A traditional English seaside town with wide sandy beaches and spectacular coastal views. Located on the Dorset south coast, Bournemouth enjoys a mild sunny climate, with a lower than average rainfall during the spring and summer.

Bournemouth Beach and Pier
Bournemouth Beach and Pier (by Naomi Booth)

Bournemouth began life as a group fishermen's huts, huddled around the mouth of a small stream (Bourn or Burn). It became popular as a resort town around the middle of the last century, championed by a number of noted businessmen and entrepreneurs. By 1900, the town's population rose to nearly 60,000, and has continued to grow to become one of the largest seaside resorts in the UK.

This popular British holiday destination is blessed with over 6 miles of golden sandy beaches, backed by attractive sandstone cliffs. The bustling town centre, with its broad traffic-free promenades, provides a good range of shops, hotels and places to stay.

In addition to the the usual seaside amusements and arcades, Bournemouth offers an fine selection of attractions and entertainment, including spacious parks and gardens, a traditional Victorian pier, several museums, theatres and cinemas, a pavilion/conference centre and a world famous symphony orchestra.

The recently restored Victorian pier dates back to 1880 and still plays a key role as one of the resort's main attractions. Visitors can enjoy a varied selection of amenities and retail outlets, including a pier to shore zip wire and a family amusement and entertainment complex.

Bournemouth's sandy shoreline is backed by dramatic 100 foot cliffs, that can be navigated by lifts, steps and zigzag pathways. The cliff-top paths and drives provide panoramic views over the bay and towards the Isle of Purbeck in the west. The Red Arrows Memorial, on East Overcliff Drive, is particularly worth visiting.

The town's beautiful church of St Stephen's, built between 1881 and 1908 in an Early English style, has lovely stained glass by Clayton and Bell.

Bournemouth Parks and Gardens

The Bourne valley (or Chine) runs through the centre of town, creating an attractive ribbon of parks and gardens. The Lower, Centre and Upper Gardens link together to provide an attractive green corridor, bordering the Bourne stream as it flows to the seafront. The gardens are intertwined with pleasant footpaths and lined by mature trees and shrubs, including many scented pines and magnificent flowering cherry trees. The Central Gardens, in particular, are renowned for their spring displays of azaleas, rhododendrons and magnolias.

Meyrick Park, located on the western side of Bournemouth, spreads out across hundreds of acres of heathland, part of which is a golf course. Queens Park, to the north east, is a large landscaped parkland area with views over the New Forest.

Places of Interest to Visit in Bournemouth

Bournemouth Oceanarium

Enjoy a fascinating voyage to an undersea world and experience a wide range of colourful sea creatures, from dainty clownfish and mysterious lion fish to sinister Blacktip reef sharks. Also home to penguins, otters and turtles. Daily feeding schedule and talks.

Opening times: daily from 10am to 6pm - Admission Charge
Location: Pier Approach, Bournemouth BH2 5AA
Tel: 01202 311993
Website: oceanarium.co.uk

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum

This interesting example of Victorian architecture contains period rooms, where you can peruse a wide and varied collection of Victoriana, put together by Sir Merton and Lady Annie Russell-Cotes. Exhibits include paintings, oriental art, sculpture, period furniture, ceramics and other world-wide collections and contemporary works.

Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm - Admission Charge
Location: East Cliff Promenade, Bournemouth BH1 3AA
Website: russellcotes.com

Map of Bournemouth


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