town in the ceremonial county of Dorset, England

Bournemouth is a seaside resort town in the county of Dorset on the south coast of England. Bournemouth is known for its popularity with pensioners and has many residential care homes due to its constant and warm weather (by English terms). However, it is still possible to find vibrant nightlife and youthful activities like watersports.

Bournemouth Beach
Bournemouth's main Pier

Understand edit

Bournemouth's spa magic has been revitalised and history is repeating itself. A century ago the cream of Victorian society including royalty flocked to Bournemouth's pine forest landscape of luxurious villas.

They were eager to sample the relaxing ambience of the town, breathe its healthy air, bathe in the pure seawater and unwind at leisure. In Tess of the D'Urbervilles Thomas Hardy generously described Bournemouth (alias Sandbourne) as "a Mediterranean lounging place on the English Channel". The aroma and perfume of the pine trees were considered health-giving and many a famous person came here to take advantage of it including J.R.R. Tolkien and D.H. Lawrence.

The first spa hotel was built in 1885: the Mont Dore Hotel (now Bournemouth's Town Hall). Apart from luxury rooms and tennis courts, the hotel also offered the Mont Dore cure which was said to be a healing water and could not be found anywhere else in England. Sea and pure water from the Bourne stream were pumped into the basement of the hotel to allow the additional luxury of soaking and perspiring in Turkish and salt baths.

Since then, Bournemouth has grown into a thriving seaside resort and many of the big hotels offer spa treatments of their own as well as spa and beauty boutiques peppered throughout the town centre catering for men and women.

The pine trees still exist and visitors can still stroll through Pine Walk in Bournemouth Gardens today to breath in the healthy air. During the summer, the Pine Walk Open Air Art Exhibition is held here.

Bournemouth's growing population of students, gays and surfers have given it a more bohemian image than a typical south coast retirement town, leading to the nickname "BoMo".

Climate edit

Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation+Snow totals in mm
Source: Wikipedia. Visit the Met Office for a five day forecast.
Imperial conversion
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation+Snow totals in inches

Bournemouth is famous for its year-round mild and temperate climate. The warmest months are May to September which is when you will enjoy long, hot and sunny days. It can get very cold in the depths of winter though, and will sometimes reach temperatures below zero. Bournemouth's annual rainfall is well below the national average.

Get in edit

By car edit

Unless travelling from the South-West of England most journeys by road will be via the M27 which turns into the dual-carriageway A31 and passes through the New Forest. At Ringwood look for the (A338) Bournemouth exit.

Care is necessary when entering into Bournemouth on the Wessex Way as there are numerous speed cameras.

Only those with a penchant for long queues of congestion should think about arriving at mid-day/early afternoon on a warm and sunny day! 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.

By train edit

1 Bournemouth station is served by South Western Railway trains from London Waterloo and other locations on the South coast, such as Poole and Weymouth. It is served by express and semi-fast services which continue to Weymouth, and a slow service which terminates in Poole.

CrossCountry trains from Manchester via Birmingham New Street terminate at Bournemouth, some trains arrive from other cities like Nottingham and Newcastle. Summer sees a wider variety of places linked directly to Bournemouth.

By bus edit

National Express Bus from London direct (approx. 2½ hours).

By taxi edit

There are a couple of Bournmouth based taxi companies providing long distance transfers from major airports, towns, bus and rail stations to Bournemouth.

By plane edit

  • 2 Bournemouth Airport (BOH IATA), Hurn. A few airlines fly directly into Bournemouth Airport from various destinations throughout Europe.    

Bournemouth Airport has no train station however shuttle bus services operate.

You can fly to Southampton Airport and take the train into Bournemouth (35-45 min £12.50).

Get around edit

Map of Bournemouth

Bournemouth is small enough to walk around, but a local bus service operates frequently within the town centre.

The main bus operator is the "blue" More buses, whose routes extend over the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area. The main stops are at the rail station and the Square.

Taxis are available.

The station is a hike (10 or 15 minutes, uphill) from the centre, so consider transport.

Orientation edit

The Square is the name given to the open space where the Tourist Information office is, the main gardens are, the pier can be accessed, and the river Bourne empties (although it is not in fact particularly square). It is naturally the lowest point in central Bournemouth, so you can generally aim for it by walking downhill.

The main shopping area is due inland/north from the Square. Old Christchurch Road (note the 'Old') marks the upper limit of the main shopping area. Holdenhurst Road, leading from Old Christchurch Road to the station, is a student area of late-night takeaways. Christchurch Road (without the "Old") is a very long road leading out of the town centre to the town of the same name several miles to the west, with the Boscombe and Pokesdown strung along it.

