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Bournemouth [14] is a seaside resort town in the county of Dorset on the south coast of England. Bournemouth is known for its popularity with pensioners and has many residential care homes because of its constant and warm weather (relative to the rest of England). However, it is still possible to find vibrant nightlife and youthful activities like water sports.


Bournemouth's main Pier

Bournemouth’s resort 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, bathe 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 breathe in the healthy air. During the summer, the Pine Walk Open Air Art Exhibition is held here.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Unless travelling from the South-West of England most journeys by road will be via the M27 which turns into the dual-carriageway 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[edit]

Bournemouth Railway Station is located in the city centre on Holdenhurst Road, right opposite the main bus and coach station in Bournemouth, making it a useful hub for connecting between the two. Bournemouth is one of the the busiest railway stations in the South West, with numerous services to many destinations throughout the UK.

South Western Railway operate multiple services per hour to London Waterloo and other locations on the South coast, such as Poole, Weymouth and Southampton. 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[edit]

National Express Buses arrive into Bournemouth from all over the UK, with frequent services to London Victoria, calling at Ringwood and Southampton Central along the way. Fares can be as low as £5 if booked well in advance. Travelling to Bournemouth by bus is a much cheaper way to arrive than by train.

morebus operates local and cross-county bus services across the Bournemouth and Poole conurbation and beyond.

By plane[edit]

Bournemouth International Airport (IATA: BOH) [15] is located in Christchurch, 4 miles (6.5 km) from Bournemouth town centre. Airlines fly to/from European cities. It is operated by Regional and City Airports, the same company which runs Exeter and Norwich Airports. Each year the airport sees around 650,000 passengers travel through it, mostly for leisure reasons. Rising services to the airport mean that travelling to Bournemouth by air is no longer as difficult as it once used to be.


A few airlines fly directly into Bournemouth Airport [16] from various destinations throughout Europe. Ryanair dominates the destination list, operating to various European cities, including: Dublin, Prague, Malta, Krakow, Paphos and Tenerife to name a few. Scottish airline Loganair has recently added services to the Channel Islands. Easyjet offer a seasonal winter route to Geneva in Switzerland. TUI Airlines operate popular package holiday routes, such as to those in Spain, Portugal, Turkey and Greece.

Getting to/from the Airport[edit]

To travel between the airport and city centre, the bus is the cheapest option. Yellow Buses operate a 737 bus service, with their distinctive yellow coloured buses which run six times a day during the week, three times a day on Saturdays and twice a day on Sundays. These buses stop at Bournemouth Train Station, Winton, Moordown, Northbourne and Parley Cross before arriving at Gervis Place in the Town Centre. as of March 2019, a 24 hour ticket costs £4.40 and can be used on the entire Yellow Bus network. Info and timetables are available at the bus company's website: [17]

Getting to/from the airport by taxi is by far the quickest way to reach the town centre. Taxi is also a good option if you need to get to or from somewhere other than the city centre, or if you have a lot of luggage. Allow approximately £20 for a one-way trip between the airport and main train station.

Note that there is a £2.50 pick up and drop off fee for those wishing to arrive or depart at the airport by car.

Get Around[edit]

Bournemouth is small enough to walk around, but local bus services operate frequently within the city centre. Bus services are generally good (particularly in the East-West direction), but there is a wrinkle: the city is served by two companies who do not accept each other's tickets. However there is the Getting About ticket which is valid on the majority of bus services in Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch which is ideal if you want to use both bus companies bus services. They are the "yellow" Bournemouth buses, whose service extends to Christchurch and the east; and the "blue" morebus buses, whose routes extend more to Poole and the west. The main termini are at the rail station and the Square.

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.

The station is a hike (10 or 15 minutes, uphill) from the centre, so consider transport.


The Square is the name given to the open space where the Tourist Information office is, the main gardens are, the pier can be accessed, and the river Bourne empties (although it is not in fact particularly square). It is naturally the lowest point in central Bournemouth, so you can generally aim for it by walking downhill.

