Things to do in Bournemouth

Enjoy fabulous views and coastal walking, fine food from beachside eateries, try your hand at everything from surfing to snowboarding, or simply relax on Bournemouth’s seven miles of golden sands

Life’s a beach

Bournemouth boasts seven miles of award-winning beaches and a microclimate that creates some of the warmest sea temperatures in the UK. It offers golden sands, stunning views, scenic coastal walking and plenty of great family attractions. With so many things to do, Bournemouth makes an ideal destination for a well-earned break.

Grab yourself an ice cream and take a stroll along the prom to Bournemouth Pier, where you’ll find fabulous panoramic views of the bay framed on either side by the Purbeck Hills and the Isle of Wight. Thrill-seekers can take a ride on the pier-to-shore zip wire – the first of its kind in the world. The Coastal Activity Park on Boscombe Beach offers a wide range of activities, both water and land-based. Here you can try your hand at paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkelling and surfing. You’ll also find golf at Meyrick Park, mini-golf at Bournemouth Gardens, indoor laser tag at Laser Quest Bournemouth, and skiing and snowboarding at Snowtrax Skiing & Snowboarding Activity Centre in nearby Christchurch. All make for a great day out with family or friends.

If you’re looking for something a little more relaxing, then take one of the town’s lifts to the cliff tops for some spectacular coastal views. Or take the land train for a scenic ride along the prom from Bournemouth Pier to Alum Chine Beach or Boscombe Pier.

Bournemouth’s brilliant attractions

With a wide range of attractions on offer, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in Bournemouth. Things to do should include a trip to the Oceanarium – Bournemouth’s aquarium – where you can watch creatures from the deep, including giant sea turtles and sharks as well as the endlessly entertaining penguins. If you’ve got young children with you, a day out at Snowtrax Alpine Activity Centre is perfect, with it’s unique mix of Alpine Adventure Park, Pirate Ship, Ringos, and Ski bobs, this is great fun for all the family.

For a touch of the exotic, visit the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum. Set in a fabulous location on Bournemouth’s East Cliff, this splendid Victorian house is packed with fascinating objects from around the world. Highlights include high Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite art and the world-renowned Japanese collection. The town is also famous for its beautiful gardens. Starting from the sea front, you can walk through a mile-and-a-half of glorious Victorian gardens with plants from around the world and fabulous floral displays throughout the year. From the lower gardens or the Pier Approach, you will be able to visit some of the very best performances at Pavilion Dance South West (PDSW). The stunning venue hosts fabulous live performances to entertain all. PDSW is a dance charity who work with some of the very best choreographers and dance artists in the industry to create sell out performances that tour to Sadler’s Wells and Internationally. This month, the Mahajankaka Dance Drama visit PDSW – a beautiful combination of East and Western dance styles, live music and animation. It’s a show not to be missed when staying in Bournemouth.


Retail therapy

Take a break from relaxing on the beach or honing your new-found surfing skills, and check out Bournemouth’s shopping options. Its main shopping areas are The Triangle, Commercial Road, The Square and Old Christchurch Road, where you’ll find a mix of department stores, high street fashion outlets, designer brands and independent boutiques. Much of the centre is pedestrianized, making it easy to get around. For something a little different, head for Christchurch Road in Pokesdown. It has a great selection of vintage shops, while Westbourne offers a blend of elegant boutiques, delicious delis and interesting galleries. The regular open-air market in Boscombe is great for fresh produce, street food, clothing, jewellery and flowers, and takes place on Thursdays and Saturdays.

A feast of fresh food

Bournemouth’s reputation as a haven for food lovers has been growing rapidly over recent years, and you’ll find plenty of fresh fish and locally-sourced produce on the menus of the many seafront eateries. For beachside dining, head for WestBeach – a popular seafood restaurant serving up moules and seafood platters. Aruba is a great family option and has a kids’ menu, while Harry Ramsden’s offers good old fish and chips with great views of the beach. For a special occasion, Edge Restaurant & Bar serves fine modern European food and has breath-taking panoramic cliff-top views. Bournemouth’s cosmopolitan vibe is reflected by the huge choice of international cuisine on offer. Take your pick from Brazilian, Mexican, Asian and European. The town also has a flourishing cafe culture. Cafe Boscanova, Little Pickle Deli Cafe, South Coast Roast and Flirt Café Bar are all local favourites.


Bournemouth is well known for its buzzing nightlife, and you’ll find plenty of lively bars and nightclubs as well as some great pubs serving traditional ales and craft beers. Urban Reef is a great spot for a sundowner. You can relax and watch the sunset from their beachfront deck overlooking the sea. The Goat & Tricycle offers guest ales on draught, while The Four Horsemen has a huge range of craft beers and spirits.

If you fancy seeing a show, then Bournemouth has a great selection of concert venues to choose from and hosts some of the biggest names in the world of entertainment. You’ll find regular concerts at the Grade II-listed O2 Academy, while the elegant Bournemouth Pavilion offers a varied programme of events throughout the year, featuring everything from music and comedy to West End shows, opera and ballet. The Bournemouth International Centre is the town’s biggest venue and has hosted internationally acclaimed artists, including Bob Dylan, Lady Gaga, One Direction and Eddie Izzard. From two-stepping on the dance floor to stepping in time. The Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) is a must-visit on your trip to Bournemouth. Catch comedy legends and your touring favourites at the Spacious comedy hall. Or why not see local theatre talent in a more intimate setting at the little theatre. Book your tickets in advance with Theatres Online.

From beautiful beaches to vibrant nightlife spots, you can experience it all by checking out our hotels in Bournemouth.