Visiting Bournemouth

Bournemouth on the south coast of England is easily accessible from London and the south coast as the M27 and M3 motorways run near here. Only a few minutes from the town centre is Bournemouth International Airport with buses running every 15 minutes from the town to the airport. Bournemouth also has two railway stations with a good service to London Waterloo and connections to Poole, Dorchester, Wareham, Weymouth and Basingstoke.

Facing a southerly sheltered bay, Bournemouth is known for its sunshine and golden sands. The town, once in Hampshire, is now in the county of Dorset and the countryside around it has been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The New Forest lies within easy driving distance.

The sands around Bournemouth are clean and mostly free of dogs and smokers. Watersports are zoned and so peace and quiet can be enjoyed on many beaches. The architecture in the centre of town is mainly Victorian and there is a lively street scene with fascinating shops as well as vibrant nightlife. The Bourne stream runs through the town and pleasure gardens lie alongside it. In these gardens many events and festivals take place for over 100 days of the year. More than sixty million pounds have been invested in entertainments such as the Imax complex and other leisure developments. The town has quite a continental feel as palm trees grow here.

The town of Bournemouth actually comprises several districts, all within easy reach of the centre of town. The hub of the town is in a valley between West and East Cliffs and contains the shopping area and nightclubs, bars, restaurants and theatres. As well as the gardens, there is the seafront with a pier and amusements.

The East Cliff has wide clifftop walks and the Museum and Russell-Cotes Art Gallery are in this part of town. Alum Chine feels like a separate village and has a lot of family-run accommodation. The area leads down to the sea and is wooded. Again there are walks along the cliffs, leading down to sandy beaches with areas for children. Westbourne has good quality shopping with delightful tea rooms, restaurants and pubs as well as a Victorian arcade.

For a large expanse of beach, go to Boscombe with its charming gardens. Slightly out of town is Southbourne, quiet and charming but still within easy reach of the town.

From viewpoints at Minterne, Hambledon Hills and Bullbarrow Hill you can enjoy the sight of the rolling countryside of Dorset with its patchwork quilt of fields and woods. The nearby coastline at Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove and Kimmeridge reflect the powerful and relentless nature of the sea with stunning rock formations.

Eating out in Bournemouth is a pleasure and is extremely varied with something to suit all budgets. You don't have to be fancy if you don't want to as doorstep sandwiches are sold at Adam & Eve's café in Lansdowne. Just moments from the pier is West Beach restaurant which has won awards for its seafood. The simple décor here makes for fine dining with a sea view. Wessex Tales Restaurant at Boscombe caters for vegetarians, vegans and those who prefer to eat organic food.

There are lots of things you may not know about Bournemouth. For instance, it is set to be the new Hawaii as an artificial surf reef is being created. And did you know that Bournemouth hosts a yearly event for those who think they can fly! Yes, really! The town hosts an annual event whose participants take part in a competition for human flying machines. People jump off the pier using all sorts of gadgets!

Bournemouth is said to be one of the happiest places to live in Britain – in fact a survey showed well over 80% of people just loved living here.

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