Welcome to Bournemouth, a coastal resort town on the south coast of England that offers an array of exciting activities for locals and visitors alike. Whether you’re looking for sun-soaked beaches, scenic walks, fascinating museums, or thrilling adventures, Bournemouth has something for everyone. In this blog post, we’ve compiled a list of the top 20 things to do in Bournemouth that will help you make the most out of your trip. So pack your bags, put on your sunscreen and let’s explore all that this vibrant seaside town has to offer!
Things to Do in Bournemouth with Toddlers
- Let’s Rock at the Oceanarium: Enjoy interactive exhibits and educational activities specifically designed for young children.
- Adventure Wonderland: Visit this family theme park with rides, play areas, and live shows for toddlers and young children.
- Moors Valley Country Park: Explore the park’s play areas, miniature railway, and walking trails suitable for toddlers.
- Bournemouth Gardens Mini Golf: Play a round of mini golf in the picturesque Bournemouth Gardens.
- Paultons Park: Take a short drive to this nearby theme park featuring Peppa Pig World and rides for young children.
Things to Do in Bournemouth for Families
- Splashdown Waterpark: Enjoy thrilling water slides and pools suitable for the whole family.
- Hengistbury Head Land Train: Hop on the land train for a scenic ride to Hengistbury Head, where you can explore the nature reserve and enjoy the beach.
- RockReef Adventure Activity Attraction: Engage in indoor climbing, zip lining, and other exciting activities suitable for families.
- Bournemouth Balloon: Take a ride in the tethered helium balloon and enjoy panoramic views of Bournemouth and the coast.
- Laser Quest Bournemouth: Challenge each other to a game of laser tag in a thrilling indoor arena.
Things to Do in Bournemouth for Adults
- The Stable Bournemouth: Savor local craft ciders and gourmet pizzas in a relaxed atmosphere.
- Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf: Have fun playing a round of adventure golf with challenging obstacles and a pirate theme.
- Westbourne Village: Explore the independent shops, boutiques, and cafes in this charming area of Bournemouth.
- The Lost Paradise: Visit this stylish tiki bar for exotic cocktails and a tropical-themed ambience.
- Bournemouth Zip Wire: Experience an adrenaline rush by soaring over Bournemouth Pier on the zip wire.
Things to Do in Bournemouth at Night
- Aruba Bar & Restaurant: Enjoy beachfront dining, cocktails, and live music in a vibrant atmosphere.
- Cameo & Myu Nightclub: Dance the night away at one of Bournemouth’s popular nightclubs with themed rooms and guest DJs.
- The Larder House: Visit this speakeasy-style bar for craft cocktails and a cosy, intimate setting.
- The Dancing Moose: Unwind with craft beers, comfort food, and a relaxed ambience in this lively bar.
- Casino at the Empire: Try your luck at the casino with a variety of gaming options and late-night entertainment.
Best Things to Do in Bournemouth – Top 20
1. Visit Bournemouth Beach
Bournemouth Beach is one of the main reasons why tourists flock to this coastal town every year. With seven miles of soft golden sand and clear turquoise waters, it’s no surprise that the beach has won numerous awards for its beauty and cleanliness.
The beach offers plenty of opportunities for sunbathing, swimming, or just lounging on a deckchair with a good book. The water temperature is lovely in the summer months, making it perfect for taking a dip or trying out some water sports like paddleboarding or kayaking.
One of the best things about Bournemouth Beach is how accessible it is – there are plenty of amenities nearby such as restaurants, bars and cafes where you can grab refreshments or have a meal while enjoying views over the sea.
If you’re feeling adventurous then take advantage of one of Bournemouth’s many activities including beach football, volleyball courts and more. And don’t forget to catch an amazing sunset at the end of your day!
2. Explore the Bournemouth Pier
The Bournemouth Pier is a must-visit attraction for anyone visiting the area. Taking a stroll along the pier is one of the best ways to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy views of both the beach and town.
As you walk along, you’ll come across plenty of attractions to keep you entertained. For example, if you’re travelling with children, there are arcade games that they can play while adults can try their hands at winning prizes.
