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If you’re thinking of travelling to Bournemouth, a trip to the beach should be top of your to-do list. With seven miles of award-winning golden sands set against a breathtaking backdrop of dramatic cliff scenery, the bay benefits from its own micro-climate and some of the warmest temperatures in the UK. Bournemouth is also one of the best spots in England to learn to surf – so those who love the water can take to the waves.
There are many things to do in Bournemouth for free. Cycle along the seafront towards the popular Sandbanks beach or stop off for an ice cream and enjoy the spectacular views. Bournemouth Pier is home to a selection of eateries and a fun amusement arcade – be sure to pack a pocketful of pennies!
Bournemouth is busy year-round with live music, arts, concerts, spoken word, film, performance and dance. The annual festival – Arts by the Sea – is run by Arts Bournemouth, as well as a good range of other visual arts events throughout the year.
You might even like to visit one of the many castles, churches or chapels in and around Bournemouth. St Peter's Church of England features beautiful stained glass and alabaster sculptures and is also the resting place of writer Mary Shelley and poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.
From romantic weekend breaks to fun family days out, you’ll find a wide range of things to do in Bournemouth. A lively seaside city with a relaxed atmosphere, Bournemouth boasts award-winning gardens, seven miles of coastline and a whole host of water sports you can try out at sea. We’ve put together a destination guide to suit all tastes and budgets, to help you make the most of your trip to Bournemouth.
Admire the miles of stunning coastline, hire a traditional beach hut or take a peaceful stroll along the water’s edge. Once described by the writer Thomas Hardy as “a Mediterranean lounging place on the English Channel”, Bournemouth is a beautiful place to visit at any time of the year.
Bournemouth’s award-winning, Grade II Listed Gardens have kept their Victorian character. Take an idyllic walk through the tropical flora and fauna along the stretch of beach, or stop off for a cup of tea and slice of cake and appreciate the beautiful scents and sights.
Bournemouth is home to a fantastic selection of shops. Spend the day pottering around its town centre, dotted with boutiques and cafes, or the precinct, hosting both high street chains and independents. The beautiful Victorian Royal Arcade and the newly refurbished Sovereign Shopping Centre are also worth a visit.
Those looking for some serious retail therapy should head to “The Village”, located in Westbourne, which offers a mix of fashion and beauty shops, along with charming delis and restaurants.
Nearby Boscombe is ideal for picking up bargains or quirky pieces. If you’re travelling to Bournemouth on a Thursday or Saturday, be sure to wander along the Christchurch Road for the open air market. You’ll find delicious local produce, clothing, crafts and antique shops.
You’ll find more than 250 eateries in Bournemouth – from international cuisine to traditional fish and chips. Dining options range from gourmet dishes and beachside bars to cosy cafes and on-the-go snacks.
On a shoestring: Chez Fred. A quaint little fish and chip shop in Westbourne, serving up ethically caught haddock and cod in a rich, crispy batter. Get there quick to beat the lunchtime queues.
Middle of the road: Highcliff Grill. Part of the Marriott Hotel, this elegant lounge and bar offers award-winning cuisine on a spectacular cliff-top location.
Splash the cash: Urban Reef. Great views, cool music, delicious food. Committed to sustainability, this laid-back restaurant, deli and bar invites you to enjoy fresh local produce right on the beach.