Welcome to our Bournemouth Guide
As one of the seaside hotspots in the UK, Bournemouth attracts hoards of visitors every year, and with the help of our guide to Bournemouth your trip can be one to remember. With seven miles of golden sands and sparkling sea, the vibrant cosmopolitan town of Bournemouth has it all - a vast variety of shops, restaurants and hotels, a buzzing nightlife and endless countryside with beautiful award winning gardens and water sports galore. A true British seaside resort with everything you need to create the perfect coastal short break, Bournemouth is a must visit.
Whatever the weather, the large choice of attractions and places of interest in Bournemouth means there’s always something exciting to do. From cycling around the promenade to indulging in some culture at the Russell-CotesArt Gallery and Museum, however you wish to spend your day there’ll be something to keep you busy. With over 250 restaurants you’ll need our Bournemouth guide to help you narrow it down, and with so much choice there’s plenty to please everyone, even something to tempt even the most discerning connoisseur. Fresh local seafood and of course, a great big portion of fish & chips are the specialty here, but there are plenty of international restaurants to suit all tastes. A multitude of nightclubs, pubs and cocktail bars wait for those who like a good night out, and with the stunning coast on your doorstep escaping the crowds is easy too.
Must do's by day
Do the Pier to Pier walk and enjoy the gorgeous coast
Explore the tropical gardens at Alum Chine
Be brave and try some exciting watersports
Must do's by night
Hit the International Centre for a great show
Take an evening stroll along the promenade
Have a laugh at Funnybone Comedy Club
Travelling to Bournemouth
Set on England’s south coast Bournemouth has excellent transport links throughout the country. With good train links, road connections and an airport it’s easy to get to no matter where you are travelling from.
Bournemouth has great train links throughout the UK, with several train providers offering services to the town. It is just an hour and a half from London and is superbly located for exploring Dorset and the South West.
Centrally located on the Dorset coast, Bournemouth is at the heart of a network of roads. With motorway access from the M3, and a host of A roads, including the A31 and A35, travelling to Bournemouth by road is simple.
Bournemouth Airport and Southampton Airport both provide excellent links to the town. With over 30 destinations internationally via Bournemouth Airport and 50 domestic & international destinations through Southampton Airport.
Getting Around in Bournemouth
Bournemouth’s compact town centre is easy to navigate. From the beautiful beaches to the Victorian Gardens there is plenty to explore. With superb bus services and picturesque bike paths getting out and about couldn’t be easier.
Bournemouth operates a great bus service offering easy access throughout the area plus with a Night Bus service running on Friday and Saturday through until 5am it’s the perfect way to get about.
From airport transfers to local taxi journeys, Bournemouth has a great selection of taxi firms to keep you on the move. To avoid un-reliable services check with your hotel in Bournemouth for their preferred service or have them book you a taxi.
There are plenty of beautiful cycle routes to enjoy in Bournemouth. From the beach promenade to the New Forest and the Poole Heritage Cycle Route there are plenty of reasons to get on your bike.
Getting to Bournemouth
Located on the south coast of England, Bournemouth boasts excellent transport links throughout the country. With good train links, road connections and an airport it’s easy to get to no matter where you are travelling from. Most road journeys will be taken via the M27 passing through the New Forest. It is strongly advised to either get there very early or even arrive the evening beforehand otherwise you will be sitting in traffic for a considerable length of time on the A31. There are frequent trains running from London, Manchester and Birmingham.
By RailBournemouth is well served by the rail network with two railway stations in the Borough - the main Bournemouth station and Pokesdown to the East. Crosscountry trains provide an excellent train service to and from various locations around the UK. Many train operators provide a comprehensive service to London Waterloo with a journey time of as little as 97 minutes. Other train lines serve destinations to the North with direct trains to Reading, Oxford, Birmingham & the Midlands, Manchester and the Northwest, Yorkshire (Sheffield, Leeds, York), Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland. Bournemouth is accessible from all parts of the UK by train - check your local station for the best route to take.
By RoadBournemouth is easily accessible by car, however why not consider leaving the car at home and making the most of Bournemouth's fantastic transport links? If you do decide to travel by car to the South Coast's premier resort make sure you plan your journey ahead of time and look into visiting the surrounding areas like the New Forest, Stonehenge and Salisbury. All of these places can also be visited by local tours, bus and coach services. Bournemouth is at the heart of a network of roads with motorway access from the M3, and a host of A roads, including the A31 and A35
By AirBournemouth Airport is a key national and international gateway to Southern England, annually serving around 600,000 passengers and 36 destinations. Bournemouth Airport and Southampton Airport both provide excellent links to the town and surrounding areas, and following a recent £45m makeover, the customer experience is of a high quality.