If heights don’t bother you, head up to the top of the pier where panoramic views await. The stunning vistas over Bournemouth Beach will take your breath away as well as provide fantastic photo opportunities.
For an activity that’s more laid-back but equally enjoyable, grab some food or drinks from one of several cafes on-site. There’s nothing quite like enjoying a delicious meal or drink while taking in beautiful sea views.
Whether it’s playing games in arcades or enjoying panoramic views from atop its structure -Bournemouth Pier offers something for everyone!
3. Discover the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum
The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum is a must-visit destination for art lovers and history enthusiasts. This stunning Victorian villa boasts an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from around the world.
As you wander through the rooms of this museum, you’ll be transported to different eras and cultures. From intricate Japanese ceramics to exquisite French furniture, there’s something for everyone to marvel at here.
One highlight of the museum is the Pre-Raphaelite paintings on display. These masterpieces include works by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, and John Everett Millais.
Another notable feature of the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum is its unique architecture. The building itself is an artwork with its grand staircase, ornate ceilings, and stained glass windows.
Whether you’re interested in art or just appreciate beautiful surroundings, a visit to this museum will not disappoint. So take a step back in time and immerse yourself in the elegance of this Victorian gem.
4. Enjoy a Show at the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC)
The Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) is a must-visit destination for those looking to enjoy some top-class entertainment. This renowned venue hosts a variety of events, from concerts and exhibitions to conferences and trade shows.
With its state-of-the-art facilities and impressive capacity, the BIC attracts big-name performers from all over the world. Whether you’re into rock, pop, classical music or comedy acts, you’re sure to find something that suits your taste at this iconic venue.
In addition, to live performances, the BIC also hosts a range of events throughout the year. These include exhibitions showcasing everything from art and photography to cars and boats. There are also trade shows covering various industries such as fashion, technology and hospitality.
Attending an event at the BIC is not just about enjoying great entertainment; it’s also an opportunity to experience one of Bournemouth’s most impressive venues. With its modern architecture and stunning coastal views, it provides a memorable backdrop for any occasion.
So why not check out what’s on at the Bournemouth International Centre during your visit? You won’t be disappointed!
5. Wander through the Lower Gardens
Bournemouth’s Lower Gardens are a delightful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. With its serene streams, lush greenery, vibrant flower beds, and picturesque walkways, it is no surprise that this popular attraction has been drawing visitors for over a century.
As you wander through the gardens, you will come across numerous benches where you can take a moment to relax and soak in the peaceful atmosphere. The sound of water flowing in streams creates an ambience that transports you away from the mundane reality.
The garden also features several attractions such as an aviary with various exotic birds like parrots and cockatiels chirping away creating music to your ears. You can also find mini-golf courses and play areas for kids giving them enough space for their active imagination.
One of the most notable features of these gardens is undoubtedly their impeccable upkeep throughout all four seasons; every corner displays beautiful blooms no matter what time of year you visit.
Wandering through Bournemouth’s lower garden offers peace while being surrounded by natural beauty making it one of the best things on offer to do during any trip here!
6. Take a Walk Along Boscombe Pier
Boscombe Pier is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by visitors to Bournemouth. Walking along the pier offers stunning views of the coastline and the chance to breathe in fresh sea air.
At the end of Boscombe Pier, there are plenty of benches where you can sit down and relax while enjoying panoramic views. You can grab a coffee from one of the nearby kiosks or simply watch people fishing from the pier.
Fishing enthusiasts will love Boscombe Pier as it’s an excellent spot for catching mackerel, bass, and other fish species that inhabit these waters. If you don’t have your own equipment, you can rent fishing gear at several shops located near the pier.
If fishing isn’t your thing, then taking a walk along Boscombe Pier is still worth it for its peaceful atmosphere. Away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, this tranquil setting allows you to forget about your worries and enjoy some quiet time alone or with loved ones.
Visiting Boscombe Pier provides a fantastic opportunity to escape city life momentarily while enjoying the stunning scenery in Bournemouth’s coastal area.
7. Watch a Performance at the Pavilion Theatre
The Pavilion Theatre in Bournemouth is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves live performances. It has been entertaining audiences since 1929 and is known for its elegant setting and wide range of shows.
