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Posted by on Feb 29, 2012 in Travel |

Top 5 Things To Do In Bournemouth – Including Bonus 5 Free Things To Do

1. Learn To Windsurf at UK’s No1 Spot with the Poole Windsurfing School

When looking for things to do in Bournemouth, holiday makers and locals often forget that they can take windsurfing lessons and learn to windsurf at the UK’s No1 spot, Poole Harbour. It is just around the corner from Bournemouth and being the second largest natural harbour in the world, with a designated area for watersports, it really is the UK’s No1 Spot to learn to windsurf.

Check out the Poole Windsurfing Video Guided Tour to see why this is one of the top 5 things to do in Bournemouth during your stay:

2. Go to the Bournemouth Oceanarium

Through the Lower Gardens and next to the pier is the Oceanarium, this is one of ‘the’ things to do in Bournemouth, with sea life from all over the world from The Amazon to the Florida Keys. You can walk through the shark tunnel and enjoy seeing the sting rays.

Crystal-clear waters and naturally-themed habitats allow close encounters with a dazzling array of underwater life from elegant seahorses to sinister tropical sharks. Journey below the surface of the worlds greatest rivers; the Amazon, Ganges and the Nile and meet weird and wonderful creatures like the upside-down catfish and the giant pacu. The Oceanarium is definitely worth a visit and is one of the best things to do in Bournemouth on a rainy day!

3. Hire a traditional beach hut

One of the more leisurely things to do in Bournemouth is to take to the beach in style by hiring a beach hut and be a part of a great British tradition. You can’t get a more traditional thing to do in Bournemouth! Did you know Bournemouth invented the beach hut back in 1908 and still rents out the oldest in the world?

Things to do in Bournemouth - Hire a beach hut

Alternatively you could hire one of the new funky surf reef ‘beach pods’, based at Boscombe Beach – the ultimate in style.


4. Plan the rest of your trip with a Bournemouth City Sightseeing tour

This extended tour now takes you through Christchurch, Bournemouth and Poole in a tour lasting 80 minutes. Bournemouth lies in the heart of Dorset on the South Coast and has seven miles of golden sands and sparkling sea. The vibrant cosmopolitan town has it all – a vast variety of shops, restaurants theatres & shows plus a buzzing night life. It is home to beautiful parks and Bournemouth’s Gardens. Take the tour and plan your visit with City Sightseeing Bournemouth which will highlight all the things to do and see during your stay. You can hop on and off at your leisure at the 22 conveniently located stops which are positioned along the route.

Take your pick from Sandbanks Beach in Poole, the beach at Durley Chine, Solent Beach in Christchurch or explore all three with your 24 hour valid ticket! Relax in Poole Park where old and young visitors alike will enjoy the play park, miniature railway and boating lake. Stroll around the shops and museum at Poole Quay or hop off at Sandbanks Peninsula and see the homes of the rich and famous! Spend the evening enjoying a meal or drink in lively Bournemouth town centre or try one of the bars at West Cliff. Poole Quay also offers a range of restaurants and pubs and the Aruba Bar can be found on Bournemouth Pier. There are many things to do in Bournemouth, so let City Sightseeing highlight all the best attractions and help you to make the most of your stay.

5. Take to the sky with the Bournemouth Balloon

Things To Do Bournemouth Balloon
Located in the Lower Gardens, another of Bournemouth’s top attractions is the Bournemouth Eye (or now called Bournemouth Balloon). The Bournemouth Balloon is the town’s answer to the London Eye. It transports it’s passengers up in a balloon where they can see the whole area from the New Forest to the Isle of Wight. This gentle trip is the premier way to see the stunning scenery of Bournemouth and the surrounding areas.

As one of the very unique things to do in Bournemouth this helium-filled balloon is fixed to the ground by a steel cable and a winch system takes the balloon 500 feet up, giving its riders 360 degree panoramic views over the town, its beaches and the surrounding Dorset countryside.

The balloon operates seasonally, from 9 am until late 7 days a week, from Easter until the end of September. However it is weather-dependent and on stormy days doesn’t fly.

As an addition or backup to the above we have also compiled a list from our insider local knowledge of the top 5 free things to do in Bournemouth! Incorporate some or all of the following free Bournemouth tourist activities and you can justify one or two of the great paid for experiences, such as windsurfing lessons at the Poole Windsurfing School.

Top 5 Free Things To Do In Bournemouth

1. Do the Pier to Pier Walk

Start at either Bournemouth or Boscombe Pier and finish at the other. Enjoy the scenic stroll along the promenade and treat yourself to coffee and cake at one of the many cafes, restaurants or hotels at either end.

2. Take a stroll through Bournemouth gardens

Free Things To Do Bournemouth Gardens

Bournemouth is famous for its gardens (Grade II listed gardens) which are split into three areas of Victorian beauty – starting with the Lower Gardens, adjacent to the sea and leading to the Central Gardens in the town centre and then the Upper Gardens. The award winning gardens have colourful flower displays and include a stream, ice-cream kiosks and mini golf. In the summer what better way to relax than to listen to the music from the Pine Walk bandstand or visit the aviary or art exhibition? The Bournemouth gardens are like no other as they have a whole wealth of things to keep its visitors interested and its one of the free things to do in Bournemouth that is always available to you!

3. Cycle from Bournemouth to Hengistbury Head

If you want to see the famous 7 miles of beaches then taking to 2 wheels is a smart way to get around. Cruise along the promenade towards the famous Sandbanks beaches and if you are feeling adventurous, over the chain ferry and into the Purbecks. Going in the other direction you can cycling out to Hengistbury Head where you can even take a land train to Christchurch Harbour.

4. Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum

Visit one of the most important and fascinating museum-houses in England. It holds collections of international status and reflects the Victorian fascination with world cultures. One of the more cultural things to do in Bournemouth, the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum is just up the road from the beach at Bournemouth pier.

5. Swim in the Sea

Free Things To Do Bournemouth

Maybe the most ‘done’ of all things to do in Bournemouth is to take a swim in the sea at one of the golden sand beaches. It’s free to swim in the ocean and enjoy Bournemouth’s beaches.


Enjoy your stay – you certainly won’t run out of things to do in Bournemouth!

Poole Windsurfing - No 1 for Windsurfing Lessons & Equipment Hire in Poole Harbour

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