24 Best Things to Do in Bournemouth

24 Best Things to Do in Bournemouth

Located along England’s southern coast, Bournemouth is a family-friendly seaside gem known for its long stretch of golden sandy beach and a host of wonderful seaside activities.

This busy seaside town is bursting with life day and night, offering a diverse range of activities and experiences for all ages.

Bournemouth’s nightlife is legendary, thanks in part to the many university students who bring energy to the local clubs, bars, and restaurants.

Whether you’re looking for a lively night out or a cosy pub, you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for in Bournemouth.

Stroll through the town centre, where a variety of shops offer the perfect opportunity for some retail therapy.

Festivals and events fill the town’s social calendar year-round, ensuring there’s always something happening, even during the bleak winter months.

Bournemouth’s “what’s on” program has something for everyone, from food festivals to art exhibitions and music concerts, locals and tourists flock to the town to enjoy a host of different events.

Whether you’re considering a permanent move to this lively town or are simply planning a memorable holiday, Bournemouth promises a blend of excitement, relaxation, and endless attractions.

Dive into 24 of the Best Things to Do in Bournemouth and discover why it remains a beloved destination for so many.

1. Bournemouth Beach

Bournemouth Beach

Bournemouth Beach is one of the town’s top attractions, particularly in the warm summer months.

Bournemouth Beach is the town’s crown jewel, stretching seven miles with golden sands and pristine waters, it is one of the most popular beaches not just in Dorset but the whole of the UK!

These sandy shores are perfect for both adults and children, whether sunbathing, swimming, or participating in the various water sports on offer, everyone is sure to enjoy a day out here.

The beach is also lined with cafes and restaurants, meaning you have everything you need for a full day of relaxation and fun right at your fingertips.

Locals and visitors absolutely adore the beach, with one user on Quora stating “The 9km length of glorious, sandy beaches… have been voted the best in the country.”

There really is no better place to be when the illusive British summer arrives!

2. Bournemouth Pier

A visit to Bournemouth isn’t complete without a stroll along the famous Bournemouth Pier.

This Victorian-era pier offers stunning views of the coastline, an amusement arcade, and, among other things to do, the UK’s first pier-to-shore zipline!

You will also find a trendy bar, restaurant and café located on the pier itself, perfect for a quick refreshment, snack or meal after a long day exploring this wonderful town.

The pier is a popular spot with locals and visitors alike, with one comment on TripAdvisor commending the excellent facilities, “The Pier has great facilities and lovely views over an amazing beach.”

One downside that many people have noted is the £1.50 payment required to gain access to the pier.

Whilst this is a reasonable price, many have noted that they only accept contactless payment, so be sure to bring your card!

3. Bournemouth PierZip

As we just mentioned, Bournemouth is home to the UK’s first pier zipline!

We felt that this unique attraction deserved some attention of its own, so here’s everything you need to know.

Firstly, keep in mind that the Bournemouth PierZip is not for the faint-hearted or those with vertigo!

This is a thrill-seeking attraction that is sure to get the adrenalin pumping, so if you fancy flying through the air on a zip wire over the famous Bournemouth Pier, this will be right up your street.

The 250-metre wire is 256 metres above the sea and brings you to a soft landing on the sandy beach.

Those visiting this attraction have praised the staff for their professionalism and friendly attitude, helping to ease the minds of many with last-minute jitters!

If you want to experience this one-off attraction you will have to plan accordingly as it is only open on the weekends.

4. Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum

The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum is perfect for those seeking a spot of culture.

This museum is housed in a beautiful Victorian villa right by the seafront and showcases an impressive collection of art and artefacts.

The mix of Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite art and artefacts from around the world make it a cultural highlight of the town and something any culture vultures like myself certainly don’t want to miss!

With exhibitions and workshops held throughout the year, there is always something interesting going on at the Russel-Cotes Art Galler & Museum.

Visitors have praised the reasonable pricing, at just £9.50 for an adult ticket, as well as the excellent location near the beach and lower gardens.

If you are considering a visit, be sure to check out some of the glowing Google reviews for a great insight.

5. Lower Gardens


Lower Gardens Bournemouth

The Lower Gardens are one of Bournemouth’s most loved areas.

