With our affordable coach tickets to Bournemouth, you can sample the sights and sounds of this fun resort town with plenty of spare cash in your wallet. In fact, with our Coachcards and extra discounts, if you book in advance, there’s never been a better time to book cheap tickets to Bournemouth.
Browse our list of things to do and start planning your travel adventure on the south coast.
With its gorgeous sandy beaches, historic charms and fun leisure activities, there is no shortage of things to do in Bournemouth. Here’s what we recommend for your next travel excursion to this charming Dorset town.
With holidays by National Express, you can combine our great value coach travel with hotels and attractions in Bournemouth. There is so much to see and do during a beach break or short break in Bournemouth, here is a suggested holiday itinerary:
As part of our 48 hours in 48 seconds series, take a look at the video above and get inspired for your family weekend in Bournemouth.
Why not start with a walk through the lovely Lower Gardens towards the central beach? Once you’ve enjoyed the sights and sounds of the pier, stroll on the golden sands of this award-winning stretch.
Then enjoy some traditional games that all the family can enjoy at the pier amusements and mini-golf course. Forget games consoles and smartphones, these classics will keep everyone laughing, rain or shine.
Finally, enjoy a sit-down and take in the amazing seaside views in the big wheel and watch the sun drift away with some delicious fish and chips.
What can you do in 48 hours?
Nick The Fish
No trip to the seaside is complete without fish, chips and mushy peas, so by that measurement alone, Nick The Fish is one of the best restaurants in Bournemouth. Either book a table for the dining experience, or grab a takeaway and eat at your leisure. Nick The Fish offers beautifully made simple cuisine, and is a popular fixture of the local food scene.
Key West Restaurant
To sample the local cuisine at one of the best restaurants in Bournemouth, head to the very edge of the town’s iconic pier. Key West Restaurant has incredible views of the surrounding bay, with a sun terrace where you can sit back and relax. A large restaurant with space for up to 180 guests, you can try the popular Sunday carvery or daily seafood platters and dine beneath a beautiful domed ceiling.
For pizza lovers, The Stable is arguably number one when it comes to choosing the best restaurants in Bournemouth. Expect artisan sourdough pizzas to suit all tastes, including gluten-free and vegan options. Plus, with plenty of daily offers and events, there's always something different going on.
The sky is the limit
One of the best places to sample the town’s nightlife is at Level8ight – The Sky Bar, located on the eighth floor of the Hilton Bournemouth. Here, you can order cocktails, fine wines and premium spirits in a unique setting overlooking the town and the English Channel. If you’re feeling peckish, order the fresh seafood or a small side plate to accompany your drinks.
Shoot pool and watch the footy
Sharkey’s Sports Bar on Christchurch Road is a great place to enjoy Bournemouth’s nightlife. Here, you’ll find American and English pool tables, darts boards and a telly to watch the football. It’s an ideal spot for starting a night out in Bournemouth.
Twist and shout at 1812
At the Royal Exeter Hotel is one of Bournemouth’s premier nightclubs – 1812. The venue doubles-up as a restaurant and live music venue, offering visitors a brilliant night out in Bournemouth. Try the delicious cocktails concocted by the resident mixologists, then dance the night away until the early hours.
This bustling thoroughfare is billed as ‘Bournemouth’s Bond Street’, and with a range of options for luxury shopping, it’s easy to see why. Robert Old 1909 sells smart men’s clothing for formal occasions, meanwhile, you can also find familiar high street standard bearers as well as independent gems.
Castlepoint shopping centre
Away from the town centre, Castlepoint shopping centre is a pleasant place to browse national chain stores and pick up some affordable gifts and luxury wares. Here you’ll find more than 40 high street brands including the likes of M&S, Next and New Look where you can pick up a bargain or two.
Bournemouth is packed with Victorian charms, and nowhere is this more apparent than at Westbourne, a shopping arcade located to the west of the town centre. You’ll find a wide selection of boutique stores for affordable and luxury gifts, and plenty of places to grab a bite to eat. The shopping arcade is open all-year round and offers an alternative to the more modern Castlepoint shopping centre.
Of all the top tourist attractions in Bournemouth, the 7 miles of golden sands are undoubtedly number one. Famed for their cleanliness and high environmental standards, Bournemouth’s long stretch of coastline has retained its Blue Flag status since the accreditation began in 1996. If you’re exploring around the middle of town, Bournemouth Central Beaches is the place to start, with its seafront attractions, cafés, restaurants and historic pier. A little further afield you’ll find Alum Chine beach, known for its wonderful Tropical Gardens.
The Russell Cotes Art Gallery & Museum
On your sightseeing tour of Bournemouth, summon your inner tourist with a visit to The Russell Cotes Art Gallery & Museum. The former home of two Victorian collectors and travel enthusiasts, this cliff-top villa features a collection of Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite art. The museum and gallery is one of Bournemouth’s top tourist attractions, and deservedly so.
The fantastic Oceanarium, the Bournemouth Aquarium, is home to hundreds of sea life creatures and is one of the most inspiring places to visit in the town. The creatures on display include sharks, giant sea turtles and newly arrived penguins.
Indulge their explorers’ instinct in the New Forest
For a family-friendly day out, there’s no better way to enjoy the great outdoors than a visit to the New Forest National Park just outside Bournemouth. Free-roaming ponies are just one of the delights at this sprawling beauty spot, which is home to dozens of rare UK wildlife species. For unbeatable family fun, enjoy more than 200 acres of unspoilt nature at your own pace, or have a bite to eat in the restaurant.
Hop aboard the Land Train and inspire the kids
Bournemouth’s unique Land Train is one of the top kids’ attractions, and the perfect way to take in this historic coastal city at an unhurried pace. The trip takes in many of Bournemouth’s landmark sites, including the pier, the regal Boscombe Gardens and the beautiful views from Chine Beach.
Let them splash to their hearts’ content
Whatever the weather, Splashdown Waterpark is a great family day out in Bournemouth. Located on the town’s northern fringes on the way to Poole, Splashdown has 12 different water slides, rides and flumes. It offers a memorable day out for kids of all ages, and also features spa pools and jacuzzis where parents can relax while the children play.
Jerk Hut & Co
In neighbouring Boscombe, off-the-beaten-path, you’ll find Jerk Hut & Co, an awesome Jamaican-themed establishment serving delicious jerk chicken, curry goat, plantain and authentic Caribbean cuisine. It’s one not to miss.
Venture off-the-beaten-track to explore some of the hidden gems like Southbourne beach, a twenty-minute walk from Boscombe with adventure golf, a cliff lift and ice cream stalls.
Grade I listed Christchurch Castle is a remarkable example of a Norman domestic dwelling and a real treat for history lovers.
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