Ive lived in the area of bournemouth for most of my life and I have to say I love it here and its a very beautiful place to live, visit and the surrounding areas are just as beautiful.
Bournemouth is on the south coast of england pretty much in between southampton and weymouth if looking longer distance. Its neighbouring towns are poole, christchurch and ringwood, each steeped with historical architecture, culture and unique elegance.
Primarilly the area of bournemouth is a tourist town and hence throughout the year is brimming over full with tourists which can be a good and bad thing, however tourists come here for reasons and the main one being our most prolific beach with 7 miles of beautiful golden sand. Not many beaches if any can state that as a tourist attraction on their lists. The beach lays between hengistbury head which is a famous landmark in the area thought to be over 60million years of age and a famous roman landmark, and then opposing this is sandbanks - an incredibly wealthy area of dorset known as the english algave.
Above the pier of bournemouth beach are the upper and lower gardens these are award winning and one elegant section particularly is the open air art exhibition which is located at the top of the gardens on westover road. A collection of artists unite here daily throughout the summer to paint and sell their works and its a very nautical and unique area to go to.
Bournemouth beach has two piers one located at the recently refurbished boscombe end, which now hosts a surf reef and then one at bournemouth down from the centre with a theatre, cafe, restaurant and small fair located on it. Both are popular throughout the year.
Throughout the summer various watersports are taken up along the beach such as windsurfing, boating, waterskiiing, jet skiing and paragliding, boat trips are also avaliable which can reach over to swanage and poole as well as the isle of wight. There is a unique speedboat attraction which people love taking you on a fast and furious ride round the bay but is not for the faint hearted.
On the promenade there are a host of activities throughout the summer and one main event which takes place is the bournemouth air festival which is incredible and is free. People line the cliff tops and beach front to view this as well as friday night fireworks throughout the month of august.
The sea water of bournemouth is exquisite and clear and has won continuous awards throughout recent years for the cleanest beach, therefore for any english beach holiday this is the place to go, let alone the surrounding areas with clubs, restaurants, attractions, the new forest and poole quay.
Going towards the sandbanks end of the beach is the car ferry which takes you across to studland a popular beach resort for nudists and then this route can lead you to corfe castle and the area of swanage. There are restaurants along the whole promenade of the beach including some elite ones where seafood prices are high but well worth the cost. Book before you go however.
A great british beach holiday can only be found on bournemouth beach and its beauty is a must for everyone.
My husband is from Dorset and I have been here 10 years now. Being from the North my first experience of Bournemouth was surreal, where were the bucket and spade shops I asked !?!
Found in the sunny South of England, approximately 2 hours away from London by train Bournemouth is a sunny seaside town. It is very popular with young people as at has a lively night life and it is a favourite destination for stag and hen weekends.
During the summer this popular destination provides a range of family friendly, free activities for example brass bands in the park, family entertainment e.g puppet shows and parachute games in a marquee in the afternoons,Friday night fireworks and candlelight Wednesdays to mention just a few. The highlight of the summer for the last two years has been the Bournemouth Airshow starring The Red Arrows and The Black cats to mention but a few.
There are many restaurants and public houses offering a range of foods at a range of prices.In the evenings the Pavilion and the BIC offer a variety of shows for example, 'That'll be the day' or for a traditional seaside night out visit the theatre on the end of the pier. There is also a bowling alley, quasar centre and cinema.
Along the front a little land train takes you along the seafront. There is also the Oceanarium. There are many local attractions for young and old in the surrounding area. Happy holidays :0)
I've lived here most of my life, so I suppose its time to write a little ol' review on my home town!
Bournemouth is a seaside town, situated on the south coast of the United Kingdom. It's supposedly the happiest town in England (survey courtesy of First Direct) and has the lowest levels of crime in England and Wales. Its about 2 hours outside of London, and is situated in East Dorset.
I would imagine Bournemouth's a pretty nice place to come for the occasional holiday or for university. There's quite a few reasons people are attracted to Bournemouth for both work and play, and I can understand why.
Bournemouth has a pretty good night life, with quite a few large nightclubs situated within about a mile of one another. There's plenty of bars and restaurants, plus parks and places of interest, whilst you have the Jurassic coast less than 40 minutes away by car and Henigstbury head an hour's walk away from the centre.
