Fun things to do in Bournemouth

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Most Viewed Things to Do in Bournemouth

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    Undercliff Promenade and ZigZag Ways

    by ettiewyn Updated May 13, 2012

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    There is a nice promenade above the beach which leads along the whole length of the beach within the borders of the city centre. I really recommend a walk along here as it provides the most beautiful views of the sea and the beach. Several hotels and the Russell Cotes Museum are also located here.
    The promenade is connected to the beach by various ZigZag Ways (I saw that name in the city map and therefore think that this is the official name). These ways lead up to the promenade in a zig zag pattern. It is quite strenuous to walk up here, though, as it is quite steep.
    Both on the eastern and on the western promenade there is a funicular that takes you up, but I have not done this.

    Picture 1: The view to the east
    Picture 2: Walking up a ZigZag Way
    Picture 3: One of the funiculars
    Picture 4: The promenade, and reflections on my lens ;-)
    Picture 5: The view to the west, with the pier

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    Old Harry Rocks

    by ettiewyn Updated May 15, 2012

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    If you are on the beach and look to the right, you will see some very special looking rocks. These are Old Harry Rocks, two big chalk stacks that you can see from almost every point at the coast in this region.

    Old Harry Rocks are located on the Isle of Purbeck and they form the most easterly point of the Jurassic Coast - this world heritage designated area starts here and goes all the way up to Exmouth in the west. Here in the east, there is the youngest part of the coast, and Old Harry Rocks are about 65 mio years old. The rocks were made by erosion - the permanent movement and pressure of the sea slowly erodes the coast and parts of it break down, while some parts that are sturdier are left to stand. These rocks originally were an arch, the middle part of the arch broke down, though and left only these few pillars.

    Old Harry Rocks is quite a funny name, I think. There are two theories as to how this name developed: One is connected to a story of the devil who slept on these rocks, Old Harry is just another name for the devil. Another story says that the rocks were named after a pirate who lived in Poole.

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    Day trips by train

    by ettiewyn Updated May 13, 2012

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    I made a base in Bournemouth for nine days, but only spent three days in the town itself - on all other days I made day trips to other places. While I did one guided tour, I did the rest of the trips by train on my own.

    The first one was to Dorchester where I visited the biggest iron age hill fort in Europe, Maiden Castle, explored the Roman heritage of the town and visited a few other interesting places.
    The next day, I went to Winchester to see its fantastic cathedral with Jane Austen's grave, and many other great attractions this town has to offer.
    The day after that I went to Winchester again, but took a bus to Chawton to see Jane Austen's House, the great Chawton House and the local church and then walked to Alton, the neighbouring town where there are more Jane Austen connections.
    My next trip was to Lyme Regis which was a bit further away, but which was a fantastic and beautiful place with its archaeological sights and a special atmosphere, and of course more Jane Austen links..
    My last trip was to Bath, quite far away, too, but I just wanted to go there again. I had already been there for one day, but wanted to revisit to see more of its beautiful architecture and its museums and uhm... see more Jane Austen things LOL :-)

    I can absolutely recommend the trips to Dorchester, Winchester and Chawton/Alton - the train only takes about an hour to Dorchester and Winchester, so it is very easily done.
    I am also happy that I went to Lyme Regis and Bath, but would not recommend it to everybody - the train journeys take about three hours to those places and are quite expensive, so I think most people would not like to do this.

    Picture 1 & 5: Winchester Cathedral
    Picture 2: Lyme Regis
    Picture 3: Maiden Castle, Dorchester
    Picture 4: Jane Austen's House, Chawton

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture

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    Poole Harbour

    by ettiewyn Updated May 15, 2012

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    In the beginning of the Jurassic Coast day trip, we took the ferry from Poole Harbour to the Isle of Purbeck, and therefore visited Poole Harbour. Ok, strictly speaking this of course belongs to Poole and not to Bournemouth, but I don't want to build a Poole page just because I saw two places there, and have not even been to the centre of the town. ;-)

    Poole Harbour is a large natural harbour and with 36squ.km, it is one of the biggest in the world. Our guide told as that it is second only to Sydney Harbour - I am not sure because there are evidently several huge harbours in the world, but well, Poole Harbour is certainly one of the larger ones. It is only very shallow, though (the average depth is only 48cm).
    There are several islands within the harbour, the most popular one being Brownsea Island. It is not an important harbour for trading anymore, but there are still ferries stopping here, as well as yachts and small private boats. While the town of Poole is located in the northern side of the harbour, the others sides are mostly nature reserves and protected areas.