The main shopping area is due inland/north from the Square. Old Christchurch Road (note the 'Old') marks the upper limit of the main shopping area. Holdenhurst Road, leading from Old Christchurch Road to the station, is a student area of late-night takeaways. Christchurch Road (without the "Old") is a very long road leading out of the town centre to the town of the same name several miles to the west, with the Boscombe and Pokesdown strung along it.

West Cliff is the clifftop, seafront area overlooking the Square, where there is collection of upmarket hotels and the International Centre. The Triangle, Bournemouth's gay village and specialist shopping area, is up Commercial Road from the Square.

Further west is Westbourne, a very twee and cute area of boutiques and cafes, mostly along Seamoor Road, and its associated arcade. Popular with an older clientelle, it is not particularly jumping at night.

West Bournemouth eventually merges with Poole. About halfway between them and worth a visit is Lower Parkstone, a small area of specialist shops and trendy eateries that resembles a mini-Brighton.

Bournemouth's scruffy little brother to the east is Boscombe. The O2 Academy, and antique shops (particularly toward the Pokesdown end) are the main draws.

See[edit][add listing]

Bournemouth Beach

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[edit]

  • Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum - located on the Eastcliff. [18] 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.
  • The Atrium Art Gallery at Bournemouth University.


  • St.Peter's Church. The famous author Mary Shelley who wrote 'Frankenstein' is buried in the churchyard of this church along with the heart of her husband the Romantic poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley.
  • Bournemouth Hebrew Congregation built in 1905 in what would have been then a contemporary Art Nouveau take on the Moorish Revival style that was extremely popular for synagogues
  • Bournemouth Pier, includes an all-weather Indoor Activity Centre and the world's first Pier to Shore Zip Wire.
  • Upper Gardens award-winning park
  • Central Gardens award-winning park
  • Lower Gardens award-winning park
  • Meyrick Park
  • Queens Park Golf Courseaward-winning golf course and park
  • Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) hosts conferences and is the largest music venue in the town. The BIC has become a venue for a round of Premier League Darts in addition.
  • Boscomber Pier
  • Pavilion Theatre

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Bournemouth Oceanarium. [19] Hosts an impressive collection of animals, with an underwater walk through tunnel. Tickets cost £9.50 if booked beforehand, £12.50 if booked at the gate.
  • Bournemouth International Centre - concerts and exhibitions. [20]
  • Bournemouth Air festival [21]. Free, every August. Note that the town becomes heavily congested around the air festival, with over 1 million people making the journey to the town to watch the air festival. Plan your journey way in advance. 2019 will see the air festival held from the 29th August to the 1st September.
  • Bourne Free (Bournemouth's Pride Festival), Town Centre, 0845 463 9583, [1]. Bournemouth's annual gay pride festival Bourne Free. Now in it's sixth year.  edit
  • Explore the Chines, a series of picturesque ravines in the cliff. Can be combined with a stroll along the seafront.
  • Amusements, formerly Segaworld and the Leisure Exchange, is a large arcade, slotmachines and entertainment centre.
  • A.F.C. Bournemouth - watch a game of football. A.F.C. Bournemouth. are historically one of the oldest teams around, currently playing in the Premier League and playing some of the best football in the country. Cricket and bowls are played by a lot of locals and is easy to get involed in. Swimming, windsurfing and kitesurfing is popular as is (normal) surfing to a lesser extent.
  • [22]Tourism


Bournemouth is famous for its year round mild and temperate climate. The warmest months are May to September which is when you will enjoy long, hot and sunny days. It can get very cold in the depths of winter though, and will sometimes reach temperatures below zero. Bournemouth's annual rainfall is well below the national average. Take a look at the latest Bournemouth weather forecast before planning a trip.

Buy[edit][add listing]

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 easilly accessible by public transport, although there is little else to do in the area [23]

Eat[edit][add listing]

Bournemouth has many different restaurants suiting different tastes and budgets. The Old Christchurch Road at the "top" of the main shopping area has a string of low to mid-range eateries alternating with your orientated bars and clubs. There is another crop of eateries in the West Cliff area (around the International Centre), and in the Triangle, and in Westbourne. The number of takeaways in Bournemouth has also increased over the years, offering a cheap alternative to a restaurant meal.

