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Best Things to Do in Bournemouth: A Comprehensive Guide to Memorable Experiences

There is an abundance of things to do in Bournemouth, so your problem will be deciding what to do first. Bournemouth is a popular coastal resort town on the south coast of England that offers a diverse range of activities and attractions for visitors of all interests. From iconic pier to beachfront fun, there are always exciting experiences to try. Let’s dive into what to see and do in Bournemouth that will make your visit truly memorable.

🤔 Is there much to do in Bournemouth?

The answer is undoubtedly yes!

Nestled along the southern coast of England, Bournemouth is a vibrant seaside town, often overshadowed by its more famous neighbours. However, there are many Bournemouth activities for travellers of all types. There are museums, galleries, amusement arcades, a climbing centre, beach-to-shore zip-wire, mini golf, play parks, beach huts, and an oceanarium. Whether you’re seeking relaxation on the beach, exploration of cultural sites, exhilarating watersports, or lively entertainment options, Bournemouth has something for everyone.

Bournemouth is best known for its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and bustling town centre. The town’s seven-mile stretch of sandy beaches, including the award-winning Bournemouth Beach, attracts sun-seekers and watersports enthusiasts alike. Additionally, Bournemouth is renowned for its Victorian architecture, picturesque gardens, and lively entertainment scene. With a rich history, diverse cultural offerings, and a welcoming atmosphere, Bournemouth has become a popular destination for tourists seeking relaxation and excitement by the sea.

🏖️ Places to Visit in Bournemouth

From the sun-kissed beaches that stretch along its coastline to the cultural delights in its museums and galleries, Bournemouth offers visitors a vibrant tapestry of experiences. Here are some of the Bournemouth tourist attractions worth visiting.

Bournemouth Beach

places to visit in bournemouth: bournemouth beach

Undoubtedly, the most famous place for sightseeing in Bournemouth has to be its long, beautiful, sandy beach. No visit to Bournemouth is complete without spending time at its award-winning beach. With seven miles of sandy shorelines, it’s the perfect spot for sunbathing, swimming, or simply enjoying the stunning views of the English Channel. Looking down from high up at the large white sand beach, a line of small beach huts in different colours lines the esplanade along the beach. The iconic Bournemouth Pier stretches out into the sea with vast swathes of sand on either side, as well as amusement arcades, chip shops, and ice cream stalls. Four fixed electric beach BBQs are available from early summer until October, between 10 am and 10 pm, on a first-come, first-served basis. To stay safe at the beach, always swim at a lifeguarded beach between the red and yellow flags and never swim alone.

Bournemouth Oceanarium

places to visit in bournemouth: oceanarium

Sitting right next to the beach, Bournemouth Oceanarium is one of the best family-friendly attractions in Bournemouth. It opens daily from 10 am to 6 pm. You can meet all kinds of aquatic life, including stunning sharks, striking stingrays, a magnificent Loggerhead turtle, adorable otters, cunning croc, menacing piranhas, colourful clownfish, eerie eels and Humboldt penguins! You can watch live feeding sessions and various talks. There’s also a brilliant underwater tunnel to get an up-close glimpse of sharks and rays. The Oceanarium has many educational events, not only about marine life and underwater habitats but also about the importance of conservation. They also have exhibits discussing climate change and the impact of litter on our oceans.

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

places to visit in bournemouth: russell cote art gallery and museum

In 1897, the architect John Frederick Fogerty was commissioned by Merton Russell-Cotes, then the owner of the Royal Bath Hotel, to build a house as a birthday present for his wife Annie. It was completed in its first form in 1901. The couple filled this exotic seaside villa with beautiful objects from their travels worldwide and lined the walls with a remarkable collection of British art, creating a unique atmosphere in a most dramatic setting. After their deaths, the Borough of Bournemouth took over the running of East Cliff Hall and re-opened it as the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, and it has become one of the most famous places to visit in Bournemouth. Step into a treasure trove of art and history at the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum to admire stunning artworks, explore fascinating exhibits, and delve into the lives of the collectors.