West Cliff is the clifftop, seafront area overlooking the Square, where there is collection of upmarket hotels and the International Centre.

The Triangle, Bournemouth's gay village and specialist shopping area, is up Commercial Road from the Square.

Further west is Westbourne, a very twee and cute area of boutiques and cafes, mostly along Seamoor Road, and its associated arcade. Popular with an older clientelle, it is not particularly jumping at night.

West Bournemouth eventually merges with Poole. About halfway between them and worth a visit is Lower Parkstone, a small area of specialist shops and trendy eateries that resembles a mini-Brighton.

Boscombe, an up-and-coming suburb of Bournemouth is to the east which has pleasant Victorian architecture and a selection of shops and eateries. The O2 Academy, and antique shops (particularly toward the Pokesdown end) are the main draws

See edit

Bournemouth Beach

Bournemouth is famous for its 7 miles of golden sandy beaches and clean seas. The beach has retained the international Blue Flag award status since it was introduced in 1996 and in 2011 also secured 4 Blue Flag awards for Alum Chine beach, Durley Chine beach, Fisherman’s Walk beach and Southbourne beach.

The Pier is almost in the middle of the beach and offers a small fair, boat trips, an arcade, a café/bar and some other shops.

Museums and galleries edit

  • 1 Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Russell Cotes Rd, BH1 3AA (on the Eastcliff), +44 1202 451800, . Tu-Su 10AM-5PM. This museum and gallery has some wonderful collections of 19th-century art and Japanese artifacts. The interior of the museum is worth seeing because it is lavishly decorated and shows the Victorian interests in eccentric collecting and other cultures, especially Japan and China. Admission free.    
  • 2 TheGallery, Wallisdown, Poole, BH12 5HH, +44 1202 533011, . At the Arts University Bournemouth. It runs artist talks, school workshops, events and film nights to support the exhibition programme.
  • 3 The Atrium Gallery, Poole House, Bournemouth University, Fern Barrow, Poole, BH12 5BB, +44 1202 961428.

Landmarks edit

Do edit

  • 1 Oceanarium Bournemouth, Pier Approach, BH2 5AA, +44 1202 311993. 10AM-6PM.    
  • 2 Pavilion Theatre, Westover Rd, BH1 2BU, +44 1202 451870.    
  • Chines. Explore a series of picturesque ravines in the cliff. Can be combined with a stroll along the seafront.
  • 3 Fun Central, 45-47 Westover Rd, BH1 2BZ, +44 1202 555552. A large arcade, slot machines and entertainment centre.
  • Football: 4 AFC Bournemouth, King's Park Drive BH7 7AF (one mile east of centre off A338), +44 1202 726300. "The Cherries" were promoted in 2022 and now play soccer in the Premier League, England's top tier. Their Dean Court (aka Vitality) Stadium has only 11,360 capacity and the club are looking to build a replacement. AFC Bournemouth are not to be confused with Bournemouth FC, "The Poppies", way way down in the county leagues.    
  • Cricket and bowls are played by a lot of locals and are easy to get involved in.
  • Swimming, windsurfing and kite-surfing are popular as is regular surfing to a lesser extent.

Events edit

Buy edit

Bournemouth has a good range of shops with mainly well known high street outlets in the centre but also many independent shops. Examples of large stores are Dingles and Marks & Spencers. The Boscombe area is well known for its many antique shops and for those who are into designer, vintage, and specialist clothes, Westbourne offers a good variety of designer boutiques.

For out of town shopping the massive Castlepoint Shopping centre is easily accessible by public transport, although there is little else to do in the area.

  • 1 Consortium, 8 Albert Rd, BH1 1BZ. Independent skate, streetwear and sneaker store.

Eat edit

Bournemouth has many different restaurants suiting different tastes and budgets. The Old Christchurch Road at the "top" of the main shopping area has a string of low to mid-range eateries alternating with your orientated bars and clubs. There is another crop of eateries in the West Cliff area (around the International Centre), and in the Triangle, and in Westbourne. The number of takeaways in Bournemouth has also increased over the years, offering a cheap alternative to a restaurant meal.

Budget edit

In the city centre you find the usual chain restaurants like JD Wetherspoon, Taco Bell, Greggs (bakery) and Franco Manca.

