If you’re looking for a great day out in Bournemouth, look no further. There’s plenty to see and do for all ages.
Beaches are the main draw for visitors to Bournemouth, but it’s also got a thriving independent shopping scene, vast Victorian gardens and an exciting nightlife. Here are some of the best things to do in this Dorset town.
The Lower Gardens in Bournemouth are a great place to relax in the centre of town, with lots of seating options and plenty of things to see. It's also a popular spot for visitors to enjoy music and entertainment events, with bandstand concerts, candlelight nights and art exhibitions taking place here throughout the year.
The gardens run for over 3km and are divided into three main areas: the Lower, Central and Upper Gardens. Each offers a different setting and are popular with both visitors and locals.
During the summer months you'll find many food stands and arcades here, as well as a huge selection of games to keep children entertained. Older children and adults will love the Pier Zip, a zip-line that whisks them over the waters to the beach from a tower on the pier.
To the east of the gardens lie the Pleasure Gardens, a landscaped haven, designed in 1840 by the Meyrick family. It includes woodland areas, Mediterranean-style planting and views of the sea.
Whether you want to have fun on the beach, or just enjoy some outdoor activities, Bournemouth is the place for you. With seven miles of sandy beaches and an area of outstanding natural beauty, there's plenty to keep you busy.
Located next to the town centre, these gardens are home to many attractions for the whole family to enjoy. They have a fantastic play area, tennis courts and lovely flower and rose gardens.
It also has a mini golf course and an avery where you can see tropical birds, a bandstand and an outdoor art gallery.
The Lower Gardens run from the pier to the town centre and are packed with attractions such as a bandstand, mini golf, refreshment kiosks, an aviary, the Bournemouth Balloon ride (which goes up and down to 500 feet for views all over Bournemouth), art exhibitions and seasonal events like the Kids Free Festival and 100 year old Traditional Candlelight Illuminations.
Alum Chine is the largest of Bournemouth’s four chines and is surrounded by award-winning sandy beaches, a host of attractions and plenty of historic accommodation. It’s also a great place to take a stroll inland and enjoy the tropical gardens or the woodland path.
There’s also a children’s playground with Treasure Island-themed rides and slides, a paddling pool and views of Old Harry Rocks. Or you can enjoy a drink at the bar of nearby restaurant Vesuvio which has outdoor seating and boasts spectacular sea views.
If you’re not a keen walker then why not hop on the Land Train that runs along the Promenade during summer. The colourful trains stop at many of the top beaches in town.
Alum Chine Beach is a Blue Flag beach and has an imaginative Children’s Adventure Playground with Swings and Slides, a Toddler’s Paddling Pool and spectacular sea views towards Old Harry Rocks. It’s a popular spot for families and is dog-friendly all year round.
Hengistbury Head is a gorgeous nature reserve that juts out between Bournemouth and Mudeford. This sandstone cliff is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and is home to an array of rare plants and wildlife.
- Hengistbury is home to a new PS1 million visitor centre and is a great place for children to learn about the nature and history of the area. The new centre offers a range of interactive displays to help you explore the history, ecology and geology of Hengistbury Head.
- The headland is also home to many rare and endangered plants, insects and animals. Take a walk along the headland and you’ll be rewarded with fantastic views across Christchurch Harbour, the Isle of Wight and towards the New Forest.
- If you’re a fan of swimming, there are some lovely sandy beaches to enjoy here. And on a windy day, there’s no better way to pass the time than to fly a kite.