From classic plays to modern musicals, ballet to comedy acts, the Pavilion Theatre offers something for everyone. Its impressive stage, state-of-the-art lighting and sound system, and comfortable seating make every performance an unforgettable experience.
Whether you’re a culture vulture or simply looking for a fun night out with friends or family, the Pavilion Theatre won’t disappoint. You can catch famous West End productions on tour here as well as local productions that showcase Bournemouth’s talent.
One unique aspect of this theatre is that it also hosts events such as film festivals, psychic mediums or even celebrity talks. This makes it one of the most versatile venues in Bournemouth able to cater all sorts of events.
So why not immerse yourself in some world-class entertainment at the Pavilion Theatre? Book your tickets today!
8. Visit the Oceanarium
The Oceanarium in Bournemouth is a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in exploring the diverse marine life of the world. Located on the seafront, this aquarium offers an immersive experience that takes visitors on a journey through various underwater habitats.
Upon entering, you’ll be greeted by tanks filled with colourful fish and corals from around the globe. From there, you can explore different zones dedicated to sharks, penguins, turtles, otters and more. You may even get a chance to interact with some of these fascinating creatures during feeding times or special events.
One of the highlights of this attraction is its walk-through tunnel which allows visitors to see giant sea turtles and other majestic creatures swimming overhead. The Oceanarium also has an impressive underwater viewing area where you can observe sharks up close without getting wet!
For those who want to learn more about conservation efforts and how we can protect marine animals from human activities like pollution and climate change, there are informative displays throughout the aquarium providing insights into these issues.
Visiting the Oceanarium is not only educational but also entertaining for all ages – it’s an experience that truly captures your imagination!
9. Explore Hengistbury Head
Hengistbury Head is a beautiful nature reserve that offers visitors the chance to escape into nature and enjoy breathtaking views of the coast. The area boasts over 500 acres of stunning landscapes, including heathland, woodland, and wetlands.
There are many ways to explore Hengistbury Head – you can take a leisurely hike or bike ride through its many trails. Along the way, you’ll come across an abundance of wildlife and flora unique to this region. Bring your camera with you because there will be lots of chances to take pictures!
If you’re feeling adventurous, try taking one of the guided tours offered by local experts who can provide historical insights into the site’s rich heritage. You’ll learn about how people have inhabited this area for thousands of years.
Once at Hengistbury Head’s summit, soak in panoramic views of Christchurch Harbour and beyond – it’s simply unforgettable! It’s no wonder why Hengistbury Head has been designated as a Site Of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
So if you’re looking for an outdoor adventure with stunning coastal scenery then head over to Hengistbury Head today!
10. Embark on a Jurassic Coast adventure
Embark on a Jurassic Coast adventure in Bournemouth and discover the stunning cliffs, fossil hunting, and coastal walks in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Jurassic Coast stretches for 95 miles along the south coast of England, showcasing geological diversity that spans over 185 million years.
One of the best ways to explore this natural wonder is by taking a guided tour. You can learn about its history, geology and wildlife from knowledgeable local guides who will take you through some of the most picturesque spots along the coastline.
Fossil hunting is another popular activity here as it’s one of the few places where fossils are exposed on beaches and cliffs. You may even find ancient ammonites or dinosaur footprints while exploring!
In addition to fossil hunting, there are also several coastal walks that offer breathtaking views of the sea. There are walks for every ability level here, from leisurely strolls to strenuous excursions.
The Jurassic Coast has been home to many unique species over millions of years and is now an important habitat for various animals such as peregrine falcons, otters and seals. During your stay, keep a watch out for these intriguing creatures!
Embarking on a Jurassic Coast adventure in Bournemouth is an unforgettable experience that offers something new at every turn – whether it be discovering fossils or simply enjoying scenic views!
11. Experience the Bournemouth Air Festival
Every year, the Bournemouth Air Festival draws thousands of visitors from around the world to witness an awe-inspiring display of aviation prowess. The event features a wide range of aircraft displays, including military jets, stunt planes, and helicopters.
In addition to the impressive aerial performances, there are plenty of on-ground activities for all ages. From food vendors to live music concerts and fun fair rides, there is something for everyone at this festival.