Lower Gardens

places to visit in bournemouth: lower gardens

Beginning at the seafront and stretching up through the town centre to the boundary with Poole, Bournemouth Gardens are sectioned into three main areas: The Upper Gardens, Central Gardens and Lower Gardens. The Lower Gardens, the most popular part, are only a five-minute walk from the main shopping centre, the beach and the pier. The gardens form a perfect connection between the town centre and the beach, with unusual plants which are all imaginatively landscaped. There are no fees or entrance charges. It is one of the best free things to do in Bournemouth, and you can take a good walk along its various flowers, plants, and places to enjoy along its paths. Year-round attractions include Classic mini golf, a bandstand, refreshment kiosks, a street food corner, an aviary, and art exhibitions

Bournemouth Aviation Museum

places to visit in bournemouth: bournemouth aviation museum
Opposite Bournemouth Airport is the Bournemouth Aviation Museum, one of the best attractions in Bournemouth for families, and there are viewing platforms so you can watch the planes take off and land. Unlike other museums, it offers a “hands-on” experience and welcomes visitors to climb into the cockpits and play with the controls. Imagine what it is like to be a pilot by handling the controls and flying away to wherever your imagination desires. Bournemouth Aviation Museum houses an impressive collection of planes and helicopters, such as Boeing 737s, fighter jets and Percival provosts. Fire trucks and buses can also be seen. It opens daily from 10 am to 5 pm. Adults £10, children £5, and under 3s go free. Outdoor seating and free parking are available.

Hengistbury Head

places to visit in bournemouth: hengistbury head

Hengistbury Head is at the eastern end of the wide bay on which Bournemouth sits and stands as a testament to the region’s rich heritage and ecological significance. It has many designations: a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Local Nature Reserve, a Special Area of Conservation, an Environmentally Sensitive Area, and more. Aside from being home to rare birds, animals and plants, the headland was also home to ancient people. Visitors to Hengistbury Head can explore its scenic trails, admire the imposing clay and ironstone cliffs, and soak in the stunning views of the English Channel. Walking along the beach should be among the best free things to do in Bournemouth. At one end of Hengistbury Head is Mudeford Sandbank, a spit of white sand stretching out into the sea, which is lined with pastel-painted beach huts.

🏨 Where to Stay in Bournemouth

Bournemouth has a variety of hotels, B&Bs, and more accommodation options. Whether you want a quick weekend getaway in the bustling town centre, a summer holiday by the sea with panoramic clifftop views, or accommodation during your study in Bournemouth, you’ll find somewhere to stay that’s perfect for you.

Hotels in Bournemouth

Many of our hotels in Bournemouth are located on our impressive coast. There are 2-, 3-, and 4-star options offering sea views within walking distance of the town centre, seafront, and main Bournemouth tourist attractions. Recommended hotels include the Green House, The Nici, Travelodge Bournemouth Seafront Hotel, and Langtry Manor.

where to stay in bournemouth: the green house

B&Bs and Guesthouses in Bournemouth

For a more personal touch to your holiday, bed and breakfast or guesthouse stays allow you to choose your dining options. Many are run by experienced owners who offer a more intimate and traditional service, often with homemade breakfasts that are truly unrivalled in quality. You can experience the British warmth and charm and pick up ideas for what to see and do in Bournemouth on your days ahead from fellow holidaymakers.

Caravan and Camping in Bournemouth

Perfect for intrepid explorers and anyone who loves the great outdoors, the campsites around Bournemouth let you get close to nature. Whether you’ve got your own touring caravan or are looking for a holiday break in a caravan, lodge, or chalet, there are several caravan and holiday parks on the coast surrounding Bournemouth. Why not try a yurt, a shepherd’s hut, or Beach Lodges?

Student Accommodation in Bournemouth

student accommodation in bournemouth

If you are a student at Bournemouth University or other institutions, student accommodation in Bournemouth would be more affordable and perfect for you. You can check the website uhomes.com for professional services and accommodation options that are convenient, safe, and cost-effective. There are different types of rooms to meet your various needs, and we’ll help you find your ideal accommodation.

