Are you searching for the best things to do in Bournemouth?
Bournemouth, the largest town in Dorset, has been a beloved “staycation” destination for countless holidaymakers across generations.
Its history ranges from being a humble spot frequented by fishermen and smugglers to transforming into a flourishing spa town during the Victorian era.
Today, Bournemouth warmly welcomes over five million visitors every year, enticing them with its stunning beaches, captivating attractions, and vibrant nightlife.
In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, we all yearn for a break from it all.
The toll of busy and stressful routines can impact us in various ways.
Plus, given the challenging financial climate, an extravagant overseas vacation might not be feasible for many.
This is where organising a few day trips can significantly elevate everyone’s happiness levels.
Bournemouth offers a diverse range of entertainment options that cater to people of all ages.
Here are twelve fantastic ideas that are sure to suit your preferences perfectly!
The Bournemouth PierZip is not for the faint-hearted or those with vertigo!
This is a wild attraction that is sure to get the adrenalin pumping.
If you fancy flying through the air on a zip wire over the famous Bournemouth Pier, this is just up your street. The 250-metre wire is 256 metres above the sea and brings you to a soft landing on the sandy beach.
The first Bournemouth Pier was constructed in 1856 however, there have been many replacements since the final one being in 1979 following a £1.7m restoration programme.
Today the pier receives hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
As well as the PierZip, you can enjoy fantastic views, visit the arcades, and slot machines, enjoy live entertainment, and book a session at the RockReef Adventure Activity Centre followed by lunch or dinner at the Pier’s restaurants and cafes.
Bournemouth Pleasure Gardens
The renowned Pleasure Gardens have garnered numerous national awards, and it’s easy to see why.
Boasting vibrant flower borders adorned with colourful bedding plants, majestic pine trees, graceful palms, and ornamental shrubs.
There are plenty of open grassy spaces, meandering pathways, cosy benches, and delightful picnic areas.
For art enthusiasts, there are bustling artists’ markets showcasing their creative works on certain days.
Plus, you can relax in comfortable deckchairs, and on lucky days, enjoy the melodies of brass band concerts at the charming bandstand.
There is more!
A miniature golf course and table tennis and of course, from the gardens, you can take a thrilling ride on the famous ‘Bournemouth Eye’ balloon, granting stunning aerial views of the area. The Pleasure Gardens truly offer an array of delightful experiences for all to enjoy.
Poole Harbour & Brownsea Island Cruise
The Poole Harbour & Brownsea Island Cruise is definitely a relaxing way to spend an hour and a half.
Departing from Poole Harbour, the 70-minute trip takes in several local landmarks including the Henty VIII castle, great views of the homes of the rich and famous along the Sandbanks Peninsular, a sail by of Furzey, Green, Long and Round Islands along with a very interesting commentary so that you get the very best out of the trip.
Right on the seafront, the Oceanarium is packed with thousands of incredible sea creatures including of course fish but also penguins, otters, turtles and even sharks!
You can have a guided tour and enjoy one of several feeding presentations.
An all-round family attraction.
The Upside-Down House
The Upside-Down House is an unusual attraction where everything is upside down.
An ideal one for a weird photo opportunity.
The two-storey house sits on its roof, when inside you can walk in the roof, walk up the walls and all the furniture is upside down.
This is a very quirky attraction and really good fun.
Open Top Bus Ride
The open-top bus is ideal for those who find walking difficult or if you just want to sit back, relax, and take in the sights.
You can hop on or off at any time, so it is a really flexible way to discover sights such as Bournemouth Pier, Sandbanks, and Poole Quay whilst enjoying the panoramic views surrounding Bournemouth.
Whilst the main Bournemouth beach is often the busiest, due to the many amenities, there are 10 miles of coastline within the town boundary.
Some beaches are much quieter. Hengistbury Head around 5 miles along the coast is an equally beautiful location to explore.
Middle Chine, Durley Chine and Fisherman’s Walk are just a few more places you might want to visit, and each has its unique offerings.
Situated at the bottom of Mountbatten Road, within the Westbourne area, the tropical gardens of Alum Chine are a true oasis.
designed and planted in the 1920s, the Alum Chine gardens underwent a re-landscaping in 1996, successfully preserving much of their original historic character.
gardens are also home to a fascinating collection of exotic plant specimens, there is a bowling green, woodland areas, and lots of places to sit and soak up the beauty of this location.
Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum
This impressive Victorian museum houses an extensive collection of art and artefacts from around the world.
The villa is packed with beautiful objects and the walls are lined with a remarkable collection of British art.
