15 Best Things To Do Bournemouth, England

15 Best Things To Do Bournemouth, England

By will

If you’re looking for a unique and exciting holiday destination, Bournemouth, England has it all! From stunning beaches to interesting attractions, this seaside resort offers an array of activities that will keep you entertained for days.

Whether you’re looking to explore the historical sights of Hengistbury Head and Mudeford, or you’re more interested in relaxing on the golden sand of Bournemouth Beach, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

And if you’re looking for something a bit more unique, why not take a trip to the Oceanarium or Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum? With so much to do, it can be hard to decide what to do in Bournemouth, so I’ve compiled a list of the 15 best things to do in the area.

Hengistbury Head and Mudeford

Rock groyne near Hengistbury Head
Photo by Malc McDonald

Hengistbury Head and Mudeford are two great spots to explore near Bournemouth – you won’t regret it!

Situated on the south coast of England, these two places are the perfect spot to relax and soak up the coastal atmosphere. Located on the edge of Christchurch Harbour, Hengistbury Head is a stunning area of natural beauty. It’s a great place to take a stroll, as the views are breathtaking! You can also try your hand at some birdwatching, as there’s a wide variety of species that call the headland home.

Mudeford is a charming fishing village located just a few miles from Bournemouth. Here, you can take a leisurely walk along the pier and admire the stunning views of Christchurch Bay. You can also take a boat trip to Mudeford Sandbank, where you can discover the beautiful sand dunes and crystal clear waters.

There’s also a great selection of pubs and restaurants to enjoy at Mudeford, so why not take a break and enjoy the local seafood?

Bournemouth Beach

March twilight on Bournemouth Beach
Photo by Jonathan Hutchins

Lazing on Bournemouth’s sandy shore, sun-seekers soak up the rays and take in the sea views.

At 7 miles long and boasting an impressive array of amenities, Bournemouth Beach is a haven for beach-lovers.

There’s something for everyone here – families can build sandcastles and take a dip in the warm, shallow waters, while thrill-seekers can try their hand at windsurfing and kite-surfing.

If you’re looking for a relaxing day, sunbathe on the shore or take a leisurely stroll along the seafront.

Cafes, restaurants, and ice cream stalls line the seafront, so you can take a break and refuel during your day.

The beach is also the perfect spot to watch the sunset, so pack a picnic and settle in for a romantic evening under the stars.

Poole Harbour

Yachts in Poole Harbour
Photo by Paul Gillett

Situated just a few miles away from Bournemouth, Poole Harbour is a dazzling natural harbour that’s perfect for a day of exploration.

From the harbour entrance, you can see the stunningly blue waters of the English Channel, making for a perfect spot to admire a magnificent sunset.

The harbour is also home to a wide variety of birds and marine life, making it a great spot for wildlife-watching.

You can also take a boat ride around the harbour, to get a better look at its vastness and beauty.

There are many restaurants and pubs along the waterfront, so you can grab a bite to eat and enjoy the views.

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Poole Harbour is a great place to spend a day, whether you’re looking to relax or explore.

Oceanarium

Immerse yourself in the wonders of the deep at the Oceanarium in Poole Harbour!

The Oceanarium is home to a vast array of sea creatures, from seahorses and sharks to giant turtles and rays.

The 120m long aquarium offers spectacular views of the creatures of the deep, all within arm’s reach!

The Oceanarium also features interactive touch pools, where visitors can get up close and personal with some of the smaller inhabitants of the sea.

There are also educational talks and shows, which provide a fascinating insight into the world of the deep.

With so much to explore and learn, the Oceanarium is a must-see for anyone in the Bournemouth area!

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

Nestled within the Bournemouth coastline lies the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, an awe-inspiring collection of artworks and artefacts from around the globe.

This museum is filled with a multitude of wonders, from sculptures, paintings, and prints to furniture, porcelain, and armour.

Every visitor will be enthralled by the extensive collection, from the Greek and Roman antiquities to the fine arts collection that includes works from the likes of Turner, Constable, and Gainsborough.

