Difference between revisions of "Bournemouth"
Revision as of 15:07, 18 April 2010
Bournemouth’s spa magic has been revitalised and history is repeating itself. A century ago the cream of Victorian society including royalty flocked to Bournemouth’s pine forest landscape of luxurious villas.
They were eager to sample the relaxing ambience of the town, breathe its healthy air, bath in the pure sea water and unwind at leisure. In Tess of the D’Urbervilles Thomas Hardy affectionately described Bournemouth as ‘a Mediterranean lounging place on the English Channel’. The aroma and perfume of the pine trees were considered health-giving and many a famous person came here to take advantage of it including J.R.R. Tolkien and D.H. Lawrence.
The first spa hotel was built in 1885 - the Mont Dore Hotel (now Bournemouth’s Town Hall) Apart from luxury rooms and tennis courts, the hotel also offered the Mont Dore cure which was said to be a healing water and could not be found anywhere else in England. Sea and pure water from the Bourne stream were pumped into the basement of the hotel to allow the additional luxury of soaking and perspiring in Turkish and salt baths.
Since then, Bournemouth has grown into a thriving seaside resort and many of the big hotels offer spa treatments of their own as well as spa and beauty boutiques peppered throughout the town centre catering for men as well as women.
The pine trees still exist and visitors can still stroll through ‘Pine Walk’ in Bournemouth Gardens today to breath in the healthy air. During the summer, the Pine Walk Open Air Art Exhibition is held here.
Unless travelling from the South-West of England most journeys by road will be via the M27 which turns into the dual-carriage A31 and passes through the New Forest. At Ringwood look for the (A338) Bournemouth exit. Care is necessary when entering into Bournemouth on the Wessex Way as there are numerous speed cameras.
Only those with a penchant for long queues of congestion should think about arriving at mid-day/early afternoon on a warm and sunny day! It is strongly advised to either get there very early or even arrive the evening beforehand otherwise you will be sitting in traffic for a considerable length of time on the A31.
SouthWest Trains from London Waterloo and other locations on the South coast, such as Poole and Weymouth. Served by express and semi-fast services which continue to Weymouth, and a slow service which terminates in Poole.
CrossCountry trains from Manchester via Birmingham New Street terminate at Bournemouth, some trains arrive from other cities like Nottingham and Newcastle. Summer sees a wider variety of places linked directly to Bournemouth.
National Express Bus from London direct (approx. 2 hours 30 minutes).
A few airlines fly directly into Bournemouth Airport  from various destinations throughout Europe.
Bournemouth is small enough to walk around, but local bus services operate frequently within the city center.
Taxi services in Bournemouth are cheap for short journeys, with an initial charge of approximately £2. It is best to call for a cab rather than to queue at a rank near Holdenhurst for the best fare.
Bournemouth is famous for its 7 miles of golden sandy beaches  and clean seas. The Pier is almost in the middle of the beach and offers a small fair, boat trips, an arcade and some other shops.
Museums and galleries
Bournemouth has a good range of shops with mainly well known high street outlets in the centre but also many independent shops. Examples of large stores are Beales, Dingles, Debenhams and Marks & Spencers. The Boscombe area is well known for its many antique shops and for those who are into designer, vintage, and specialist clothes, Westbourne offers a good variety of designer boutiques.
For out of town shopping the massive Castlepoint Shopping centre is excellent and beautifully laid out, 
Bournemouth has many different restaurants suiting different tastes and budgets. Most can be found in and around Town Centre, but also the Charminster and Boscombe area feature nice places to eat. The number of takeaways in Bournemouth has also increased over the years, offering a cheap alternative to a restaurant meal.
At night the town comes alive with a vibrant bar and club scene. It is one of Britain's most popular clubbing locations, with many stag and hen parties held in Bournemouth. There are over 50 nightclub venues which are open every day of the week. On busy clubnights, roughly 40,000 people are out in Bournemouth. The Triangle area in Bournemouth is where the gay community is concentrated with several gay friendly clubs and pubs. Most night clubs are located in and around town centre, with the exception of the Opera House in Boscombe. Old style pubs are at a premium in the centre with the emphasis more on trendy bars.
The American travel writer Bill Bryson commented on the amazing number of hotels there seem to be in Bournemouth, but there are so many because the town developed as a seaside resort in the 19th century and that is still its primary function.