Getting Around Bournemouth
Thanks to its compact town centre, Bournemouth is easy to navigate. Whether it’s walking around on foot along the stunning promenades and beaches, or hiring a bike for a picturesque ride through the country, travelling around Bournemouth is a treat. With superb bus services and reasonable taxi fares, public transport isn’t the hassle it is in some cities. Make the most of what’s available and see as much of this beautiful destination as you can.
By BusBournemouth operates a great bus service offering easy access throughout the area plus with a Night Bus service running on Friday and Saturday through until 5am it’s the perfect way to get about. The two bus companies that operate in Bournemouth are run by Yellow Buses and Wilts and Dorset. Most of their services are every half an hour and serve Christchurch, Wimborne and Poole.
By TaxiFrom airport transfers to local taxi journeys, Bournemouth has a great selection of taxi firms to keep you on the move. To avoid un-reliable services check with your hotel in Bournemouth for their preferred service or have them book you a taxi. Taxi services in Bournemouth are cheap for short journeys, with an initial charge of approximately £2. It is best to call for a cab, or queue at a rank near Holdenhurst for the best fare.
By BikeFrom scenic flats to strenuous hill rides, Bournemouth and the Dorset area is a magnet for cyclists. There are also several bike hire options if you haven’t got your own, making life easy. Bike hire and cycling is great for groups and can easily be catered for if organised in advance. There are plenty of beautiful cycle routes to enjoy in Bournemouth. From the beach promenade to the New Forest and the Poole Heritage Cycle Route there are plenty of reasons to get on your bike.
Shopping in Bournemouth
Bournemouth offers the shopper a fabulous day out full of great options for some retail therapy. Most of the town centre is pedestrianised with shops, boutiques, restaurants, cafes and coffee shops, so why no dip into the Avenue Shopping Centre to check out the latest in music, games, perfume and fashion, or venture into the old town centre, set against award winning gardens? Westbourne is an elegant district of Bournemouth located on the way to Poole and known affectionately as “The Village”. Offering a mix of design specialists, beauty stores and delicious delis and restaurants. Boscombe is another area of Bournemouth that should be explored for the quirky gift or bargain.
Top 5 Specialist Shops in Bournemouth
Giggi Gelateria, 10 Burlington Arcade, Bournemouth BH1 2HZ, England
Boasting what is claimed to be the best ice cream in England, Giggi Gelateria draws in thousands of visitors every year.
What Alice Found, 805 Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, BH7 6AP
An unusual vintage boutique, offering both men's and women's fashions, accessories and homeware, What Alice Found is a real treasure trove.
Up & Running, 442, Wimborne Road, Winton, Bournemouth, BH9 2HB
Bournemouth’s leading running and fitness shop, Up & Running can offer shoppers and informal but informative insight into what’s the best route for them.
Hollywood, 35 Castle Lane West Bournemouth, Dorset BH9 3LH
With an amazing ray of costumes and fancy-dress, Hollywood is the perfect place for some fun and laughter on your stay.
Russell & Bromley, 13-14 Westover Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH1 2BY
As one of the most successful British family brands Russell & Bromley and heralded as a leading force in luxury footwear and handbags.
Top 5 Best Shops in Bournemouth
Coastal Creatives, 103 Southbourne Grove Southbourne BH6 3QY
Enjoy the recycled and unique arts on show or even commission your own piece. From seaside pottery to colourful jewellery, there’s lots to explore here.
House of Fraser, 24 Old Christchurch Road
With a huge host of brands available throughout the department store, there’s lots to keep everyone buy. In the centre of town it’s easy to reach too.
Westbourne Arcade, Poole Road
A wonderful mix of fashion boutiques and quirky gift stores, book shops and toy shops, this is the perfect retail destination for those bored of the high street chains.
Boscombe Vintage Market, The Royal Arcade
Showcasing some of the best vintage fashion, art, crafts and collectibles from local businesses in and around Bournemouth, this great market is held under two marquees at The Crescent, Boscombe.
Castlepoint Shopping Park, Castle Lane West, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH8 9UZ
The largest shopping park in the UK with many of the biggest stores in the region. It’s home to dozens of large High Street brands as well as restaurants and cafes.
Eating out in Bournemouth
As one of the UK’s most beautiful seaside destinations, you’d expect the seafood to be of the highest quality – It doesn’t disappoint. Fresh from the coastlines of Britain, crab, mussels and a whole host of fish is available daily. Alongside the delicious catch of the day is a great range of local restaurants, well-loved chain eateries and tasty take-out food to enjoy as you stroll the promenades. With over 250 restaurants covering all corners of gastronomic tastes, there’ll be something to keep even the pickiest of eaters happy.