One must-see attraction is the Night Air show where illuminated planes take center stage with their glittering lights in the dark skies above. As you watch these incredible flying machines light up against the night sky backdrop set over Bournemouth Bay; it’s an experience like no other.
The festival offers a unique opportunity for visitors to meet pilots and learn about different aircraft models while enjoying thrilling entertainment throughout the day. It’s also worth noting that all air displays during this event are free!
If you want to make your visit truly unforgettable, consider taking a helicopter ride or joining one of many boat trips available that provide spectacular views from vantage points at sea level while watching aerobatic teams perform daring manoeuvres right above you.
Whether you’re interested in aviation or simply looking for some exciting entertainment during your trip to Bournemouth – be sure not to miss out on this annual spectacle!
12. Shop at the Castlepoint Shopping Park
Shopaholics, rejoice! Castlepoint Shopping Park is a retail destination that promises to satisfy all your shopping desires. With over 40 high-street stores and boutiques, you’re sure to find everything you need under one roof.
From fashion outlets like H&M and New Look to homeware stores like Dunelm and The Range, the shopping park has something for everyone. You can browse through a wide range of products including clothes, footwear, accessories, electronics, home decor items and more.
The food court at Castlepoint Shopping Park offers various options for quick bites or leisurely meals. You can choose from global cuisines such as Italian at the best Italians food courts or Mexican at Chiquito’s. Or if you want a caffeine fix between shops there are plenty of coffee shops available too.
The shopping park also features free parking facilities with over 3,000 spaces so visitors can shop without any worries about their car being towed away while they enjoy browsing the stores in peace.
Whether it’s rain or shine outside this indoor mall always provides an enjoyable experience due to its convenient location and variety of offerings making Castlepoint Shopping Park an essential stop during your visit to Bournemouth!
13. Have fun at the Altitude High Ropes Adventure
For adventure seekers, Altitude High Ropes Adventure is a must-visit destination in Bournemouth. This outdoor activity park offers thrilling experiences like no other. Test your skills and push yourself to the limit as you navigate through high ropes courses, zip lines, and climbing walls.
The high ropes course is designed for all levels of fitness and experience. You can choose from different routes that vary in difficulty level – from easy to challenging. Whether you’re looking for a fun family activity or an adrenaline-pumping adventure with friends, Altitude has got you covered.
If you’re feeling daring, try the giant swing that will send you flying over 20 meters into the sky! Or perhaps have a go at their leap of faith – jump off a platform and free-fall towards the ground before being caught by harnesses.
Altitude also offers team-building activities including corporate events and school trips. It’s perfect for groups who want to challenge themselves while bonding with one another.
Safety measures are taken seriously here at Altitude; all guests are given safety briefings before they start any activity to ensure everyone’s safety during their time on site. The staff members are friendly and knowledgeable which helps put visitors at ease.
Altitude High Ropes Adventure is an exciting place where anyone can test their physical limits while having fun outdoors in beautiful surroundings – it’s definitely worth checking out!
14. Visit the Compton Acres Gardens
Compton Acres Gardens is an ideal destination for nature lovers and those seeking tranquillity in Bournemouth. The gardens cover 10 acres of land and feature various themed areas, including Japanese, Italian, and rock gardens. Each area has its unique charm with different plants, flowers, fountains, and sculptures.
The Italian garden is undoubtedly the most popular area with a central fountain surrounded by colorful flower beds. The Japanese garden offers a serene atmosphere with a peaceful pond filled with Koi fish and bridges leading to hidden paths. Meanwhile, the beautiful rock garden features cascading waterfalls and natural stone formations.
Visitors can take leisurely strolls along the winding pathways that lead through the gardens or relax on one of the many benches scattered throughout. There are also several viewpoints where visitors can enjoy stunning vistas of Poole Harbour and beyond.
If you’re looking for more than just sightseeing at Compton Acres Gardens in Bournemouth, they offer guided tours as well as workshops such as gardening classes or photography sessions. Don’t forget to check out their gift shop before leaving!
15. Go for a Round of Golf
Bournemouth is not only a hub of beaches and nightlife, but it also offers some amazing golf courses for enthusiasts. Two prominent names are Meyrick Park and Queens Park Golf Course.