However, if you're interested in music, then you're best getting the train over to neighbouring Southampton or Portsmouth. A few large bands play the BIC, and there's usually some comedy gigs there, but the majority of bands play the arenas in Hampshire instead. The train journey's only 30 minutes for southampton and an hour for Portsmouth, so if you're into your music its well worth it.
Business wise, if you work for a corporate bank in Bournemouth, chances are its going to be JP Morgan, as its European Headquarters are based in the city. Bournemouth is the UK's first Fibrecity, though I've yet to reap the benefits of this scheme, as I'm BH8, not BH10 or 11. To be honest, if you asked anyone on the street about this new internet scheme, I'm willing to bet 2/3 wouldn't have a clue what you were talking about.
Sights you should see;
-- Bournemouth gardens are really pretty in the summer, and on wednesday nights there's an opportunity to light candles throughout the park, which is quite fun if you have 8-13 year olds.
-- Henigstbury Head is one of the more historical beaches in the area, plus you're allowed to take dogs and kites down there. I haven't trekked up to the top of the head since I was in junior school, but I seem to remember that being quite fun as well, though beware the school groups that are permanently up there!
-- If you're over at the end of August, you might witness the Bournemouth Air Festival. It usually runs around the 22nd of August, and heavily features the red arrows, who do shows around the Bournemouth area throughout the year.
-- Brownsea Island is pretty close, and one of the few areas left in the world where you can see red squirrels. The national trust runs workshops where you can help make the island more squirrel-friendly throughout the year, and they're always quite fun.
-- Castlepoint is the new shopping centre in Bournemouth, opened in 2007. Its not got the same range of shops that the town centre has, but it has much larger stores, and all the basics are still there.
However, I will say that if you spend more than 3 years in the city, you will begin to tire of it. It is not really a city, more a large town, and as such if you're used to living in a larger area you will become very very bored. Schooling wise, the Bournemouth college has a bad reputation at the moment; you're better off going to Brockenhurst college, and the university is okay. The arts institute has a good reputation, as do the grammar schools, though it must be noted that parkstone grammar usually gets higher marks than Bournemouth school for girls.
I have to admit that Bournemouth's beaches are brilliant and covered in golden sand. I have to rate this as my second favourite location in Dorset after Weymouth. Generally there are a number of little cliff like paths dropping down to the beach and a little train ride for those feeling a little exhausted.
I first went to Bournemouth by coach around the age of 12 with my father as a day trip during the Summer holidays and remember walking through the park and seeing grey squirrels happily moving around trees and getting pretty close, and spending a while on the beach near the BIC (Bournemouth International Centre).
Not long after I learned to drive I travelled over there to a Star Trek exhibition held at the BIC, an event I nearly missed as I misjudged a relatively fast single lane bit of road as a dual carriageway!
For 2 years I took my 1st wife and children over to Christchurch which is about 10 miles from Bournemouth and drove in there on a number of occassions.
My last visit was a bit more hectic with 2 of my then stepsons getting tickets for some gig at the BIC. Not my idea of fun driving 3 hours+, spending hours walking around the town centre looking for an open loo and somewhere to eat at reasonable cost. Eventually I settled on a remote area for food about a mile from the centre.
Parking prices are a little steep, but the town is worth exploring - it is a long walk from the centre to the beaches. It's reasonably easy to get to and there are regular bus and train services available.
At the front there is an aquarium which is a must see, pier and park (which goes right down to the beach).
To many (including me I'm afraid), Bourneouth is a place for the more well off, and I really couldn't spend a long time at this location.
I adore Bournemouth, everything about this place is amazing. The shops are great, the only thing is there is loads of hills which can kill your legs. Just next to the shops there is a very large garden area which you can walk along - In the middle of a town this is amazingly beautiful, you can walk from here to the beach which is so great to get away from the buzz of the busy Bournemouth Centre.
