With seven miles of golden sand and frequently warmer than average temperatures, the vibrant, cosmopolitan town of Bournemouth has it all. As well as a vast array of shops, restaurants, cliff-top hotels, bed and breakfast accommodation, the UK’s premier destination boasts historic gardens, an award-winning seafront and a buzzing nightlife.
Bournemouth’s excellent transport links, including an airport and trains direct from London Waterloo, make it the perfect base for exploring the history, heritage and picture-perfect scenery of Dorset. Surrounded by rolling countryside, Bournemouth also enjoys 2,000 acres of parks and gardens located in the centre of the resort. The Lower, Central and Upper Gardens are Grade II listed and date back to the Victorian era.
Meanwhile, Bournemouth seafront features four Blue Flag beaches, two iconic piers and almost 2,000 beach huts, as well as the resort’s distinctive land trains and cliff lifts. The Fisherman’s Walk Cliff Lift made it into the 2015 Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s shortest funicular!
Bournemouth is now known worldwide for its programme of free festivals and events all year round. In spring, Bournemouth Wheels Festival roars into action with displays and demonstrations featuring monster trucks, supercars and quad bike stunts. August welcomes the internationally-renowned annual Bournemouth Air Festival, when the skies come alive with four days of day and night air displays as well as on-the-ground entertainment. To top off the season, Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival takes place in October, showcasing cultural delights from the world of music, film, dance, arts and performance.
For art lovers and culture vultures, Bournemouth also boasts one of the UK’s most impressive historic museum houses. The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum is a unique exotic, Victorian villa, nestled on the cliff-top overlooking seven miles of golden coastline. Built by Annie and Merton Russell-Cotes – in a location expressly chosen for its breathtaking vantage point and views over the bay – the house displays more than 1,000 artefacts and artworks including Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s masterpiece ‘Venus Verticordia’. The truly eclectic collection showcases a unique selection of paintings and works from around the globe, as well as thought-provoking exhibitions.
While in Bournemouth, holidaymakers and residents alike have a wide range of attractions on their doorstep. Now a well established world-class venue, the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) hosts pop concerts, conferences and exhibitions throughout the year, while the Pavilion Theatre hosts West End shows, dance performances and pantomimes. There is also plenty to keep ‘outdoorsy’ types amused — from energetic watersports to more leisurely pursuits on the area’s scenic golf courses and lush bowling greens.
To the east of Bournemouth – and just a 25-minute walk along the seafront – lies Boscombe and the home of the UK’s first and only Coastal Activity Park. Stretching over 1km either side of Boscombe pier, the park provides the perfect setting for strolls along the prom or on the sand. There are lots of free activities for visitors to enjoy as the weather improves, including bouldering, slack-lining, table tennis and swingball, as well as a musical trail and outdoor gym. The park also offers instructor-led sessions and facilities for sea and land-based activities, including surfing, paddle-boarding, sea kayaking and beach sports such as volleyball and football.
A sublime mix of evocative Victorian history alongside modern living, Bournemouth is a bustling yet picturesque destination with a wealth of accommodation and activities to suit all tastes and budgets.
For more information, visit bournemouth.co.uk.