Top 5 Treat Yourself Restaurants
Koh Thai Tapas Restaurant, Daimler House, 38-40 Poole Hill, Bournemouth
Breaking the mould, this cool and urban restaurant encapsulates the authenticity of Thai cuisine with a unique twist.
The Crab at Bournemouth, Exeter Road, Bournemouth
The Crab at Bournemouth is Dorset’s finest AA rated two rosette seafood restaurant. Just moments from the pier, you won’t find seafood any fresher.
Langtry’s Restaurant at Langtry Manor, 26 Derby Road, East Cliff
Langtry's is the only fine dining establishment located within a royal manor previously owned and occupied by King Edward VII and his mistress Lillie Langtry.
The Terrace Bistro, Pavilion Theatre, Westover Road
The Terrace offers stunning views across the LowerGardens towards the bay. From the outdoor terrace seating area or behind the glass fronted exterior, enjoy a selection of local dishes and quality wines.
Highcliff Grill, St. Michael's Road, West Cliff, BH2 5DU
A popular seafood grill offering award winning cuisine in a breathtaking cliff top location. With the freshest seafood and most succulent steaks, boasting panoramic sea views across the bay, the Highcliff Grill provides the perfect ambience for relaxed dining.
Top 5 Family Restaurants
The Green Room, The Green House, 4 Grove Road
The Green Room’s ethos is of sustainability, finesse and passion. Using the freshest produce sourced from a 50 mile radius.
Bournemouth Pizza Co, St Swithun's Road
A firm favourite with locals and visitors alike, the Bournemouth Pizza Co have perfected the crispy base and offer strong, simple food for the whole family.
Chez Fred, 10 Seamoor Road, Westbourne
Voted ‘Britain’s Best Fish & Chip Shop’, diners can look forward to generous cuts of succulent fish coated in Fred's delicious top secret recipe batter.
La Stalla Restaurant, 270a Wallisdown Road
It doesn't look like much, but this superb Italian trattoria is incredibly popular, inspiring locals and visitors alike to return time and time again.
The Salad Centre, 667 Christchurch Road, Bournemouth
The dishes created here use only pure and natural ingredients. Highly popular with vegetarians and free from all artificial preservatives.
As a seaside destination you may be mistaken in thinking nightlife in Bournemouth is nothing special, but with such a rich vein of culture and entertainment galore, there’s always something to be doing. From concerts in the International Centre, to national Theatre shows in The Pavilion, there’s something for all tastes. If you don’t fancy sitting down all night, why not take in the beautiful scenery as it glows in the lights. Stroll along the promenade or go for a romantic walk on the beach. Whatever you do in Bournemouth, it’ll be special.
Top 10 Bournemouth Nightlife
Funnybone Comedy Club, 14 Queens Road, Bournemouth BH2 6BE, England
Enjoy the fun and laughter that echoes around the Funnybone comedy club, a great way to end an evening.
O2 Academy Bournemouth, Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, BH1 4BH
An excellent place to catch a gig, this Grade-II listed building regularly hosts big stars from the indie music scene.
Bournemouth International Centre, Exeter Rd, Bournemouth BH2 5BH, England
From world class bands to local performance groups, the International Centre is a great place for talent.
Laser Quest, Glen Fern Rd | The Old Super Bowl, Bournemouth BH1 2LZ, England
Take the whole family for a round of laser quest and see who’s got the best aim. Fun for all ages.
Odeon Cinema, 35 - 43 Westover Road, Bournemouth BH1 2BZ , England
Enjoy a great range of the latest big budget hits, along with some delicious sugary popcorn.
Pavilion Theatre, Westover Road, Bournemouth
As well as being used as an exhibition centre, local theatre groups and well known actors all join together here for some truly inspirational performances.
Take a stroll, take in the sea air and get as many photos as you can of this beautiful coastline.
Pavilion Dance, Westover Road, Bournemouth
Fancy trying something new? Get yourself to the Pavilion Dance studio and learn something completely different. You only live once.
Bournemouth Eye Balloon Flight
The best way to see just how beautiful the area is, especially with a sunset and candlelit champagne tour.
Try The Local Cuisine
The best thing about Bournemouth is the seafood. Visit the huge variety of restaurants available and sample the most amazing tastes you’ll find in Britain.