Bournemouth seems really big but once you've driven around for a while you realise that it''s not as big and scary as first impressions make it out to be. You quickly get a sense of direction to places. There is an IMAX 3-D cinema down by the beach, Oceanarium by the pier, the Theatre down at the end of the pier, the BIC where there is a swimming pool, ice rink, concerts,gym. There is also the Bournemouth eye which is a hot air balloon on a rope that takes you up in the sky took look over the town, the Casino''s and much more, it really makes you feel like you are on holiday abroad with the gorgeous weather too.
I recently got back from a weekend away in Bournemouth with friends and was genuinely impressed with the place. I was under the impression that it was an old people's town, but this was not the case at all. There is a large university in the town (University of Bournemouth) and so during the teaching year the place is buzzing with students.
Whilst we were down there the weather was quite nice, so during the day we went to the beach which was lovely, it's sandy which makes a pleasant change from the pebbles at Brighton or Southsea. The beach is fairly long and has a pier as well and an amusements arcade including a few fairground rides.
The town centre itself is also a nice place to be, the people are very cheery and there are many high street shops and larger department stores, so it's great for shopping. During the evening we went out to a few pubs, bars and nightclubs of which there is a huge selection to choose from and the drinks are extremely reasonably priced - some bars even have deals on food and drinks, trying to attract the vast student community probably. The atmosphere was great, everybody we came across was having a good time and we didn't see any trouble at all.
I would definitely recommend visiting Bournemouth because there is so much to see and do. In terms of accommodation there are many hotels and guest houses in and around the town centre, most are walking distance away, but you may want to call a taxi and these are very cheap compared to London firms.
Thanks for reading.
Bournemouth's great. It's compact enough to generally be able to get most central points on foot. It's very busy in the summer with the massive influx of foreign students; Bournemouth has a ridiculous number of language schools and nearly everyone in the town is involved in some way or another, teachers, host families, pub landlords etc. It's definitely quieter in the winter, but with the expanding university the population does seem to be getting more balanced season-wise.
It's a real mix of residential and commercial property, with some areas being more one way or the other, but overall it's pretty integrated. There are no industrial estates (they're all next door in Poole) and accordingly, the town's generally very clean and pretty. Employment opportunities are fairly limited in my opinion - if you're after a professional career then Bournemouth's probably not the best place to be, but there are loads of shops and offices to keep you employed (and not very well off!).
Bournemouth's one of the few places in the country that still has a selective education system, ie Grammar schools and Secondary Moderns. Grammar school entry is dependant on the 11 Plus exam, and there are two single sex grammar schools. There's only one comprehensive in Bournemouth and that's Catholic, and I hear it's very good. The remainder of secondary schools are made up of approximately eight secondary moderns, of which I believe three are mixed.
I mention the education system here because it's actually quite indicative of the town as
a whole, it's a True Blue Tory area, and regardless of your politics, you can't fail to notice it! Bournemouth's strange in the fact that it's very 'traditional' but in fact it's new-ish town. Not new like Milton Keynes, but it only really developed around 1850 when the gorseland became a seaside resort renowned for its TB-curing air, allegedly. At this time, it became home to a wealth of famous names, such as Mary Shelley and Robert Louis Stevenson.
Bournemouth town centre focuses on the Square, or the square-that's-actually-round. It used to be a big roundabout but now has been pedestrianised and adorned with a coffee shop and flowers. It's the juncture of several roads, including the impossibly steep Richmond Hill (don't even bother trying to cycle it). There's also Gervis Place, where you can get a bus to almost anywhere in town - you can't fail to notice them, they're yellow; Commercial Road and Old Christchurch Road, both shopping havens; Bourne Avenue, which takes you in the general direction of Poole; and Exeter Road, which goes directly to the beach.
Travelling west on foot, up Commercial Road (also pedestrianised) you'll find the Triangle, which is actually vaguely triangular. At the time of writing, a new library was being built here. Commercial Road, unsurprisingly, has loads of shops and a dinky little arcade with an HMV. Debenhams can probably also be grouped here, although it is in fact directly on the Square.
Old Christchurch Road will take you all the way up to the Lansdowne, but there's not a lot after Horseshoe Common (about half way up), which is a nice green area with well tended roses. Old Christchurch Road is also nice because it's got several arcades, notably one simply known as The Arcade, which houses shops like Waterstones and The Pier. The two 'nice' departmen
ts stores are along here, there's a House of Fraser and Beales, which is the local emporium for everything lovely.