Meyrick Park is located just two miles from the heart of Bournemouth and has an 18-hole course that spreads over 120 acres of lush greenery. The course features several water hazards that add to its beauty and difficulty level. Apart from golfing, visitors can also enjoy other activities like gym, swimming pool, spa treatments, etc.
Queens Park Golf Course is another popular option with an 18-hole par 69 course designed by Harry Colt in the early 1900s. This parkland-style course provides a challenging game for golfers of all levels amidst stunning scenery. It’s perfect for those seeking a peaceful getaway while enjoying their favourite sport.
Both these courses have facilities like pro shops, equipment rental services, restaurants serving delicious food options along with free parking spaces making them accessible to everyone!
16. Explore Poole Harbour
Poole Harbour is a natural harbour located just west of Bournemouth, and it’s considered one of the largest in Europe. It boasts beautiful landscapes, serene waters, and stunning sunsets that are perfect for sightseeing. Visitors can explore the harbor by taking a boat trip or indulging in water sports.
For those looking to get out on the water, there are plenty of options available. You can rent boats or join one of the many guided tours available to explore the harbour up close. There are also opportunities for kayaking, paddleboarding, and even windsurfing.
If you prefer to stay on land but still want to enjoy the incredible views Poole Harbour has to offer, you can take a walk along one of its scenic trails or simply relax at one of its many beaches.
One beach worth visiting is Sandbanks Beach – known for its golden sand and clear blue waters; it’s perfect for swimming or soaking up some sun while enjoying views across Poole Harbour towards Old Harry Rocks.
Whether you’re an adventure seeker or just looking for a peaceful escape from city life – exploring Poole Harbor should definitely be on your list if you ever visit Bournemouth!
17. Visit the Bournemouth Aviation Museum
The Bournemouth Aviation Museum is a must-visit attraction for aviation enthusiasts and history buffs. The museum houses an impressive collection of aircraft displays, exhibitions, and artefacts that showcase the rich aviation history of the area.
One of the main highlights of the museum is its extensive range of vintage aircraft, including planes used in World War II. Visitors can get up close to these historic planes and learn about their role in shaping aviation technology.
In addition to the aircraft displays, visitors can also explore various exhibitions that delve into different aspects of aviation history. These exhibitions cover topics such as early flight pioneers, wartime air raids, and commercial airline travel.
The museum also offers guided tours led by knowledgeable volunteers who are passionate about sharing their love for aviation with visitors. These tours provide fascinating insights into the exhibits and offer a deeper understanding of Bournemouth’s aviation heritage.
A visit to the Bournemouth Aviation Museum is an educational and exciting experience for all ages. It’s a chance to learn more about our country’s rich history in flight while admiring some truly remarkable pieces of engineering.
18. Relax at the Spa at the Cumberland Hotel
The Spa at the Cumberland Hotel offers a luxurious retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With a range of treatments on offer, you can treat yourself to some well-deserved pampering.
Indulge in a relaxing massage, designed to soothe your muscles and leave you feeling rejuvenated. Choose from Swedish, deep tissue or hot stone massages for the ultimate relaxation experience.
Alternatively, spend a day at the spa and take advantage of all it has to offer. Enjoy access to the heated pool, steam room and sauna before treating yourself to an afternoon tea or light lunch in their restaurant.
Their experienced therapists are on hand to help tailor your treatment plan so that you get exactly what you need out of your visit. Whether it’s simply some downtime or relief for sore muscles and joints, they have something for everyone.
So why not book yourself in for some much-needed rest and relaxation? The Spa at Cumberland Hotel is waiting!
19. Enjoy a Coastal Walk
One of the best things to do in Bournemouth is to take a leisurely stroll along the promenade and enjoy the fresh sea air. The coastal walk offers breathtaking views of sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and rugged cliffs.
As you walk along the promenade, you’ll pass by various attractions such as beachfront cafes, restaurants, and shops. Stop for an ice cream or grab a coffee while taking in the scenery.
The pier-to-pier route is 3 miles long but can be extended further if desired. Along this route are several points of interest including Boscombe Pier where visitors can go fishing or relax with a coffee at one of its many cafés.
