With the promise of sun last weekend we took this opportunity to make the most of it and visit the south coast. This is a UK review for a change, and i’d like to hope that i have readers from other countries that may particularly benefit from this one (i know a lot of people in good old Swindon will have already visited Bournemouth at some point).
Nothing too adventurous here, drove from Swindon which took around an hour and a half at lunchtime on a Saturday.
If you are coming via plane then there is an airport in Bournemouth. London Gatwick is approximately a 2 hour drive and Bristol airport is around 2 hours 15 minutes.
There are also plenty of trains available from all over – The National Rail Enquiries website will be able to assist with that one.
We were booked into The Connaught for the night – they have a main hotel and then an outbuilding that has several more rooms. We were in the latter, otherwise known as lodges. Couldn’t fault it at all; everything was absolutely spotless, complimentary bottles of water were waiting and the bed was HUGE. All major amenities were available – hairdryer, tea/coffee, towels, large TV, soap etc. The hotel itself is very nicely presented and has an outdoor courtyard area that was picturesque and i imagine gets a lot of attention from people in the midst of summer.
As an added extra they have a spa on site that has a large swimming pool, jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, gym (all included in room price) and an array of treatments you can opt for (additional costs). We made use of this on the Saturday evening and there was only 4/5 other people milling around so it was nice and peaceful.
You can choose to opt for a breakfast rate, this is a generic English cooked breakfast, with cereals and fruit also on offer. Wasn’t anything particularly exciting but it did the job.
Things to do
Bournemouth is a sandy beach and extends for quite a distance. You can hire sunbeds, deck chairs and parasols if you wish, otherwise just grab your towel.
The main hub has plenty going on. There is a small fee to enter onto the pier and they have deck chairs spread along the expanse if you fancy sitting and looking out across the coast. They have a restaurant and an activities centre where you can opt to zip line from the pier down to the beach, or lots of other tasks. Visit their website for further details: Rock Reef
They have 2 arcade areas available with all the usual fun involved; we spent quite a bit of time spending copious 2p’s to go on to win a 5p sweet, but it was so worth it.
As the name suggests this is a big wheel that offers sites of Bournemouth – a smaller version of the London Eye.
Parks – Lower Garden
Across the road from the beach is a vast green garden area which is beautiful to stroll through. There are several paths that navigate through and plenty of space to sit and relax or take a picnic. There are a couple of cafes within and a small river flows through.
Food & Drink
As with many coastal towns fish and chips are on offer everywhere you look and of course ice cream as well.
There is a Harry Ramsdens takeaway and restaurant available, we did give the restaurant a go but if you’re in a rush i would opt for the take away as the service wasn’t the quickest.
There also cafes everywhere serving everything from coffee to cocktails, some of which are situated on higher levels so you get the views. We particularly enjoyed Aruba as we had a seat outside on the balcony and the food portions were huge and tasty!
If you venture more in land away from the water edge there is an abundance of restaurants, cafes, bars etc.
- Dependent on the time of year you visit, and how brave you are, you may well be more comfortable in swimwear whilst on the beach (June-September)
- Remember your sun-cream – the heat can be deceiving when there is a sea breeze
- Prepare to spend a considerable amount of time in the arcades
- If you are travelling from another country the currency is Great British Pound.
- If you are interested in bringing out your inner youth then the nightlife in Bournemouth is not to be missed; there is plenty going on with bars and clubs scattered all over the place.