The museum also houses an array of artefacts from the Far East, including Japanese armoury and Chinese ceramics.

In addition, the museum hosts a programme of special exhibitions throughout the year, all of which have something unique to offer.

Whether it’s a rare exhibition of the ancient world or a modern take on a classic art form, the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum has something to captivate everyone.

Bournemouth Pier

Experience the splendor of Bournemouth Pier, where you can stroll along its boardwalk and take in stunning views of the English Channel.

Constructed in 1880 and stretching out for nearly a mile, the pier has served as an iconic entertainment and leisure destination for generations.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, you’ll find plenty of activities to keep you busy. Enjoy a variety of shops and restaurants, indulge in amusement rides, or just take a leisurely stroll along the shoreline.

Spectacular sunsets, local wildlife, and the sound of the waves crashing against the shore offer a truly tranquil experience. Whether you’re looking for a romantic evening or a fun day out with family and friends, Bournemouth Pier is sure to provide something for everyone.

Bournemouth Balloon

Take in the breathtaking views of the English Channel from high above with a hot air balloon ride over Bournemouth.

A hot air balloon ride in Bournemouth is an unforgettable experience that shouldn’t be missed.

The best time to go ballooning is at sunrise or sunset, when the air is typically calmer.

It’s also the time when the balloon can travel the highest and the views are most impressive.

You’ll be sent up in a large, colorful hot air balloon operated by an experienced pilot and can admire the views of the surrounding countryside and coastline.

The view of the English Channel is particularly stunning from high in the air.

The entire journey of the hot air balloon flight will last around an hour and you’re sure to leave with some amazing photos and memories.

Bournemouth Gardens

Explore Bournemouth’s lush and vibrant gardens, where you can wander amongst the flowers and trees and feel like you’re in another world.

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With its wide variety of plants, the gardens are a delight for nature lovers. From award-winning subtropical gardens to traditional English gardens, there’s something for everyone.

With plenty of benches and seating areas, you can sit and relax in the sunshine, while the birds sing in the background. The gardens also offer walking trails and cycle paths, so you can explore further and take in the stunning views of the sea.

Alternatively, take a picnic and just enjoy the beauty of the gardens and the peace and quiet. With its abundance of colorful flowers, trees, and shrubs, the gardens are perfect for a tranquil day out.

Bournemouth West Cliff Lift

Ride the Bournemouth West Cliff Lift for a breathtaking journey from the beach all the way up to the cliff top, offering stunning views of the coastline.

Built in 1908, the lift has been in operation for over a century, giving generations of visitors a chance to enjoy the beautiful views.

The carriages ascend the cliff, winding through the trees as they climb. It’s a thrilling experience, with plenty of time to appreciate the stunning views from the top.

At the top of the cliff, you’ll find a terrace and a cafe, both offering incredible views of the sea.

There’s also a nearby park with plenty of space for a picnic or a leisurely stroll.

The cliff lift is open all year round, meaning you can take a ride in the summer or winter.

Whether you’re visiting Bournemouth for a day or a week, a ride on the West Cliff Lift is a must-do experience.

Highcliffe Castle

After exploring the views from the Bournemouth West Cliff Lift, I was eager to explore a different attraction.

One of the most unique places I visited was Highcliffe Castle. A Grade I listed building, it is situated on the south coast of England near Bournemouth.

Built between 1831 and 1835, it is a beautiful example of a Victorian Gothic mansion.

Not only does the castle itself have a rich history, but the grounds are just as captivating. With gardens and landscaping that has been evolving for over 200 years, it truly is a breathtaking sight to behold.

Corfe Castle

Just a few miles away from Highcliffe Castle lies the historic Corfe Castle, an iconic landmark of England’s south coast. Built in the 11th century by William the Conqueror, its walls have seen the centuries come and go, and the castle has played a role in many pivotal moments of English history.

Located in the heart of the Isle of Purbeck on a natural hill, it’s a stunning sight, with its towering stone walls and woodlands.

