Best places to visit in Bournemouth

Lucy Whittington, aka as @LucyWhittington on Twitter, lives in Poole but previously lived in Bournemouth. When I requested tips on the best places to visit in the Bournemouth area, prior to my visit there in Autumn 2009, Lucy gave me so many tips that I’ve collated them into a guest post and added some of the photos I took during my visit.

“My absolute favourite place nearby is Brownsea Island, it’s lovely. You can get a boat from Sandbanks, Poole Harbour or Bournemouth Pier. They have an outdoor theatre there in summer, and lots of guided walks, things for kids, nature reserve too for birds etc. You could easily spend a whole day there.

Browsea Island Ferry

Brownsea Island Ferry by Hyougushi

Something you won’t miss is the Bournemouth Eye – the tethered balloon in the lower gardens: – it’s actually an amazing view up there and you can see for miles. Won’t fly if its windy though! Touristy yes, but it is a good view (try early morning for a longer and uncrowded flight).

Bournemouth Balloon

The Bournemouth Balloon

The Russell-Cotes Museum is under-rated but I like it and has some interesting things in it. Because its right next to the sea front it can be overlooked as somewhere to visit (what with the beach being right there and other more ‘touristy’ things to choose from) but its free and worth a look round.

Russell Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Bournemouth

Russell Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Bournemouth

You can learn to surf in Bournemouth. The new surf reef at Boscomble is nearly finished – worth a look along there to see the ‘regeneration’ with £100k beach huts etc (not joking! They are called ‘pods’). We’ve always liked Pier Point Restaurant just up the hill a little way from the pier .

Boscombe Pier, Bournemouth

Boscombe Pier, Bournemouth

Westbourne is a nice sub part of Bournemouth (can walk from town – about 40 minutes) and has some more interesting one off shops and places to eat. I recommend Basilica (opposite M&S food).

For eating and drinking in town itself here are my recommendations:

West Beach – expensive but you do get great food here and a cracking view (test it for coffee & cake or lunch).

The Print Room – worth going in just to see what they’ve done to the place! Fab cakes for afternoon tea. In old Bournemouth Echo Print Room (unsurprisingly!)

Tapas Plus – last shop along past Borders towards Town Hall – great family run Tapas place. Been there years. Love it!

If you don’t mind a walk along the prom towards Poole (about half an hour from Bournemouth pier) this is fab place to eat & drink: Branksome Beach – open all day from brekkie to dinner and everything in between.

If you think you’ll make it as far as Sandbanks then the restaurant in The Haven hotel does good value set meals and view to die for (right by the entrance to Poole Harbour)

And last but not least… Don’t forget its only 20 minutes on the train from Bournemouth (a fast train not the stopping service!) to the heart of The New Forest in Brockenhurst. You can walk or bike ride from the station here, or jump on the branch line to Lymington for a lovely day out.”

New Forest Ponies

New Forest Ponies by futureshape

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More Tips for Things to Do in England

We’ve plenty of travel tips for what to do in England, outside London.