Bournemouth’s Lower Gardens are a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of this often very busy town.

These award-winning Grade II Listed Gardens stretch from the town centre to the seafront and are the perfect spot for a leisurely walk or a family picnic.

The Gardens also offer plenty of activities to keep visitors busy, including live music at the Pine Walk bandstand, an aviary, a mini-golf course, and an art exhibition during the summer months.

In the colder winter months, the Lower Gardens’ stunning Christmas lights display are sure to warm the soul and is a must-see for locals and tourists alike.

With over 2,000 reviews and a 4.5 out of 5 rating on TripAdvisor, it’s clear that Bournemouth’s Lower Gardens are a top attraction.

6. Oceanarium


The Oceanarium is a great day out for all the family.

The Bournemouth Oceanarium is a must-visit attraction catering to families and animal lovers.

Home to hundreds of species of marine life, including sharks, turtles, and penguins, it offers an educational and entertaining experience for all ages – I certainly learned a thing or two on my visit!

Don’t be fooled by the small-looking exterior, the Oceanarium is much bigger than it looks, plus you can used your ticket multiple times in one day in case there’s anything you missed the first time round.

Fan favourite Carrie the Loggerhead Sea Turtle is well worth a second visit.

This is not just one of the best attractions in the town but also an educational experience not to be missed!

7. Hengistbury Head

For nature lovers, Hengistbury Head will be one of your favourite locations in Bournemouth.

This headland juts out into the English Channel and provides visitors with several beautiful walking trails through diverse ecosystems, from heathland to wetlands.

Forming part of the Christchurch Harbour Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), it was declared a Local Nature Reserve in May 1990 and has been thriving ever since.

It is an excellent place for birdwatching and enjoying panoramic views of the coastline and the beach is very popular with dog owners, as one TripAdvisor commenter highlights, “If you want to get out and about in the fresh air, this is the place to go and on the plus side it is very dog friendly.”

8. Boscombe Pier

A short half an hour stroll along from Bournemouth Pier you will find Boscombe Pier, a quieter alternative to its often packed neighbour.

Whilst not quite as flashy as the town’s main pier, this location is nonetheless worth a visit and is perfect for those who enjoy a spot of fishing.

Boscombe Pier has a certain vintage charm that you will undoubtedly notice, making it a lovely spot for a sunset stroll and fresh sea air.

A great spot to sit in the warmer summer months, you can observe the antics of the local surfers who gather here regularly.

Families paying the pier a visit have praised the ‘Musical Trail’ which includes a Bell Lyre, Tubular Bells and some bespoke Seaside Chimes, turning a walk along the pier into a unique sensory experience.

9. Westbourne



Westbourne is packed with boutique stores and great restaurants.

Westbourne is an upmarket coastal village located near Bournemouth that is home to a strong community feel that is sure to make you feel welcome.

The area has a reputation for being the fashion district of Bournemouth, which is reinforced by the many boutiques and home interior shops located in its main shopping area.

There are some lovely independent cafes to grab a refreshing drink in and the charming Westbourne Arcade, a Grade-II listed shopping arcade, houses a range of different stores including gift shops and restaurants.

Plus, the UK’s smallest cinema, Bournemouth Colosseum, which has only 19 seats, is located here, screening cult classics throughout the year.

10. Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre

This Art Deco theatre gives visitors a touch of history and elegance to accompany the production they are viewing.

The theatre hosts various performances throughout the year, including plays, musicals, and concerts with its historical charm and busy program making it a cultural hotspot.

Check out the upcoming schedule, there’s such a range of different shows that something is sure to appeal!

Whether you’re looking for a night out on the town or a place to host an event, the Bournemouth Pavilion offers something for everyone.

11. St. Peter’s Church

St Peter's Church

St Peter’s Church is an iconic landmark in the Bournemouth skyline.

St. Peter’s Church nestled in the heart of the town is a Gothic Revival masterpiece that is sure to appeal to a range of different people.

The Grade I listed building classed as a ‘major parish church’ designed by George Edmund Street and completed in 1879, has been described as ‘one of the richest Gothic Revival interiors in England’.