  • Tonic Social, Exeter Rd, Bournemouth BH2 5BR, [2]. A new scene for casual drinks and light bites served under a central Pergola. Local Bites, crafts beers and curated playlists.  edit
  • BH2 Leisure Complex. (Exeter Crescent)[24]. Newly opened in early 2017, consisting of 13 "world-class" restaurants including: The Five Guys, Ask Italian, Prezzo and Las Iguanas. Located in the town centre.
  • Tapas Plus. (Bourne Avenue)[25]. Authentic, independent Spanish restuarant located between the Square and the Town Hall.
  • Aruba - On Bournemouth Pier has a fantastic menu based on the caribbean with outstanding decor a must see when in Bournemouth.
  • Crab [26].(Exeter Rd) Upmarket fish restaurant, opposite the BIC.
  • The Gallery Brasserie, Boscombe Spa Road, + 44 1202 396234, [3]. New Brasserie - Innovative menus, stunning views and comprehensive wine list.  edit
  • Ciao Restaurant, 144 Old Christchurch Rd, Bournemouth, BH1 1NL, +44 1202 555657, [4]. Open 11am-10-30pm 7 days a week. Independent Italian restaurant/cafe bar serving fresh hearty food, mussels, steak, bass, pizza, pasta & tapas.  edit
  • Dosa World (260 Old Christchurch Rd). South Indian restaurant with many unusual specialities. Good value lunchtime buffet.
  • Oriental Garden (105 Commercial Road). Affordable Chinese restaurant with super-authentic dim sum — crispy squid, deep-fried turnip paste, curried whelks, etc. Also a more typical menu.
  • Atlantic Fish Restuarant (6, The Triangle) Combines British Fish-and-Chips with a more continental approach in the sit-down section. Large portions mean good value.
  • 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!
  • Himalay (10 Queens Road). Indian restaurant and takeaway with unusual Nepalese specialities.
  • Chez Fred.[27] (Seamoor road, Westbourne) An excellent Fish and Chip restaurant and takeaway, as attested by long queues.
  • Isabel's. [28] (32 Station Road, Lower Parkstone) Romantic restaurant with reliable French cuisine in trendy Ashley Cross.
  • Urban Beach.[29] (Sea Road, Boscombe) A boutique hotel and trendy bistro between the High Street and Pier.
  • Picnic Box, Lansdowne Road, [5]. An artisan coffee house, specialising in superb sourdough toasties and bagels, along with freshly made salads. Modern industrial interior with good wifi. Located in Lansdowne, near university halls of residence.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

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 nightclubs, which are open every day of the week. On busy nights, roughly 40,000 people are out in Bournemouth. The Triangle area in Bournemouth (5 min walk up Commercial St from the main square) 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 O2 Academy in Boscombe. Old style pubs are at a premium in the centre with the emphasis more on trendy bars. Those fancying an ale pub crawl are advised to do by bus: the Goat, Porterhouse and Bermuda Triangle (see below) are all near bus stops.

  • Moon in the Square (Exeter Road). An outstanding Wetherspoon's when it is quiet, dreadful when it is not. It is in an old department store, with outside seating and great views of the gardens from its two floors, and a good selection of guest ales. Idiot central on Friday and Saturday nights, though,
  • 1812 - [30] A swanky jazz music night club in the first mansion in Bournemouth.
  • Goat and Tricycle.[31] The town's top real ale pub, located just off the Triangle and serving at least 10 varieties, also popular for its food.
  • Smokin' Aces.[32] A small "Cocktail Bar and Whisky Lounge" in the Triangle, with live acts.
  • Winchester (39 Poole Hill). A music and DJ venue. Rather peculiar, very dark inside with a rather cliquey crowd, but good acts.
  • Sixty Milion Postcards.[33] (Exeter Rd) Painfully hip and arty bar/bistro/club/live venue, in a building that looks like a huge, graffitied garage on the way to West Cliff from the Square. Definitely not for everybody (the toilets are downright disturbing).
  • Xchange The triangle. Alternative gay bar, generally smaller and seedier, open later (often do lockins until 6AM), all the bar staff are sassy transvestites. Recommended even if you a straight. As long as you can deal with the seediness, you will have a great time.
  • The Porterhouse[34] is a traditional pub (Ringwood's) in the cute and quaint Westbourne district, a little to the west of the centre.
  • The Bermuda Triangle (Parr St).[35] Wackilly decorated pub with ever-changing real ales. In the trendy Lower Parkstone district, well to the west of the centre.
  • Mr Kyps, (Parr St) [36] one of the area's top rock music venues is next door.
  • Old Fire Station. [37] Medium sized live entertainment venue in the Holdenhurst Road student land.
  • Chaplin's Wine Bar and Cellar bar, Boscombe High Street. This two-in-one venue offers some kind of live music most days of the week. Continental beers and acoustic music in the wine bar on top, real ale in the scruffy cellar, where the louder acts play.
  • O2 Academy (560 Christchurch Road) [38] The former Opera House is vies with the BIC as the town's main entertainment centre, with major acts and club nights.
  • Sound Circus (140-142 Holdenhurst Road) [39] Quite far out from the centre, near the train station, depending on the person, it is the best or theworst night out in Bournemouth. Sound Circus is a rock and metal bar that treats its self like a nightclub, which makes it a haven for a certain demographic. The club has a strong, friendly community and the option of either a wide selection of spirits or ridiculously cheap bad booze. The floor is disgustingly sticky, though.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