There’s a huge selection of bars, pubs and clubs in Bournemouth that make it a great destination for a night out regardless of your tastes. From live music venues to traditional real-ale pubs, dance-mad nightclubs to classy cocktail bars, there’s a great choice for you to explore. For something a little more unique, head to Heroes Karaoke Bar for an evening of entertainment and probably a few laughs along the way.
Top 10 Bournemouth Bars
Sixty Million Postcards, 19 – 21 Exeter Road, Bournemouth, BH2 5AF
A lively bar and club with great food and even some art exhibitions to boot. Very popular with locals and visitors alike.
Rubyz, Beacon Road, Bournemouth, BH2 5DB
A fun night out, this cabaret bar is famed for its flamboyant drag performances and a great place to grab a cocktail.
Walkabout, 156-164 Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, BH1 1NL
Bournemouth’s favourite live sports bar, Walkabout plays all of the big games and offers food and drink all day.
Flirt Café Bar, 21 The Triangle, Bournemouth,BH2 5RG
With an uber cool interior and unique style, Flirt is the hottest place to be when in Bournemouth
Bar So, Exeter Road, Bournemouth, BH2 5AG
Winners of the 2008 BEST BAR NONE award for Bournemouth, Bar So offers a contemporary feel with its dual level design and extensive terraced areas.
Lola Lo Tiki Bar, 3 Richmond Hill, Bournemouth, BH2 6HE
This popular themed bar will take you to Hawaii for the night - with fruity cocktails and fun events most nights of the week, Bournemouth's bright young things come to party here.
Aruba, Pier Approach, Bournemouth, BH2 5AA
A vibrant fusion of great food, drinks and atmosphere on the seafront, Aruba boasts the most elegant atmosphere around.
Heroes Karaoke Bar, 284 - 292 Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth,BH1 1PH
It's great fun and even if you're not the next Christina Aguilera the fully stocked bar and comfortable seating make it a great place to visit.
The Litten Tree, 209-215 Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, BH1 1JZ
The place to be sports enthusiasts. With ten plasma screens and three extra large screens, you can be anywhere in the bar and never miss a second.
Bar:[ME], 134-136 Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, BH1 1NL
Together with an unbeatable party atmosphere, Bar Me has awesome resident DJs throughout the week and their very own photographers.
As one of the UK’s most popular seaside destinations, Bournemouth’s beaches are an obvious highlight of what it has to offer. However, there is a lot more to the destination than what meets the eye. For the adventurous type there’s high wire assault courses and mountainous ski slopes to manoeuvre. For the animal lovers there’s a whole park dedicated to the care of chimpanzees, and for those wishing to enjoy the scenery there are a whole host of options just waiting for you to discover.
Top 10 Bournemouth Attractions
Monkey World, Longthorns Wareham, Dorset BH20 6HH
65 acres of sanctuary for over 150 chimpanzees, Monkey World is a brilliant experience for the whole family.
Go Ape, Moors Valley Country Park Horton Road, Ashley Heath, Hampshire BH24 2ET
Continuing the monkey theme, why not climb high up into the trees and test your nerve across the forest high wires.
Christchurch Ski and Leisure Centre, Matchams Lane, Hurn, Christchurch, Dorset, BH23 6AW
Whether you’re an experienced skier or a complete novice, the Snowtrax centre gives you a taste of the action at whatever speed you want.
Oceanarium, Pier Approach West Beach, Bournemouth, Dorset BH2 5AA
The oceanarium brings you face to face with creatures of our own waters and from around the world.
Brownsea Island, Poole, Dorset BH13 7EE
Offering spectacular views and ideal picnic areas, BrownseaIsland is a perfect family day out.
Farmer Palmer’s, Wareham Road, Organford, Poole, Dorset BH16 6EU
From feeding the piglets to meeting a whole host of animals, this wonderful farm is a great experience for young children.
Compton Acres, 164 Canford Cliffs Road Poole, Dorset BH13 7ES
As well as its beautiful ten acres of gardens, there are exciting shopping opportunities, restaurants, a delicatessen and regular events.
Bournemouth Eye, The LowerGardens, BH1 2AQ
This giant, helium filled balloon lifts visitors 500 feet up into the air for a spectacular look at Bournemouth.
Splashdown, Tower Park Leisure Complex Poole, Dorset BH12 4NY
With fantastic rides, slides and pools this attraction is definitely one of the most fun around.
Adventure Wonderland, Merritown Lane Christchurch, Hurn, Christchurch, Dorset BH23 6BA
If you're a would-be Pirate, an intrepid Explorer, a Mad Hatter or just a plain old fashioned Fun Lover, then you and your family have got a real treat in store at Adventure Wonderland.