Bournemouth Travel Guide

Tourist Guide
Durdle Door which includes rugged coastline, a pebble beach and a sunset

Embrace the mix of cultures and influences in this timeless coastal city, where Victorian architecture meets modernist masterpieces.

Visit Bournemouth and it’s easy to be drawn in by the coastal beauty, Edwardian and Victorian architecture and international arts and culture scene. Feel past and present mingle about you as you wander between opulent museums and the iconic pier, imagining life in the 19th century.

Things to do in Bournemouth

Bournemouth life revolves around the water, and nowhere is this more evident than at the iconic Bournemouth Pier, built in the mid-19th century and restored in the Edwardian era. Today’s pier offers arcade games, snacks and souvenir shops in a bustling British seaside atmosphere.

Continue to Bournemouth Beach, where golden sands and gentle waves are perfect for sunbathing, long walks along the shore and playing in the water. For another vantage point on the scenic coastline, visit Boscombe Pier, a modernist architectural gem.

Step away from the seashore to admire the beautifully landscaped Bournemouth Gardens, dating back to the Victorian era and rejuvenated during the Edwardian and Modernist periods.

Back in the city, shop for local treasures, home goods and beachwear at The Triangle, Commercial Road, The Square and Old Christchurch Road.

Bournemouth’s history and culture

Immerse yourself in all things Victorian at the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, built in 1901 and showcasing the exquisite taste of Sir Merton and Lady Annie Russell-Cotes. The mansion houses a vast collection of art and artifacts from around the world, which the couple gathered during their extensive travels. As impressive outside as the treasures that lie within, the museum is a testament to Victorian splendour.

Learn about millions of years of history of the nearby Jurassic coast at the Bournemouth Natural Science Society & Museum, where you can explore exhibits about the area’s archaeology, geology and wildlife.

For a taste of Bournemouth’s arts culture, head for some of the city’s many galleries and markets. Shop for art, pottery, jewellery and glassware created by an international population of talented artisans.

Dining and nightlife in Bournemouth

The same multicultural influences that define Bournemouth’s art scene also appear on the menus at the city’s many beachside cafes and restaurants. Find international flavours, as well as fresh seafood, traditional cream tea with scones, clotted cream and jam, and Dorset delicacies like the Dorset apple cake and the distinctive Dorset Blue Vinny cheese.

After a day at the beach, experience Bournemouth’s vibrant nightlife in The Triangle neighbourhood, where bars and clubs invite revellers to dance the night away. Take in a performance at the historic Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre or Shelley Theatre, hosting everything from theatrical productions to live music concerts.

Consider a day trip from Bournemouth to explore the surrounding natural wonders. The New Forest National Park and Hengistbury Head both offer the opportunity for hiking and birdwatching.

Getting around Bournemouth

Fly into Bournemouth Airport or Southampton Airport, which are 4.5 miles (7.2 kilometres) and 27.8 miles (44.7 kilometres) away from Bournemouth, respectively. The city is served by public bus and train services, with taxi and bike-sharing programmes readily available.

Where to stay in Bournemouth

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Bournemouth City Centre

4/5(1,198 area reviews)

The stunning beaches and fantastic nightlife are just a few highlights of Bournemouth City Centre. Make a stop by Bournemouth Lower Gardens or Bournemouth Pavillion Theatre while you're exploring the area.

Bournemouth City Centre
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West Cliff

4/5(6 area reviews)

While visiting West Cliff, you might make a stop by sights like Bournemouth Beach and Durley Chine Beach.

West Cliff