Bourne Avenue has a few shops and a fantastic milkshake/bar/café called Legends to its credit and leads to the town hall. Ever since some of the parking was got rid of, there's also a good sized Borders. What you'll really notice if you're on Bourne Avenue though are the Upper Gardens. The Gardens run from Koi Pond, yes it's a pond with Koi in, to the pier approach right on the seafront. And they are lovely, green lawns and well-looked flower beds. You can quite literally follow the road up to the Pond, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it because there ain't really much to see.
Exeter Road leads to the beach, via the Bournemouth International Centre (the BIC). The BIC houses a leisure pool complete with wave machine, fitness centre, several halls for concerts or conventions, the occasional exhibition, a few lounges where you can get a drink, and, um, not much else. It's highly unattractive but it has been home to the Labour and Conservative Party Conferences in its time. Exeter Road ambles around the Lower Gardens, which, like the Upper Gardens, are very green, very well cared for, and really quite pretty. They also house an aviary, if you want to see too many colourful birds in a tiny space. Not really to my taste, but each to their own.
Sun, Sea and Sand
At the end of the Lower Gardens, you get to the beach. And my word is it a beach. Seven beautiful miles of gorgeous sandy loveliness, clean water, and loads of beach huts. Not that beach huts are a bad thing. It's a really superb stretch, as they go, and rumour has it that the sand is actually shipped in from the Sahara and it can't come with much higher credentials than that.
The weather also tends to be good for enjoying the seaside as Bournemouth falls into Poole Bay, a
nd so is quite sheltered. Of course this doesn't mean that you're guaranteed good weather, but you are should be able to notice less extreme elements.
The main section is identifiable by the pier, which houses an amusement arcade and the Pier Theatre, which usually shows typically 'kiss-me-quick' style romps, quite often starring an ex-Page 3 stunna or cast-member from Allo Allo. I'm sure you get the idea. There's also the Pier Showbar, which has been home to some of the town's best nights out, if you like dance music. The different 'nights' tend to rotate on a weekly basis with monthly or fortnightly events, but things change oh so quickly in clubland so check local press for listings.
The beach runs west towards Poole, and along the way there are some really lovely spots, Alum Chine for example, which serve as their own little beaches. At each of these Chines there are parking areas and various activities: ice cream vendors, tennis courts, a pub, etc. It may be worth, if visiting in the height of summer, to seek out the Chines rather than relying on the main Bournemouth beach as they do tend to be quieter, and consequently cleaner.
Eastwards is Boscombe, which has its own pier. You can walk all the way down between the two piers, either on the sand itself, or for the less energetic, you can amble along the promenade. Cars are not permitted to drive down here so it's perfectly safe. Boscombe is ok, but bear in mind that this area has a high concentration of guest houses and hotels, and isn't generally seen as being as 'nice' as the rest of the stretch. Past Boscombe is Southbourne, which is another lovely, and quieter part of the beach. Highly recommended, but be aware that there are fewer facilities the further east you go.
Arguably the finest beaches are actually in Poole at Sandbanks. This stretch is aesthetically perfect (
almost), and house prices nearby reflect this. Getting to Sandbanks is less straightforward as reaching any part of Bournemouth's beach - you will either need to drive a fair distance around the coast, or hop on the regular ferries that make the brief crossing. But if all that sounds like too much hassle, don't worry, because Bournemouth's beaches are more than adequate.
Bournemouth beach and the sea that laps up to it have a good history of cleanliness. The waters have received the Blue Flag award for lack of pollution on numerous occasions and are safe to swim in. The beaches are well looked after and tend also to be clean and litter-free, although in high season this may not always be the case in the busiest areas. Life guards are plentiful and well-trained. And usually gorgeous... but that's another story.
Things To Do, Places To See...
As Bournemouth isn't a very old town there's little in the way of historical interest. Probably the nearest it gets is the Russell Coates Museum and Art Gallery, which is full of various 'treasures', although most of which, I'm reliably informed, are fakes.
