Guest blogger Produced by

Nikki Mennen (Netherlands)

Hi! I’m Nikki. I’m originally from the Netherlands and came all the way to Bournemouth to study an MA in Creative Writing and Publishing. As an international student, I had the pleasure of my friends and family visiting me in Bournemouth a couple of times, which was so much fun. But, what to do if you are running out of ideas to entertain your visitors? Let me give you some ideas!

First of all, you have to consider what your visitors enjoy and how fit they are, when looking at different activities. You might want to do different things with your group of friends than with your parents. To give you an idea of the several options, I’ll talk about a range of activities – from active sports to quiet afternoons.

Sports and outdoor activities

Are your visitors ready to get active? Good news, Bournemouth and its surroundings has plenty of options. I went kayaking at Durdle Door with my siblings, hiking in New Forest National Park with my parents and surfing at Newquay with my friends. I’m also planning to go camping in New Forest National Park. Big recommendation: go on a hike with alpaca’s on the Isle of Wight. But in Bournemouth itself, there are plenty of things to do as well, like hiking or biking along the coastline, surfing or snorkelling, and ziplining at Bournemouth Pier.

City trips

Besides the lovely centre of Bournemouth, there are many nice cities around here to visit. I especially loved the Christmas market in Bath, the city centre and the cathedral in Christchurch, the seafood restaurants with ocean view in Swanage, and the Saturday market in Lymington. You can do a day-trip by bus or train, or arrange accommodation for the night. If you have or rent a car, you can even go beyond the closest cities. This way, I went to London, Polperro and Land’s End.

Indoor activities and quiet afternoons

If you have family visiting that are less mobile or just prefer an easy-going day, there is still plenty of fun things to do. Go see a musical or show at the Pavillion Theatre, have a chill day in the park or at the beach, and go see some live music in one of the pubs at night.  Looking for something active, but the weather is bad? Consider doing an escape room with a group of friends, visit the Russell Coates Art Museum, or go and feed the penguins at the Oceanarium.

Food and drinks

As we all know, there’s one key ingredient to a great week(end): food! The centre of Bournemouth has so many great places to have breakfast, lunch or dinner. Some of my favourites are: Pizza at The Stable, Italian food at Zizzi, tapas at Ojo Rojo or Lola’s, and Japanese at Wagamama. You also have to try bringing your own portable barbecue to the beach!

Besides food, you might feel like having some drinks at night in a pub. I recommend Sixty Million Postcards, Brewhouse and Kitchen, and Cosy Club. Many of these pubs offer live music or pub quizzes, and you can often have dinner there as well. Feeling more like dancing? Try one of the clubs like Cameo, or a livelier bar like Walkabout or Yates. Also check the Old Fire station for any parties or concerts, or try a living room concert through Sofar Sounds.

Most importantly: have fun! And let us know what you did when you had visitors over.

By Nikki Mennen, Netherlands, MA Creative Writing and Publishing, 2017/18