Additionally, there is a regular programme of exhibitions featuring both art and artefacts from the Russell-Cote’s own extensive collections, and talks, tours and events take place throughout the year.
Bournemouth Aviation Museum
The Bournemouth Aviation Museum is one for aviation enthusiasts.
Located next to Bournemouth International Airport, near the village of Hurn in Christchurch.
It houses a number of aircraft, aero engines, cockpits, and a limited number of ground vehicles.
Run entirely by dedicated volunteers you can climb into the cockpits of some iconic aircraft such as the Boeing 737, De Havilland Vampire, Hawker Hunter and many more.
A very interesting and informative museum for all ages.
Castlepoint Shopping Park
Covering a site of 41 acres, it is one of the largest retail parks in the UK.
Castlepoint offers a variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options to its visitors.
All the favourites are here; H&M, Accessorize, New Look, Boots, Clarks and many more stores combine to make Castle Point a go-to shopping location.
There is plenty of parking, so you don’t have to walk far to enjoy this amazing shopping experience.
East Cliff Railway
A short ride but an iconic feature, East Cliff Railway sits at both the eastern and western edges of Bournemouth Beach.
Getting to the beach is via gently sloping cliffs. While not overly high, they can be quite challenging to ascend, especially after a long day spent on the beach.
Fortunately, there’s a convenient solution – the Cliff Lift!
Along the bay, you’ll discover three historic funicular railways that connect the beach with the clifftop. With these Cliff Lifts, you can effortlessly ascend and save your energy for more enjoyable activities during your seaside adventure.
Ride the Land Train
The Bournemouth land train is one for the smaller children (and all you adults who are big kids at heart too)!
You can explore the seaside in style via one of the little trackless trains.
They offer the perfect mode of transport along the beach promenade, ensuring you can enjoy the scenic beauty without exhausting your energy.
The return journey over the East Overcliff provides an excellent opportunity to soak in the beautiful scenery.
The trains operate regularly from Bournemouth Pier to Alum Chine in the west, and from Bournemouth Pier to Boscombe Pier heading east. These adorable land trains are a big hit with young kids, making the journey even more enjoyable for families.
Hop aboard and let these cute land trains take you on a delightful ride along the coast, making your seaside exploration a memorable and leisurely experience.
The BH2 Leisure Complex
You can spend the whole day here, excellent when the weather is not so good.
Featuring a state-of-the-art 10-screen cinema, providing an immersive movie-watching experience with the latest film releases, bowling, arcade gaming area, shopping and a calendar of events and activities combine to make this a very popular attraction.
Nighttime Venues in Bournemouth
The town has had a reputation for being a hot spot for nighttime venues for many years and there are plenty to choose from:
- The Triangle area is known for its bustling nightlife, with various bars, pubs, and clubs offering a lively atmosphere and diverse music choices.
- Canvas is a trendy nightclub and live music venue offering a sophisticated ambience and a mix of genres, from jazz to electronic music.
- Cameo & My is one of Bournemouth’s largest and most famous nightclubs, hosting themed nights and featuring top DJs.
- Aruba is a very popular beachfront bar and club with a chilled-out vibe during the day and a vibrant atmosphere at night.
Are you Considering a Move to Bournemouth?
If you are, you are not alone.
Bournemouth has seen a steady influx of residents over the years, including students, families, young professionals, and retirees, making it a popular place to move to for people from different walks of life.
Moving to Bournemouth has plenty to offer; good connections, a coastal lifestyle and mild climate, extensive beaches, two great universities, and of course lots of things to do in your spare time.
With a history dating back to 1871, White & Company proudly stands as one of the UK’s oldest removal companies.
Throughout the years, we have remained a family-owned business, dedicated to providing our customers with a positive and seamless removal experience.
As founder members of the BAR (British Association of Removers), the removal industry’s mark of excellence, we offer you the added assurance of our commitment to the highest standards of service.
As BAR members, we undergo rigorous audits, ensuring that our services adhere to the strictest of standards.
From the moment you entrust us with your belongings to the final delivery at your new destination, you can rest assured that you will be well taken care of throughout the entire process.
At White & Company, we value our legacy of reliability, integrity, and excellence, and we look forward to providing you with a removal experience that surpasses your expectations.
Call us today to arrange for a removal survey either virtually, or via a personal visit to your home. This will be followed by a free-of-charge no obligations quotation.
Alternatively, you can complete our quick quote form online today.
We can also quote you for storing your belongings, whether it be for a few days or several months.
Max is a seasoned writer and blogger in the real estate and home moving sectors, as well as a knowledgeable source of information for expatriates living and working abroad. His detailed insights have helped thousands of people move and live abroad with greater simplicity and ease.