    As mentioned before, we took the small car ferry to the Isle of Purbeck. The passage only takes a few minutes, and it is much faster than driving around the whole length of the harbour would be. While we waited for the ferry, we had some time to wander around the shore and have a quick look. It was quite chilly and I did not feel good because I still recovered from a heavy cold, but I enjoyed the atmosphere.

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    Bournemouth Arcade

    by ettiewyn Written May 22, 2012

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    While walking through Bournemouth's city centre, I suddenly found the beautiful Bournemouth Arcade. I couldn't resist having a look - I like those arcades because they are not common in Germany, and I love their look, as if they were out of a BBC period drama :-)
    This one is particularly nice because it does not only have a pretty interior, but the exterior is very elegant and impressive as well.
    The arcade was constructed from 1866 to 1872 and today is still used as a shopping arcade, you can for example find a Waterstone's bookshop there.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

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    Guided tour to the Jurassic Coast

    by ettiewyn Updated May 28, 2012

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    It was actually VT's fault that I wanted to see some rural places around Dorset - I had seen some pages about those place here and just HAD to visit Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door and Corfe Castle. The question was just how to do it - I don't like driving, and public transport is not good in this region, although it would have been possible.
    I googled and found a guided tour that included exactly the places I wanted to see, and a few others. The company and itinerary looked good, and so I booked it.

    The itinerary was: Ferry from Poole Harbour to the Isle of Purbeck - Studland Beach - Swanage - cliff top walk at Durlston Country Park - Corfe Castle - Kimmeridge (fossil hunting) - Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door, Man O'War

    It was a beautiful day and I enjoyed everything we saw and did, it was simply stunning and the itinerary was very good. Unfortunately, though, the guide was not good and in fact one of the worst guides I ever had. However, I still believe that it is a good company. They sent a questionnaire about the tour afterwards and I wrote that the guide was not good, and they got back to me asking for further details. They were very friendly and promised to talk about it with the guide. I had the impression that they really cared about my feedback. Thus, I would definitely book with this company again.

    I did the "Jurassic Coast" tour with them, but they also have a few others on offer, for example one to the Isle of Wight, one to the New Forest, and several "Express Tours" to places like Oxford and Bath. All tours leave from Bournemouth. The tours are small group tours in a small bus with no more than sixteen passengers.

    Their website is: www.discoverdorset.co.uk

    Picture 1 & 2: Man O'War and Durdle Door in Lulworth
    Picture 3 & 4: Corfe Castle
    Picture 5: Clifftop Walk in Durlston Country Park, Swanage

    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Beaches

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    Aboard the Dorset Belles

    by Gerrem Written May 22, 2006

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    The Dorset Belles have been a familiar sight around the Dorset coastal waters since 1975. Every year thousands of passengers enjoy a chartered cruise, and see the beauty of the coastline and local landmarks from a different angle.

    Related to:
    • Study Abroad
    • Family Travel

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    Go For A Beer or 16!! The Goat and Tricycle

    by johngayton Updated Aug 31, 2009

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    If you like a drop of proper beer then seek out The Goat and Trike. This slightly-out-of-town pub is owned by the Wiltshire brewery Wadworth (best known for their 6X) and whilst they always stock at least 5 of their own brews they also stock up to 11 guest ales from independent small breweries around the country. It's almost like visiting a mini beer festival!

    The pub itself is characterful with its impressive Poole Pottery frontage and internal proper pub decor. It offers a good menu of reasonably-priced homecooked food and generally the staff are pleasant and professional.

    On the half-a-dozen times I've visited the beer (whatever was on offer at the time) has always been spot-on but somehow the ambience always fails to excite - that's because no-one talks to each other unless they know them.

    But worth a visit anyway (just bring your own company).

    Pub Frontage Detail - Ornate Tiling From Poole Pottery (??)
    Related to:
    • Food and Dining
    • Beer Tasting

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    Walking And Cycling Along The Coast

    by johngayton Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The roughly 12 mile stretch of coast between Sandbanks and Christchurch form part of the National Cycle Route 2 and most of this is off road and level. This is pleasant route, whether walking or cycling, however it should be noted that some seafront sections are prohibited to cyclists during the peak periods of 10 am to 6 pm during July and August.

