seasonal menu, including bang on-trend plant-powered options (urbanreef.com).
BUT TRY NOT TO...
miss the Pre-Raphaelite paintings at Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum. This opulent clifftop villa, built by Merton Russell-Cotes for his wife Annie in 1901, houses an extraordinary collection of art works and artefacts from their world travels including Venus Verticordia by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (russellcotes.com).
Why? Part of the multi-award-winning four-star Green House Hotel on Grove Road, this fine dining restaurant offers an innovative locally sourced seasonal menu that includes honey from its rooftop hives. From field to plate and bay to bowl, every ingredient is sustainably sourced. Their afternoon teas are legendary!
Why? Imagine a classic beach hut given a posh makeover with all the facilities of a great holiday let. These compact and cosy seaside lodges, which offer accommodation for up to four adults and two children, are slap bang by the beach at Boscombe so you can fall asleep and wake up to the sound of the sea. Available for three, four or seven-nights.
Famous Bournemouth musicians include the composer of Jerusalem Sir Hubert Parry and Blur's bass player Alex James who was born in Boscombe and went to Bournemouth School for Boys. The Durrells of My Family and Other Animals fame returned to Bournemouth from Corfu; Margot ran a boarding house and its garden housed Gerry's animal collection.
There are awesome festivals year round here including Bournemouth Emerging Arts Fringe in May (b-e-a-f.co.uk) and Bournemouth Air Festival, the UK's biggest free air festival, in August (bournemouthair.co.uk). Arts by the Sea Festival brings performance onto the streets in September (artsbythesea.co.uk), and Christmas Tree Wonderland features over 100 glittering trees and illuminations in the heart of town (christmastreewonderland.co.uk).