The 202-foot (62 m)-high spire is a landmark in Bournemouth Town Centre and upon exploring the church visitors will learn that it’s also the final resting place of Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein!

This seems very fitting thanks to its gorgeous gothic features, stunning architecture and a its eerily tranquil graveyard.

Standing proud in the centre of the town, St. Peter’s is hard to miss and is certainly worth a visit.

12. Compton Acres

Compton Acres is one of the finest privately owned gardens in England with residents of Bournemouth being lucky enough to have easy access to this stunning locale.

Founded in 1920 by Thomas William Simpson, an entrepreneur who became wealthy through the manufacture of margarine, it offers a variety of themed gardens, including Italian, Japanese, and Rock and water gardens.

Each of these different gardens combine to provide a well-rounded and peaceful retreat for visitors to enjoy, especially when you’re looking to slow things down and soak in the smaller beauties in life!

Exploring these enchanting gardens will appeal to visitors of all ages although it can get quite hilly in parts so those with accessibility problems may need someone to assist them.

Overall, Compton Acres is a wonderful location for those who enjoy soaking in some nature.

13. The Bournemouth International Centre (BIC)

The BIC is a premier conference and entertainment venue on the south coast.

Boasting a 7,500 capacity, it is one of the largest venues in the south of the UK and hosts a wide spectrum of events, from concerts and comedy shows to exhibitions and even some sports events.

The Bournemouth International Centre is packed with events all year round so be sure to see if anything catches your eye!

To further enhance the visitor experience, there’s a very nice restaurant, Elevate Brasserie, serving an array of fantastic food to complement your evening of live entertainment.

14. Ride the Cliff Lifts

Ride the Cliff Lifts

Ride the Cliff Lifts for a unique mode of transport and stunning coastal views.

No visit to Bournemouth is complete without a ride on its iconic lift.

The tram-like carriages on rails operate via a cable that moves them up and down the cliff face, even though the ride is short it is a very unique form of travel and a great way to experience the town.

Bournemouth’s historic cliff lifts provide a quick and scenic way to travel between the beach and the cliff tops, with the West Cliff Lift offering particularly stunning views of the coastline.

14. Southbourne Beach

For a more relaxed beach experience than the seemingly ever-busy Bournemouth Beach, head to Southbourne Beach instead.

It’s less crowded and commercialised than Bournemouth Beach whilst still offering beautiful sand, clear waters, and charming beachfront cafes that you would expect from a popular attraction.

A Blue Flag award-winning beach, it provides bathers with basic facilities such as toilets and several refreshment kiosks.

Most importantly, it is home to an RNLI lifeguard station, so help is always at hand!

No spot is without its faults and some visitors have said finding a parking spot can be tricky so keep in mind that you may need to arrive early when visiting the beach.

15. Argyll Gardens


Argyll Gardens

Argyll Gardens and the accompanying cafe are a welcome change of pace from the hectic town centre.

Argyll gardens are another of Bournemouth’s hidden gems when it comes to nature, offering beautifully landscaped areas perfect for a peaceful walk or a moment of reflection.

The area is particularly pretty in the spring when the flowers are in full bloom, plus, there is a lovely cafe with friendly staff who are happy to serve you a tasty treat or refreshing drink.

Classed as a Green Flag site, the garden’s pathways make a scenic walk down to the seafront and are worthy of a place on our list.

16. 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.

17. Poole Harbour

Poole Harbour

Poole Harbour and nearby Brownsea Island are a great choice for a day trip out of the town.

Home to some of the most expensive real estate in the UK, Poole Harbour is a fantastic place to spend some time unwinding.

A short drive from Bournemouth, Poole Harbour is a bustling area known for its water sports and boat trips.

It’s also the departure point for excursions to Brownsea Island which is owned by the National Trust.

Much of Brownsea Island is open to the public and includes areas of woodland and heath with a wide variety of wildlife and historically significant locations.

In fact, Brownsea Island is one of the very few locations in the UK where red squirrels survive in the wild!

Overall, Poole Harbour is an excellent location for a day trip from Bournemouth, with many people staying in Bournemouth choosing to head out and explore this exceptional area – just check out the range of excellent reviews!