🏄🏻‍♀️ Fun Things to Do in Bournemouth

This vibrant seaside town offers an array of activities that cater to every type of traveller. Explore some of the most enjoyable and unusual things to do in Bournemouth.

Have Fun in the Upside Down House

fun things to do in bournemouth: upside down house

Have you ever stepped into an illusionistic house? Explore the Upside Down House, where everything is inverted, and capture mind-bending photos. This zero-gravity illusion experience is one of the best things to do in Bournemouth for families. Designers have carefully selected the exterior colour, “Ocean Blue“, to complement Bournemouth’s beautiful seafront. Local talents have also provided their own artwork, which is available to purchase. £7.95 per person, and children aged three and under go free.

Attention: Motion sickness may apply due to the house being at a slant.

Take a Ride on the Cliff Lifts

fun things to do in bournemouth: cliff lifts
The eastern and western ends of Bournemouth Beach are backed by some steep cliffs, where you can enjoy the most beautiful sightseeing in Bournemouth. Although not too high, these can be a pain to walk up – especially after a long day on the beach. Cliff Lifts offer easy access from the beach to the cliff tops as well as stunning views of the coast. The lifts running on tracks are actually classed as light railways, so jump on board for the most unusual railway journey of your life. It costs just £2.2 for an adult, £1.7 for a child, and free for under 5s.

Brave the PierZip at RockReef

fun things to do in bournemouth: pierzip

RockReef Indoor Activity Attraction is located at the end of Bournemouth Pier. RockReef is an all-year, all-weather attraction based on adventure sports and includes 28 Clip ’n Climb fun, themed indoor climbing walls providing varying degrees of exciting challenges. For adventurous visitors, at the top of the list of Bournemouth activities, there has to be the world’s first pier-to-shore zip wire; with a 250-metre dual wire, you can race your family or friends to the shore. From £17 for a single rider to £30 for dual riders, prices vary according to season.

Play VR Games

fun things to do in bournemouth: centre vr
One of the fun things to do in Bournemouth is to swap city sightseeing for an out-of-this-world experience at Center VR. This is Europe’s largest virtual reality venue, with 30 stations equipped with some of the best VR headsets available. There are more than 100 games to choose from, including Doctor Who, Tower Tag, Job Simulator, Space Pirate Trainer, and Predator. In addition to games, there are musical activities, creative experiences, and adventures to enjoy.

Laugh at Jaggers Comedy Club

fun things to do in bournemouth: jaggers comedy club

With a lineup of talented comedians, Jaggers Comedy Club offers hilarious performances, creating an evening filled with laughter and good vibes. Hosted at Canvas Nightclub, Jaggers combines top-notch comedy with a stylish and sophisticated ambience. The two-hour extravaganza is not to be missed for a hilarious evening and is one of the most popular things to do in Bournemouth for couples. If you are going on the first date in Bournemouth, is there a better way to break the ice?

📕 Conclusion

Bournemouth tourist attractions offer a perfect blend of relaxation, adventure, and culture. From the sun-drenched beaches to the thriving arts scene, Bournemouth has a magnetic charm that beckons travellers. Whether you’re there for a weekend or an extended stay, you will never run out of things to do in Bournemouth.

🙋 FAQ

Absolutely YES! Known for its stunning sandy beaches, vibrant entertainment scene, beautiful gardens, and various outdoor activities, Bournemouth offers something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to relax by the sea, explore the local culture, enjoy watersports, or indulge in delicious dining options, Bournemouth has it all.

Bournemouth is best known for being one of the UK’s best seaside resorts, boasting sandy beaches, a traditional pier, and a mix of traditional and contemporary activities. Its vibrant music culture also makes it a popular destination for major gigs and concerts, earning it a reputation as a hub for entertainment and leisure outside of London.

It takes approximately 20 minutes to walk from Bournemouth Station to Bournemouth Beach. While the distance can vary depending on the specific starting point and route taken, this estimation provides a general idea of the walking time between the two locations.

Yes. The pier offers various attractions, activities, and amenities for visitors, which may require the purchase of tickets or passes. It’s advisable to check the official Bournemouth Pier website or inquire on-site for the most up-to-date details regarding fees and entry requirements.

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