If you visit Corfe Castle, there’s lots to explore. The castle is a great place to learn more about the history of Britain, with its interactive exhibitions and guided tours. Be sure to check out the Great Hall, the Inner Bailey, and the ruins of the King’s Hall.

For a peaceful retreat, take a walk in the castle’s enchanting grounds and enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.

Adventure Wonderland

Take a thrilling adventure to Adventure Wonderland, a family-friendly amusement park located in Bournemouth, England!

Young and old alike will be sure to find something to do at this magical location. From roller coasters to water rides, there is something for everyone.

For the thrill seekers, take a ride on one of the tallest roller coasters in the south of England, the Crazy Cuckoo. You’ll be whisked up into the sky, looping and twisting at speeds over 50 mph!

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For those who prefer something a bit more tame, take a gentle ride on the carousel or a peaceful ride in the swan paddle boats.

And for those who are looking for something truly unique, take a spin on the Magic Mushroom ride, a psychedelic experience you won’t soon forget.

With plenty of attractions, Adventure Wonderland is the perfect place to take your family for a fun-filled day of adventure.

RockReef

I’m a thrill seeker, so when I heard about RockReef, I had to check it out.

This adventure park is located in Bournemouth, England and is ideal for anyone looking for an adrenaline rush.

RockReef offers a range of activities, from the thrilling climbing walls to the exciting virtual reality experiences.

The climbing walls are an absolute blast, with a variety of levels and difficulty options.

From the beginner courses to the more advanced ones, there’s something for everyone.

The virtual reality experiences are also top-notch.

You can explore a range of different worlds, with all kinds of challenges and surprises.

RockReef is the perfect place for anyone looking to have a great time.

Shopping in Bournemouth

If you’re looking for a shopping experience to remember, then Bournemouth is the place to be. Whether you’re looking for high-end designer brands or a unique independent boutique, Bournemouth’s selection of shops has something to offer for everyone.

You can find the latest fashion and beauty trends in Castlepoint Shopping Park, the largest shopping center in Bournemouth. There’s also the Bournemouth Arcade, a historic building that houses a range of independent shops selling jewelry, art, and antiques.

If you’re looking for something a little different, then Westbourne is the perfect place to explore. Here you’ll find a range of vintage and second-hand stores, as well as quirky cafes and restaurants.

Bournemouth’s pedestrianized shopping district, the Triangle, is the perfect place to sit back and people-watch as you browse the shops. With its interesting mix of high-street and independent stores, it’s easy to while away an afternoon here.

Bournemouth Food Festivals

Experience a range of delicious cuisines from around the world at one of Bournemouth’s popular food festivals! Whether you’re a foodie or an adventurous eater, you’ll be sure to find something for you.

Bournemouth International Food and Music Festival is a great place to start, offering a variety of dishes from around the globe. From traditional British favourites like fish and chips to more exotic offerings such as African curries, you won’t be disappointed. The festival also hosts a selection of live music, adding to the atmosphere.

Bournemouth’s annual Seafood Festival is another must-visit for the food connoisseur. Taking place in the summer, visitors can enjoy a range of seafood dishes, including fresh oysters, mussels and crab. There’s also an array of tasty treats to be found at the local stalls and market, from artisan cheeses to handmade chocolates. And don’t forget to make time to watch the cooking demonstrations, where top chefs share their secrets for creating delicious meals.

Conclusion

I’ve had an amazing time exploring the best of what Bournemouth has to offer.
From the stunning views of Hengistbury Head and Mudeford to the beautiful ocean views of Poole Harbour, I’ve never felt more connected to nature.
I was enchanted by the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, and had a blast exploring Adventure Wonderland and RockReef.
And, of course, no trip would be complete without some shopping and indulging in the local food festivals.
I’d definitely recommend Bournemouth for anyone looking for a great holiday destination.
It’s a place to be cherished and enjoyed, and I’m already looking forward to my next visit.

About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.