The town has cinemas, lots of bars and night clubs (of varying quality), swimming pools, the Pavillion (which shows lots of ballet and the occasional opera), 10 pin bowling, golf, basically the usual activities you find in a large town. In addition, you'll find the all-new IMAX cinema and the attached bars/restaurants complex, which is right next to the beach.
To the west, Poole has a lovely quay, which is worth a visit. Poole is much older than Bournemouth and actually has more to offer in terms of sights. Directly east is Christchurch, which again is older than Bournemouth and is a very pleasant day out.
Going inland and further east, the New Forest offers a wealth of activities, eg camping, cycling, horse-riding, and there are also various
day out destinations, eg the owl sanctuary near Ringwood, and the motor museum at Beaulieu. The New Forest really is a lovely place to spend a few days, and if you were to spend any time in Bournemouth and not visit it, you would be missing out.
Rural Dorset is inland bearing west, and there are numerous picturesque villages and ancient sites. Bear in mind that the neighbouring Wiltshire has Stonehenge, and you can imagine that Dorset is similarly blessed. Ancient religious sites and forts are dotted all around this area, and even if you're not interested in the historical side, they make excellent places to visit for a walk or a picnic (but remember to clear up after you!). An excellent example is Badbury Rings, an Iron age hill fort between Wimborne and Blandford, which is quite stunning all year round, but especially in summer.
Eating and Sleeping
The range of cuisine that Bournemouth has to offer is ever increasing, from English to pan-Asian to American, with everything in between. One place that's definitely worthy of a mention is a Swiss restaurant called Helvetia, which has a lively keller bar in the basement. This place does the best cheese fondue I have ever tasted. There are plenty of restaurants in town though, but bear in mind that as a rule of thumb, the closer the establishment is to the centre of town, the more expensive it will be. And that this doesn't necessarily mean it will be any better.
Being a seaside town, Bournemouth boasts a very high number of B&Bs, guest houses and hotels, providing a variety of boards and rates. Given the number and range, I couldn't possibly generalise as to the standard they maintain as a whole. As far as prices go, a room will unsurprisingly cost more in the summer months than, say in November or February. Easter also brings an influx of visitors, so again, prices are likely to peak here for spring bookings. It's also worth checking i
f any big conferences are being held around the time that you wish to visit, as this will also lead to hiked up prices that you may well wish to avoid.
To, From and Around
Bournemouth has good links to London by train and by road, taking approximately 2.5 hours by train and 2 by car. Amazingly, it also has an airport, although flights from here are restricted to package holiday destinations, mostly in the Caribbean.
Travelling within Bournemouth itself, there is a good and reliable network of Yellow Buses that will take you to most places within the town and its immediate surroundings. Travelling to Poole and beyond, there are also the red Wilts & Dorset buses. The main terminal in Bournemouth town centre for both is Gervis Place.
The train is pretty much useless for getting around within Bournemouth, but is arguably the best way to get into the New Forest if you're car-less. Trains to a number of destinations are frequent and remarkably scenic.
Bournemouth's roads are not, at present, riddled with one-way systems or overcrowded and it's generally very easy to get from A to B quickly. Parking is plentiful. Cycling around town is hit and miss, some routes, notably to the university, have marked cycle lanes, but this is not consistent. The landscape does undulate though so if you're travelling any distance expect some easier then harder (or harder then easier) stretches en route.
Bournemouth is a great place to visit and enjoy. It's safe, clean, and pleasant, and benefits from a wonderful surrounding area. If you go, make sure to buy an ice-cream and wander for a little while along the promenade. Take in the lovely Gardens and join everyone else in criticising the vulgar BIC. Spend an afternoon exploring the Chines. Leave town for the day and enjoy the Dorset countryside, and enjoy a cream tea at a thatched cottage tea shop. Or ventur
e into the New Forest and go deer spotting. And send me a postcard, because when I think about it, I quite miss it actually.
I will no doubt be updating this as I think of things..!
