The seaside resort of Bournemouth is the largest town in Dorset and a bustling hive of activity, making it the perfect destination for people who like to keep busy whilst on holiday and have plenty of choice of things to do.
The town centre enjoys a vast array of high street shops, restaurants and department stores, whilst the town is also renowned for its lively nightlife, theatre, art galleries, museums and of course its seven mile stretch of golden sandy beaches, enjoying their own microclimate in their sheltered position under the magnificent cliff-line. There’s something for everyone in Bournemouth.
The star attraction at Bournemouth Central Beach is the iconic Victorian pier, with its arcade, amusements, rides and traditional seaside fare. There are also plenty of places to hire out deckchairs, beach huts and even water sports gear if you feel like taking the plunge during your visit.
The town benefits from three historic gardens to explore, running from Bournemouth Pier to the boundary with Poole, each offering a peaceful oasis and beautiful calm scenery just a stone’s throw from the hub-bub of Bournemouth town centre. The gardens are popular among families for their tree trails, mini golf, parks and tennis courts, as well as several friendly cafes.
From Bournemouth you can easily access many smaller, more laid-back resorts too, either by walking along the stunning Jurassic coast path east towards Boscombe or west toward Alum Chine. Alternatively you can save your legs, and hop on the Bournemouth Land Train for a more relaxing way to get there.
Transport links are good for exploring other parts of the world heritage Jurassic coastline, and discovering the surrounding picturesque Dorset villages and countryside.
Bournemouth lends itself to cycling and this friendly, efficient and good value cycle hire with knowledgeable staff will sort you out with bikes for all the family. Conveniently located in the centre of town Kool Cycles holds a large stock of well-maintained modern bikes of various frame sizes. An ideal way to explore the area and have great fun in the process.
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Enjoy all weather fun at this family friendly attraction - marvel at the fascinating sea creatures, come face to face with sharks, watch the water come alive with penguins, meet the very cute otter family and lots more ! Top off a great day with a meal at the Bay View Terrace or Offshore Café and enjoy the panoramic views.
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Nestled beneath stunning cliffs, Bournemouth Beach (also known as Bournemouth Central Beach) is the popular stretch of sand to the east and west of Bournemouth Pier. Enjoying its own micro-climate with some of the warmest sea waters in the UK, and with spectacular views of the Isle of Wight, this is one of the busiest parts of the full seven-mile stretch of sandy beaches that run along the Bournemouth coastline.
Easy walking distance from the shops, bars and restaurants in the centre of Bournemouth, there are lots of things to do here too, from the selection of rides, amusements and boat trips that depart from Bournemouth Pier, to the shore zip wire, to a refreshing paddle in the waves, or a spell relaxing in the sunshine on a deckchair. Bournemouth Oceanarium is also located on the seafront, as are many bars, cafes and restaurants to suit every taste.
A Land Train runs along the promenade from Bournemouth Pier to Boscombe Pier, or to Alum Chine - perfect for children or anyone else who wants to save their legs whilst enjoying views of the beach.
Dogs are not permitted on this stretch of beach, but are allowed on a lead on the promenade.
Alum Chine is a wide sandy beach with a paddling pool and large adventure playground, making it the perfect beach to visit if you have young children in tow.
Meanwhile, the scenic sub-tropical gardens behind the beach with stunning views out to the Solent are a big draw for the older visitor. Due to the mild micro-climate along this stretch of the south coast, it's possible to grow many exotic species successfully.
The beach also boasts Blue Flag status, beach huts for hire and a large car park, as well as a regular bus service to and from Bournemouth Centre. The popular Land Train also links Alum Chine with other beaches along the long sandy stretch of Bournemouth seafront.
There's a popular family-friendly Italian restaurant, Vesuvio, and many ice cream vendors to keep you refreshed during the day.
A variety of watersports are available here including kayaking/canoeing, fishing, swimming, sailing and windsurfing.
Dogs are allowed on parts of the beach throughout the year although they are banned from certain areas - check local signage for details.
Branksome Beach is a wide, golden stretch of sand popular among locals and visitors alike, in part due to its Blue Flag status which highlights high standards of cleanliness on the beach and in the bathing waters.
The beach benefits from a promenade behind and many facilities including beach huts, shop, bar and restaurant. There is also good disabled access and a safe swim zone.
Watersports include swimming and windsurfing and there is lifeguard cover in the summer months.
Dogs are not allowed on the main beach from the 1st May - 30th September, however they are allowed on the promenade on a short lead.
Boscombe is a popular family beach with plenty of sand, and a small pier with extensive facilities including a children’s play area, several seafront shops and cafés, crazy golf, plenty of parking and a safe traffic free area perfect for cycling and scooters.
Shore Road is a golden sandy beach with a promenade that stretches for miles along the beautiful Sandbanks peninsula - perfect for a seaside stroll or cycle (except during peak times in July & August from 10am to 6pm when cycles are not permitted).
Famed for its Mediterranean-style cafes and outstanding views across the harbour to the Purbeck hills and Brownsea Island, this beach is very family-friendly thanks to its gentle slope into clean waters and seasonal lifeguard cover.
Dogs are not allowed on the main beach from 1st May - 30th September, however they are permitted on the promenade on a lead all year round.
This Blue Flag standard beach has several watersports hire shops and many other beach facilities, including plenty of parking, cafe/restaurant, beach shop, beach huts and deck chairs for hire, toilets and outdoor showers, and reusable water bottle drinking water refill points.