18. The Upside-Down House

The Upside-Down House is a quirky and fun attraction where everything is, quite literally, upside down.

Perfect for a unique photo opportunity, this two-storey house is actually perched on its roof… they really nailed the assignment!

Inside, you can walk on the ceiling and climb walls, with all the furniture hanging above you.

It’s a surreal experience that is sure to delight visitors of all ages.

Guests have noted that the friendly staff go above and beyond when it comes to customer service, even giving tips and tricks for the best ways to get a great pic for your social media page!

Whether you’re looking for a laugh or just want some unusual photos, the Upside-Down House is a must-visit.

19. Evening 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.

20. Jurassic Coast Tours

Jurassic Coast

Jurassic Coast tours from Bournemouth offer scenic views and an in-depth look at this famous stretch of Britain.

Bournemouth serves as an excellent starting point for exploring the magnificent Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its ancient geological wonders.

Join a guided tour to visit iconic landmarks such as Durdle Door, a stunning natural limestone arch, and Lulworth Cove, famous for its unique circular bay and crystal-clear waters.

These tours not only offer breathtaking views but also provide fascinating insights into the area’s 185-million-year history where you will discover ancient fossils, explore hidden coves, and walk along scenic coastal paths.

There are plenty of options when it comes to guided tours, so be sure to pick one that ticks all of the boxes for you.

21. Open Top Bus Tour

An open-top bus tour is perfect for those who prefer to avoid walking or simply want to sit and relax while enjoying the many wonderful sights the town has to offer.

Providing great flexibility, you can hop on and off at any stop, making it a convenient way to explore key attractions like Bournemouth Pier, Sandbanks, and Poole Quay.

As you ride on one of the iconic buses, you’ll enjoy soaking in the panoramic views of Bournemouth’s stunning coastline, picturesque parks, and charming streets.

The open-air seating provides an unobstructed view, ideal for capturing memorable photos.

It’s a fun, leisurely way to discover Bournemouth’s highlights and who knows, you may learn a thing or two along the way!

22. Bournemouth Aviation Museum

The Bournemouth Aviation Museum is a must-visit spot in Bournemouth for aviation enthusiasts.

Located next to Bournemouth International Airport near the village of Hurn in Christchurch, this fascinating museum houses an impressive collection of aircraft, aero engines, and cockpits, along with a few ground vehicles.

Run entirely by passionate volunteers, the museum offers a unique hands-on experience where visitors can climb into the cockpits of iconic aircraft such as the Boeing 737, De Havilland Vampire, and Hawker Hunter!

Guests have praised the museum for its children-friendly, yet engaging atmosphere, check out some of the online reviews and you’ll quickly see what we mean!

It’s an engaging and educational destination for all ages, providing insights into the history of aviation and the chance to explore these magnificent machines up close.

23. Alum Chine

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.

24. Castlepoint Shopping Park

Fancy a spot of retail therapy?

Castlepoint Shopping Park covers a site of 41 acres, making it one of the largest retail parks in the UK!

Shoppers will find a variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options to suit all tastes and budgets, including many big-name brands; H&M, Accessorize, New Look, Boots, Clarks and many more.

On top of the excellent range of shops, there is also plenty of parking, so you don’t have to walk far to enjoy this amazing shopping experience.

Are you Considering a Move to Bournemouth?

White&Company Truck in Transit

White & Company Truck

Bournemouth is an ideal location for anyone seeking a thriving coastal town to call home.

Known for its extensive beaches, mild climate, and excellent connectivity, this town offers an abundance of activities and amenities, as you have seen in this guide to the best things to do in Bournemouth!

Whether you’re drawn by its two reputable universities or the myriads of leisure activities available, Bournemouth promises a fulfilling living experience.

When considering your move, and need a reliable company to transport your belongings, trust in the expertise of White & Company.

With a history dating back to 1871, we are proud to be one of the UK’s oldest removal companies.

Remaining a family-owned business, we are dedicated to providing our customers a positive and seamless removal experience.

Our team of removals experts in Bournemouth are here to assist with every aspect of your move so don’t be afraid to get in touch with us today and find out how we can help.

Simply complete our quick and easy contact for or give us a call!

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