Places to stay -
During the summer I had a few days hol visiting a mate in Bournemouth. I'd never been before and didn't know what to expect, but I had a totally fantastic and very eventful time. Getting there and Getting Around: Bournemouth is on the South Coast and readily accessible via A roads. I had no trouble finding it from my home in the Midlands. Once there, I was pleasantly surprised by the road system. I've been lost in many a city but I didn't go astray in Bournemouth once. The town is very well signposted indeed. Boozing: We decided to spend that first day hitting the booze and the bars. There were absolutely loads of pubs to choose from. Unfortunately, Bournemouth like all other towns has fallen prey to the rise of the chain pub. So you'll find Bar Med, Hogshead, O'Neills and all the others that you have in your own town. That said, though, they were all spacious and very nicely styled, the staff everywhere were very friendly and loads of them had outdoor seating areas. So although I've been in these pubs in several other cities, the ones in Bournemouth were slightly different to the ones elsewhere. There were also plenty of bars I'd not heard of before, none of which I can remember the name of I'm afraid (drunkard's amnesia, you understand). There was one particular one down on the seafront, though, which had an American theme and was just about the tackiest, most ghastly place I've ever drunk in (or got drunk in). You'll know if you've ever been there yourself because it has a door with a big sign by it saying 'BEAVER HIDE OUT'. Say no more. I'd heard reports of voilence in Bournemouth at night, but I have to say that I saw none at all that particular night. I felt very comfortable everywhere I went and had a riot of a time, even in the Beaver place. The town in general: Bournemouth is very green, with loa
ds of garden spaces packed with trees and flowers. This is all very pleasant indeed and a nice relaxing place to take a pew, have an ice cream and watch the world go by (and I do mean world - Bournemouth is very cosmopolitan, packed with foreign tourists and students from all corners of the globe). There are also something like 7 miles of beaches. I didn't see the whole 7 miles worth, but what I did see was clean and sandy and very inviting. And the seagulls were the small non-aggressive type, which is a bonus. (I do so dislike having my Mr Whippy snatched). The town centre is also very clean and well kept with some lovely outdoor cafes and a hot air balloon you can go in which floats you high up above the town for a panoramic view. Architecturally I got the feeling that the town was past its prime. There were some impressive old hotels (The Royal Bath, Highcliffe) and some good new buildings (Oceanarium, IMAX Cinema), but on the whole it was looking rather run down and in need of some regeneration. One problem I did have with Bournemouth was that within ten minutes of arrival and walking down into the town, I was harassed by drunken male beggars twice, and then stopped by the police who had seen me harassed and wanted to know if I was ok. I also inadvertently found myself walking through the red light district taking a short cut to my B&B and this was very seedy and horrible. Where to Stay I stayed at the Kantara B&B in Derby Road, 10 mins walk from the beaches/town centre. It was one street away from said red light district but was itself very leafy and quiet and I felt quite safe. The Kantara needs a bit of redecoration but it was very clean and run by a lovely woman who cooked a damn good breakfast. It was £20 per night for an en-suite single room which is excellent. If you run to more luxurious tastes, at the other end of the spectrum is the Royal Bath Hotel which charges almost £200 per
night. And there are tons and tons and tons of places to stay that fall in between these two extremes. Eating: There's a vast range of restaurants in Bournemouth, and lots of the pubs do food too. On offer was the usual fish and chips and kebab places, plus Italian restaurants, Indian restaurants, Lebanese, Greek, Mexican, Chinese and French, as well as all the usual pizza and pasta chains and burger houses. I ate out three times and paid about a tenner each time for a main course with a drink or two. Other places to visit: As Bournemouth lies right by the New Forest it was a shame not to go take a look. I went to Christchurch one day where we took out my mate's boat and sailed up the river and into the sea. Christchurch is very lovely and extremely expensive but well worth a visit. We also spent a day in Lymington, another very pretty little town with plenty of proper real pubs and places to eat, as well as a harbour where you can take boat trips all over the place. I'd also recommend a visit to nearby Poole which boasts some of the most expensive housing in the world!! Pop by and go green with envy and have conversations along the lines of 'What DO these people do for a living?!' Overall verdict: Bournemouth certainly isn't perfect, and it's nothing compared to resorts in the Med, but for an English seaside town it ain't half bad. If you're looking for somewhere to soak up the sun, somewhere to take the kids, or just a good place to eat, drink and get merry, then I'd say definitely pay Bournemouth a visit and do your bit for the English economy.