Another highlight is Hengistbury Head Nature Reserve which boasts scenic viewpoints overlooking Poole Bay. This reserve provides an excellent opportunity for bird watching and has plenty of wildlife to spot throughout your journey.
Walking on Bournemouth’s coast path will give you a sense of peace as it immerses you in nature’s beauty. Whether it’s sunny or cloudy day—this activity never disappoints!
20. Experience Nightlife in Bournemouth
Bournemouth is not just about beautiful beaches and stunning landscapes. It also has a buzzing nightlife that you don’t want to miss out on. In fact, Bournemouth’s best bars, clubs, and live music venues are some of the most happening in the UK.
Whether you’re into live music or dance parties, there’s something for everyone in Bournemouth’s nightlife scene. You can enjoy a drink at one of the many traditional English pubs or try out cocktails at a trendy bar. Some popular spots include The Old Fire Station, Aruba Bar & Restaurant and Canvas.
If you’re looking to dance the night away, head over to one of Bournemouth’s clubs such as Halo or Cameo which host renowned DJs every weekend. Alternatively, if you prefer more intimate settings with live music performances then Chaplin’s Cellar Bar is your perfect spot.
One great thing about Bournemouth’s nightlife is its diversity – from salsa nights at Revolution de Cuba to karaoke sessions at Walkabout – there really is something for everyone here! And if you’re hungry after all the partying? Fear not as late-night eateries like Tinseltown and Chicken & Blues will satisfy any cravings.
Experiencing Bournemouth’s nightlife should be an essential part of your trip itinerary – it’s truly unforgettable!
Bournemouth is undoubtedly one of the best destinations in the UK for a perfect vacation. With its stunning beaches, picturesque gardens, fascinating museums and galleries, exciting adventure activities, and vibrant nightlife scene, there’s something for everyone here.
Whether you’re travelling solo or with your family and friends, you’ll never run out of things to do in Bournemouth. From relaxing on the sandy shores to exploring nature reserves or indulging in some retail therapy at shopping centres — this place has it all!
So pack your bags and head over to Bournemouth today! We guarantee that you won’t be disappointed with what this beautiful coastal town has in store for you.
FAQs on Best Things to Do in Bournemouth
1. How do I spend a day in Bournemouth?
To make the most of a day in Bournemouth, you can start by visiting the beach and enjoying the sandy shores and water activities. Take a walk along the promenade and explore the shops and cafes. Visit one of the local attractions like the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum or the Oceanarium. Take a leisurely stroll through the Lower Gardens and have a picnic. End the day by catching a show at the Pavilion Theatre or enjoying the vibrant nightlife in the town centre.
2. Is Bournemouth, UK worth visiting?
Yes, Bournemouth is definitely worth visiting. It offers a combination of beautiful beaches, a lively town centre, cultural attractions, and natural beauty. Whether you’re seeking a relaxing beach holiday, outdoor adventures, exploring history and art, or enjoying vibrant entertainment, Bournemouth has something to offer for everyone. Its mild climate and welcoming atmosphere make it an appealing destination throughout the year.
3. Why is Bournemouth famous?
Bournemouth is famous for its stunning beaches and vibrant coastal atmosphere. The town’s seven miles of sandy shores are renowned for their beauty and attract visitors from far and wide. Additionally, Bournemouth is known for its thriving cultural scene, with attractions such as the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum and the Bournemouth International Centre hosting renowned events and exhibitions. Bournemouth has also gained fame as a popular destination for retirees and students due to its pleasant climate and vibrant lifestyle.
4. Why do people love Bournemouth?
There are several reasons why people love Bournemouth. Firstly, its beautiful beaches and coastal scenery provide a picturesque backdrop for relaxation and leisure activities. The town’s lively atmosphere and vibrant town centre offer a range of entertainment options, including theatres, live music venues, and a bustling nightlife. Bournemouth’s cultural attractions, stunning gardens, and proximity to natural wonders like the Jurassic Coast and the New Forest make it an ideal destination for those seeking both urban and outdoor experiences. Lastly, Bournemouth’s warm and welcoming community adds to its charm, making visitors feel at home and ensuring a memorable experience.