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.


  • Bei Bournemouth Hotel [40] 3 star luxury hotel rooms from £25 a night, located near town centre.
  • Round Hotel Bournemouth [41] 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.


  • The Chine Hotel, Boscombe Spa Road, 0845 337 1550, [6]. 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.  edit
  • Carrington House Hotel (Bournemouth), Knyveton Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH1 3QQ, +44 1202 369988, [7]. 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.  edit
  • The Wessex Hotel, West Cliff Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH2 5EU, +44 1202 551911, [8]. 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.  edit


  • The Hermitage Hotel, Exeter Road, 01202 557363, [9]. checkin: 14.30; checkout: 11.00. 4* Hotel, awarded AA rosette. From £87.00.  edit
  • Hilton Bournemouth, Terrace Road, 01202 804775, [10]. Situated adjacent to the newly opened BH2 leisure and dining complex, and a short 5 minute walk from the seafront. from £108.00. 4* Hotel..  edit
  • Langtry Manor Hotel and Lodge, Derby Road, East Cliff, Bournemouth, +44 (0)1202 553 887 (), [11]. built in 1877 by King Edward VII for his mistress Lillie Langtry and Langtry Lodge Holiday home of the earl of Derby former British Prime Minister. Four poster rooms, Jacuzzi baths, honeymoon suites, including The Gold cup in the Lodge and the Kings room in the Manor. Cream teas, contemporary dining with a twist - Six course Edwardian Banquet every Saturday.  edit
  • Ramada Encore Bournemouth, 22 Bath Road, 01202291266, [12]. Deluxe hotel accommodation, brilliant service, free WiFi and free car park with a supreme location in central Bournemouth.  edit
  • Mersham Court Hotel, 3 Russell Cotes Road, 4401202552111 (), [13]. The hotel offers spacious accommodations, meeting space, dining and free breakfast and WiFi.  edit

Stay safe[edit]

There is an absolutely incredible number of stag and hen parties passing through the centre during the summer, but they tend to be loud rather than dangerous. Drunken students tend to congregate in Old Christchurch Rd late at night, but it is safe the rest of the time.

In terms of crime, the Boscombe area has a large scale drug and prostitution problem, but that should not affect the average traveller. Parts of North Bournemouth, such as West/East Howe, Kinson and the Redhill area, have a reputation for anti-social behaviour, but they have been cleaned up, and the area is generally safe.

Get out[edit]

  • The very well-heeled town of Christchurch is about a 15 minute journey east of Bournemouth. It is a couple of hours of very pleasant walking along the cliffs. The Regent arts centre tends to be the main attraction. Note that if you do not Yacht, you may not fit in!
  • Poole, a similar distance to west boasts a long shopping street and the atmosphere of a working port and fishing town. It can be used a stop-off for a sea journey to Brownsea Island, Purbeck, Swanage etc. The Lighthouse arts centre is the cultural magnet.
  • 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. One option is to 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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