  • 1 Tapas Plus, 53 Bourne Ave. Authentic, independent Spanish restaurant, between the Square and the Town Hall.
  • 2 Oriental Delight, 105 Commercial Road. Affordable Chinese restaurant with super-authentic dim sum — crispy squid, deep-fried turnip paste, curried whelks, etc. Also a more typical menu.
  • 3 Kokoro, 53 Old Christchurch Rd. Japanese
  • 4 Roosters Piri Piri, 262 Old Christchurch Rd.
  • 5 Aroma Bournemouth, 14-16 Holdenhurst Rd.
  • 6 Olive Cafe, 50A Poole Hill.
  • 7 Mad Cucumber, 7 The Triangle. Vegan

Mid-range edit

  • 8 Aruba, Pier Approach. Fantastic Caribbean menu with outstanding decor a must see when in Bournemouth.
  • 9 Dosa World, 260 Old Christchurch Rd. South Indian restaurant with many unusual specialities. Good value lunchtime buffet. £10-20.
  • 10 West Beach, Pier Approach. Excellent frontline seafood restaurant adjacent to Bournemouth Pier. Definitely not cheap, but aboard the beachfront decked area, about as close to dining Californian-style as you'll get in the UK!
  • 11 Chez Fred (Seamoor road, Westbourne), 10 Seamoor Rd. An excellent fish and chip restaurant and takeaway, as attested by long queues.
  • 12 Bates Restaurant, 350 Charminster Rd. English restaurant. £20-30.

Splurge edit

  • 13 Crab (Exeter Rd), Exeter Rd, +44 1202 203601. Upmarket fish restaurant, opposite the BIC.
  • 14 Isabel's, 127 Penn Hill Ave. Romantic restaurant with reliable French cuisine in trendy Ashley Cross.

Drink edit

At night the town comes alive with a vibrant bar and club scene. It is one of Britain's most popular clubbing locations, with many stag and hen parties held in Bournemouth. There are over 50 nightclub venues which are open every day of the week. On busy clubnights, roughly 40,000 people are out in Bournemouth. The Triangle area in Bournemouth (5 minutes walk up Commercial St from the main square) is where the gay community is concentrated with several gay-friendly clubs and pubs. Most night clubs are in and around town centre, with the exception of the O2 Academy in Boscombe. Old style pubs are at a premium in the centre with the emphasis more on trendy bars. Those fancying an ale pub crawl are advised to do by bus: the Goat, Porterhouse and Bermuda Triangle (see below) are all near stops.

  • 1 Moon in the Square, Exeter Rd, BH2 5AQ. An outstanding Wetherspoon's pub when it is quiet, dreadful when it is not. It is in an old department store, with outside seating and great views of the gardens from its two floors, and a good selection of guest ales. Idiot central on Friday and Saturday nights, though.
  • 2 1812, 1812 Exeter Rd, BH2 5BY. A swanky jazz music night club in the first mansion in Bournemouth.
  • Goat and Tricycle. The town's top real ale pub, located just off the Triangle and serving at least 10 varieties, also popular for its food.
  • Smokin' Aces. A small "Cocktail Bar and Whisky Lounge" in the Triangle, with live acts.
  • Winchester, 39 Poole Hill. A music and DJ venue. Rather peculiar, very dark inside with a rather cliquey crowd, but good acts.
  • Sixty Million Postcards (Exeter Rd). Painfully hip and arty bar, bistro, club and live venue, in a building that looks like a huge, graffiti'd garage on the way to West Cliff from the Square. Definitely not for everybody.
  • Halo. Clubbing in a refurbished church.
  • Daisy O'Brien's, 77 Old Christchurch Rd. One of the few traditional pubs in the town centre, with low prices.
  • O'Neil's, 260 Old Christchurch Rd. At the far end of the Old Christchurch Road strip (number 260), this Irish pub has live music most nights and attracts the slightly quieter kind of student.
  • The Porterhouse. A traditional pub (Ringwood's) in the cute and quaint Westbourne district, a little to the west of the centre.
  • The Bermuda Triangle (Parr St). Wackilly decorated pub with ever-changing real ales. In the trendy Lower Parkstone district, well to the west of the centre.
  • Mr Kyps (Parr St). One of the area's top rock music venues is next door.
  • Old Fire Station. Medium-sized live entertainment venue in the Holdenhurst Road studentland. Run by the Student's Union of Bournemouth University.
  • Chaplin's, Boscombe High St. Wine bar and cellar bar. This two-in-one venue offers some kind of live music most days of the week. Continental beers and acoustic music in the wine bar on top, real ale in the scruffy cellar where the louder acts play.
  • The Gallery Bar (Gallery Bar), Boscombe Spa Road, +44 1202 396234. Stylish bar and brasserie with spectacular views, great atmosphere with a wide range of drinks and cocktails.
  • O2 Academy (560 Christchurch Road). The former Opera House vies with the BIC as the town's main entertainment centre, with major acts and club nights.