    There are plenty of cycle hire places in the area, including one on the seafront between the piers.

    Link below has excellent map showing cycle routes (off-road sections in green) and the red stars denote cycle hire locations.

    Cycle Route Signage
    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Cycling

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    Coastal walk - Old Harry Rocks

    by queenpud Written Oct 13, 2007

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    Distance 3.5 miles
    From the car park of studland vilage walk down road past Bankes Arms pub, go
    left on the path signed Old Harry. Keep on this path looking out for the following
    features:
    1. The public house in Studland village
    2. Ancient coppice woodland such as Warren Wood and Studland Wood
    3. The famous chalk stalks, the outermost is Old Harry named after a pirate
    4. South side of Ballard Down, a wide range of chalk grassland flowers such
    as the wild thyme in spring and summer
    5. Glebeland Estate, an old church farmland
    At the end of the track turn right and walk along the road. When you see a wooden
    stile, take a left which leads you to the car park

    N.B. Some steep ascents/descents, not suitable for wheelchairs. Climbs are mostly gentle

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    Coastal walk - Durdle door & Lulworth cove

    by queenpud Updated Oct 13, 2007

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    Distance 2 miles
    This circular walk starts from the Durdle Door car park by taking the downhill inland route to the Heritage Centre at Lulworth Cove. The walk then continues over a steep hill to Durdle Door. From Durdle Door the walk returns to the car park.

    This walk can take much longer than expected as there is so much to see and enjoy. Allow time to explore the Heritage Centre, Lulworth Cove and surrounding area, then maybe spend some time on the beach near Durdle Door.

    The views you get are breathtaking. They are truly superb and gorgeous.

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    barbeque at Alum Chine

    by SORHUS Written Jul 18, 2005

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    one evening we pack our bags with food and headed for the beach for a bbq
    it was so nice and relaxing after all our driving the last days
    u cant bbq anywhere on the beach and its very important to clean up after one is done for the evening

    bournemouth
    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Road Trip
    • Study Abroad

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  • Deserted Promenade

    by reeka Written Nov 5, 2003

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    When you walk along the beach front you'll see rows upon rows of beachhuts, some look quite tatty really, but then there are those which look alright. The time of year when the photo was taken it was out of season, and harldy a soul is there. All the huts locked up.

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    Dance in the middle of a field!

    by gammo_go_lightly Written Jun 2, 2004

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    Once a year ravers from Bournemouth bomb up the M3 to Homelands - the southerm outdoor rave event that invades the once quiet respectable Winchester and infiltrates its once nightly (and slightly more freaky) residents into a field off the A31 for an all night extravaganza!

    People from all over the UK make their way down for the event that starts around lunchtime on the saturday of the bank holiday at the end of May, and throughout the course of the evening the casualties are driven back to town on the Homelands bus, with the final headcases not resting till way past dawn.

    Not for the feint of heart - Homelands is an opportunity to experience the cream of UK dance music and scream "hi mum!" at judge jules as his banging set plays live over radio one.

    Its not a cheap night... but for anyone too young to have dabbled at the free parties of days gone but young enough to still enjoy the sound of techno battering their ear drums whilst having enough energy to bang about not questioning the rain shower in the hot tents that keeps your rising body temperatures cool... then i'd give it ago.

    just remember that funfair rides do not come as recommended... well, at least they're not when you're whizzing around upside down stellared up to the eyeballs... realising that the salt you can taste on your lips might just have something to do with that "rain" coming off the tent's ceilings.... or has it?

    much fun :o)

    Homelands

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    New craze? Crazy crazy-golf

    by Broquers Updated Nov 1, 2003

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    Is this the new British craze? Pub closing time had come and gone and after a night on the town we decided to walk home via the gardens in Bournemouth. We noticed that the crazy golf course was still floodlit, and paid less than £2 each to the lovely guys who operate the crazy golf course to let us have a round of golf. My pre-conception of crazy golf was of a blue rinse activity also popular with young families. Little did I expect to see so many people of my age having a complete laugh. we had an hilarious time trying to hit the balls into the holes and I'll be back again soon! Highly recommended activity post pub!

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