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Bournemouth

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United Kingdom : England : West Country : Dorset : Bournemouth
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Bournemouth [1] is a seaside resort town in the county of Dorset on the south coast of England.

Bournemouth Pier.jpg

Understand

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.

Get in

By car

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.

By train

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.

By bus

MegaBus from London via Winchester.

National Express Bus from London direct (approx. 2 hours 30 minutes).

By plane

A few airlines fly directly into Bournemouth Airport [2] from various destinations throughout Europe.

Get around

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.

See

Bournemouth Beach

Bournemouth is famous for its 7 miles of golden sandy beaches [3] 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.


  • Real Bournemouth (History in Photos), 0845 224 3894, [4]. Visit Bournemouth's 200 year history via an interactive display of old photographs and vintage postcards. Add your comments and stories to the collection and even upload your own photos. FREE.
  • Bournemouth (Online Guide), [5]. Find out about Bournemouth's scene, plan a night out and find locaL friendly hotels and shops.

Museums and galleries

  • Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum - located on the Eastcliff. [6] This museum and gallery has some wonderful collections of 19th century art and Japanese artifacts. The interior of the museum alone is worth seeing because it is lavishly decorated and shows the Victorian interests in eccentric collecting and other cultures, especially Japan and China. Admission free.
  • The Atrium Gallery at Bournemouth University.

Landmarks

  • St.Peter's Church. The famous author Mary Shelly who wrote 'Frankenstein' is buried in the churchyard of this church along with the heart of her husband the Romantic poet, Percy Bysshe Shelly.

Do

  • Bournemouth Oceanarium. [7]
  • Bournemouth Eye, tethered balloon flights. [8]
  • Bournemouth International Centre - concerts and exhibitions. [9]
  • Bourne Free (Bournemouth's Pride Festival), Town Centre, 0845 463 9583, [10]. Bournemouth's annual gay pride festival Bourne Free. Now in it's sixth year.


Buy

  • Hunts Clothing, 780 Christchurch Road, Boscombe (Pokesdown end of Boscombe), 01202394033, [11]. 9-5 Monday to Friday, 10-4 Saturdays. Outsized menswear shop.

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, [12]

Eat

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.

  • Jimmy's - Provides stylish Brasserie surroundings with an excellent menu. THIS IS NOW CLOSED.
  • West Beach - Excellent frontline seafood restaurant adjacent to Bournemouth Pier. Definitely not cheap, but aboard the beachfront decked area, about as close to dining Californian-style as you'll get in the UK!
  • Aruba - On Bournemouth Pier has a fantastic menu based on the caribbean with outstanding decor a must see when in Bournemouth.
  • Jumbo - All you can eat chinese, you'll eat plenty as the food is fantastic!
  • The Gallery Brasserie, Boscombe Spa Road, + 44 (0) 1202 396234, [13]. New Brasserie - Innovative menus, stunning views and comprehensive wine list.

Drink

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.

  • 1812 - A Jazz music night club in the first mansion in Bournemouth.
  • Crank [14] - Lounging in a stylish new night club in town centre.
  • Landmarc [15] - Fine dining and clubbing in a refurbished church.
  • 2930 The Triangle [16] - The biggest gay venue in Bournemouth, set over two floors.
  • The Gallery Bar (Gallery Bar), Boscombe Spa Road, + 44 (0) 1202 396234, [17]. Stylish Bar and Brasserie - spectacular views, great atmosphere with a wide range of drinks and cocktails.

Sleep

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.

  • The Chine Hotel, Boscombe Spa Road, [18]. checkin: 14.00; checkout: 11.00. Comfortable hotel with leisure facilities and choice of dining. Sea and garden views with easy access to beach and surf reef. From £45.00 per person.
  • Carrington House Hotel (Bournemouth), Knyveton Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH1 3QQ, 01202 369 988, [19]. checkin: 2pm; checkout: 11am. The Carrington House Hotel in Bournemouth is perfect for a short break, family holiday or relaxing weekend stay from which to explore the areas many attractions whatever the time of year. £40 - £60 per person.
  • The Wessex Hotel, West Cliff Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH2 5EU, 01202 551 911, [20]. checkin: 2pm; checkout: 11am. Situated on the prestigious Bournemouth West Cliff, the Wessex Hotel is just a short walk from the town centre, Bournemouth International Centre and Blue Flag beaches. £45-£65 pppn.

Budget

  • Bei Bournemouth Hotel [21] 3 star luxury hotel rooms from £25 a night, located near town centre.
  • Round Hotel Bournemouth [22] Hotel located near Bournemouth International Centre.
  • Russel Court - A cheap hotel in Bournemouth, is the Russel Court. At £35 per night, it's pretty reasonable. Handy for the beach too - just 200 metres away down Bath Road.
  • Travelodge - Christchurch Road near Derby Road offers budget accommodation from £49 per night (providing you book in advance!)
  • Premier Inn - New premier Inns are under construction further along Christchurch Road towards Boscombe Gardens and also on Poole Road in Westbourne.

Mid-range

Splurge

  • The Royal Bath Hotel near Westover Road, central to shopping and the beach.

Get out

  • Corfe Castle - approximately an hour and a half hour away by bus through Sandbanks, the 4th most expensive post code in the world and the Isle of Purbeck - part of a World Heritage coastal zone. Take the open top bus via the Sandbanks ferry in the summer for approx £5 from central Bournemouth and change at Swanage.


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