Sleep edit

Budget edit

  • 1 Round Hotel Bournemouth, Meyrick Road Lansdowne (near Bournemouth International Centre), +44 871 222 0037.
  • 2 Russell Court Hotel, 19 Bath Rd, BH1 2EP, +44 1202 295819. Handy for the beach, which is 200 m away down Bath Road. from £79, breakfast from £11.95.
  • 3 Travelodge, 43 Christchurch Rd, BH1 3PH (Christchurch Road near Derby Road), +44 8719 846257. Offers budget accommodation. from £49 per night (providing you book in advance!).
  • Premier Inn. On Westover Road ( +44 871 527 8124), at 47 Christchurch Road towards Boscombe Gardens ( +44 871 527 8126), and at 8 Poole Road ( +44 871 527 8128) in Westbourne.

Mid-range edit

  • 4 The Chine Hotel, Boscombe Spa Road. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Comfortable hotel with leisure facilities and choice of dining. Sea and garden views with easy access to beach and surf reef.
  • 5 Carrington House Hotel, Knyveton Road, Bournemouth BH1 3QQ, +44 1202 369988. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 10AM. The Carrington House Hotel in Bournemouth is perfect for a short break, family holiday (some rooms have bunk beds), or relaxing weekend stay from which to explore the areas many attractions whatever the time of year. Some rooms are windowless. Swimming pool. Breakfast available (additional charge). Pets accepted (£10 per night + £25 cleaning fee). Parking included in price. £90.
  • 6 The Green House, 4 Grove Rd BH1 3AX, +44 1202 498900. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Green as in eco, with organic emphasis. 32-room hotel is comfy and popular for weddings and other events. Their Arbor restaurant serves breakfast (for hotel guests), lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner (restaurant bans children after 19:00). Baby cots or fold-away beds available for extra charge, and some of the larger rooms have a sofa bed for children. No dogs. £200–300.
  • 7 Fairmount Hotel, 15 Priory Road, Bournemouth, BH2 5DF (Town centre). Check-in: 3-10PM, check-out: 10AM. This small hotel has several rooms crammed with lots of single beds (up to nine twin beds in a single room). Well suited for student groups and large families who plan to be gone all day, and only expect to be at the hotel long enough to sleep, shower, and dash out the door the next morning to do it all over again. No baby cots, no chairs in the rooms. No restaurant at the hotel, although there are several nearby. No pets, no service dogs. Limited onsite parking for £10 per night. £100–300.

Splurge edit

  • 8 Royal Bath Hotel, Bath Rd, BH1 2EW (near Westover Road), +44 871 221 0204. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 10AM. Central for shopping and the beach.
  • 9 The Nici (formerly Savoy), West Hill Rd BH2 5EJ, +44 1202 018555. Great reviews for comfort and service after the makeover at this hotel. B&B double £180.

Stay safe edit

There is an absolutely incredible number of stag and hen parties passing through the centre during the summer, but they tend to be loud rather than dangerous. Drunken youths tend to congregate in Old Christchurch Rd late at night — it is safe the rest of the time.

Connect edit

As of March 2022, Bournemouth has 4G from EE and O2, and 5G from Three and Vodafone.

  • 7 Bournemouth Library, 22 The Triangle BH2 5RQ. M W 9AM–7PM, Tu Th F 9AM–6PM, Sa 9AM–5PM, closed Su. The largest of 12 libraries, they offer free internet access, weekly events for young children, and a monthly history talk. free.

Cope edit

  • 8 The Launderette, 172 Commercial Road, BH2 5LX (town centre, major bus stop nearby), +44 1202 551 850. 8:30AM–8PM self-service daily. Self-service laundry, or drop off your clothes in the morning MWF, and they'll wash them for you. Large car park behind building.

Go next edit

  • The very well-heeled town of Christchurch is about a 15-minute journey east of Bournemouth. It is a couple of hours of very pleasant walking along the cliffs. The Regent Arts Centre tends to be the main attraction. If you do not yacht, you may not fit in!
  • Poole, a similar distance to west boasts a long shopping street and the atmosphere of a working port and fishing town. It can be used a stop-off for a sea journey to Brownsea Island, Purbeck, Swanage, etc. The Lighthouse arts centre is the cultural magnet.
  • Corfe Castle - approximately 1½ hours away by bus through Sandbanks, the 4th most expensive post code in the world and the Isle of Purbeck, which is part of a World Heritage coastal zone. One option is to take the open top bus via the Sandbanks ferry in the summer for approx £5 from central Bournemouth and change at Swanage.
  • The New Forest - half an hour way to the east
Routes through Bournemouth
DorchesterPoole  W   E  ChristchurchNew Forest
END  SW   NE    for Southampton and LondonSalisbury

This city travel guide to Bournemouth is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.