Produced by Hannah
BA (Hons) Social Work
Wondering what there is to do in and around Bournemouth that doesn’t involve Bournemouth’s nightlife? This blog will fill you in on activities and days out Dorset and the surrounding area’s has to offer.
Bournemouth is known for its golden sandy beach, which is voted the 20th best beach globally and 5 best in Europe according to the 2021 Tripadvisor rankings. The beach is dog and bbq friendly throughout times of the year. From 6pm, you can light a charcoal or gas bbq on the Bournemouth and Poole beaches. The coasts at Bournemouth and Poole offer a variety of activities from surfing lessons, sailing and kayaking, to jet ski rentals and powerboats. You can book leisurely dining cruises as well as firework cruises throughout the summer months. Bournemouth Pier has it’s very own zipline that is the world’s first pier to shore zip wire, of 250 metres that you can double up a trip with a friend for races. There are also opportunities at Boscombe pier, just a short walk from Bournemouth’s to take part in bouldering outside.
Within Bournemouth town, there are a mixture of cafes, escape rooms, shopping centres, gardens, and rivers to walk by, restaurants and the BH2 centre which offers restaurants, a cinema and entertainment such as miniature adventure golf with electro-darts, laser-shot and ping pong.
A short bus ride to Poole will allow you the opportunity to visit the harbour, a more historic old town that offers boat cruises also around the local area. Poole is home to Tower Park, an entertainment complex providing bowling, cinema, restaurants, soft play and a water park. There is Poole Park, which allows you to submerge in nature, feed ducks and explore the lake, where you can also rent out sailing boats, kayaks and paddle boards.
If being out in nature is for you, there are lots of national trust spots, including Brownsea Island which is a ferry ride from Poole harbour. Brownsea Island is home to over 200 rare red squirrels and the island plays an important role in providing a safe haven for overwintering birds.
On the outskirts of Wimborne, just 11 miles from Bournemouth, another one of my favourite National Trust spots lies Kingston Lacy. Kingston Lacy has plenty to see, from a historic house to visit to the sweeping landscapes that surround it. You can visit the Japanese garden which leads to the Kitchen Garden, where
Queen Victoria once sent her own gardeners for inspiration. The estate has 8500 acres to explore featuring Iron Age hill forts, heathlands, meadows, woodland and the world’s oldest pedigree herd of Red Ruby Devon Cattle. During the winter months, it is transformed into a winter wonderland with activities and light illuminating shows.
If history is more your thing, you can venture into the Purbecks (Dorset) and explore Corfe Castle. Corfe Castle, again owned by National Trust, was partially demolished in 1646 and the remains are still there today for you to explore. Activities such as archery can be found throughout the year at this spot. You can also trek the Purbeck Ridgeway, leading from the castle down to the sea in Swanage. All of these are accessible by train or bus if you do not have access to a car, as South Dorset has great public transport links. You can map your journey here.
Bournemouth has a lot of special annual events that you can participate in, from food or art exhibitions and stands to sports events. Bournemouth hosts swims and runs for charity from Race for Life, the Bournemouth Bay Run to Dinghy days down at the rivers. The Upside Gallery and Selfie Walls along the beach front add to Bournemouth’s creativity and art sculpture exhibitions you’ll find displayed throughout the year.
There’s always a huge selection of Open Mic Nights, Comedy Nights and Quiz nights found at local pubs, bars, and restaurants, including themed events such as Harry Potter or Disney. Bournemouth and Poole are also known for their festivals, from Poole Harbour Festival, Food and Drink Festival, the Air Show, Arts by the Sea, Festival Coast Live, Christmas Tree Winter Wonderland and Bournemouth 7’s. The entertainment at these varies from fairground rides, live music, aircraft displays, lifestyle exhibitions to Christmas themed markets and light displays.
If you get the opportunity to escape into North Dorset, there is sweeping countryside, horse riding opportunities as well as animal rescue shelters where you can help care for Donkeys and Horses in their last home. You can visit the historic site of Gold Hill, in Shaftesbury, famous for the advert on Hovis Bread.
If you happen to explore the New Forest, on the Dorset, Hampshire border, you can also experience water sports, horse-riding, cycling and walking routes, golf, fishing, boat tours, camping, open water swimming and an inflatable aqua park including trampolines, wiggle discs, hurdles, monkey bars, domes, and high jumping points all on water.
Bournemouth is also home to its own airport where you can catch flights to countries such as Cyprus, Spain, Greece, and Poland. All countries I have flown to myself from Bournemouth airport in the past.
Bournemouth, Dorset is a great place to live if you want the hustle and bustle of a town/city-feel whilst remaining close to nature also. You’ll never find yourself short of things to do, whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, sports fanatic, nature lover or artistic creative soul.