Things To Do in Bournemouth

With a coastline of watersports, attractions and activities and plenty of restaurants to suit all tastes, you will be spoilt for choice whenever you decide to visit Bournemouth.

With its award winning beaches and busy town centre, Bournemouth can offer you an array of different experiences whatever the weather – with a jam-packed calendar all year round that is sure to excite all of its visitors.

Check out our Mini Guide, which has all the information you need about things to do, events, attractions and places to eat in and around Bournemouth.

Pick up your very own A5 pocket-sized guide from the Tourist Information Centre.

Discover for yourself why Bournemouth has been voted Best Beach Destination by TripAdvisor readers – here are our 10 ‘must do’ things in Bournemouth:

1.  Breathe in the fresh sea air- take a stroll on our historic piers when walking along the seven miles of award winning seafront. You will see why it’s renowned across Europe for being the cleanest, prettiest stretch of beach in the UK whilst being sat in your rented beach hut.

2.  Shop until you drop- just a short stroll from the beach through our beautiful gardens, finds you in the heart of  Bournemouth’s shopping district, which features individual boutique shops, alongside high street name stores.

Gardens Autumn 3.  Tree Trails to Tropical Gardens – enjoy our 2,000 acres of glorious gardens and picturesque parks. The Lower Gardens leads directly to the beach and are also home to mini golf, the bandstand, aviary, the Art Exhibition at Pine Walk and many catering kiosks.

4.  Cultural Delights – Visit the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum – a historic house situated on the cliff top, full of treasures from around the world including famous paintings and ever changing exhibitions. Take in the incredible views of Bournemouth beach as you wonder the grounds and enjoy a bite to eat from their cafe.

5.  Family Fun– For an experience to remember visit some of the fantastic attractions in the surrounding towns and villages. There’s always something  to keep the kids entertained from farms, wildlife parks to arts and crafts activities and adventure family themed parks like Paultons Park which is a full of adventures and delights for the younger visitor and is also home to the UK’s only Peppa Pig World too.

Paddleboarding in Boscombe6.  Make a splash- feeling brave and want to dip your toes in the ocean then why not try surf lessons or body boarding? Bournemouth and Poole is home to a range of watersports to try out from beginners to fanatics.  If the sea is too cold for you then head over to Splashdown or Littledown to enjoy their indoor facilities and plunging slides.

7.  A night to remember – Bournemouth offers an excellent array of evening entertainment at the BIC and Pavilion Theatre, from West End shows and pop concerts to comedy performances and dance productions. And with cocktail bars, traditional pubs and clubs dedicated to all genres of music, you will be sure to have a night to remember in Bournemouth.

8.  Pedal Power – From scenic flats to strenuous hill rides, Bournemouth and the surrounding area is a magnet for cyclists. Why not cycle along the Bournemouth promenade and enjoy the seven miles of sea views or venture futher out and cycle along the Jurassic Coast- England’s first natural World Heritage Site – and capture sights of Corfe Castle and Durdle Door before stopping off to enjoy high tea- the ultimate British tradition.

Spa9.  Indulge yourself – many of our hotels and beauty salons offers luxurious spa facilities for you to enjoy some much deserved pampering, with a selection of treatments and packages guaranteed to transport you to a tranquil world of relaxation and revitalization.

10.  Explore and discover – There are plenty of ways to enjoy our coastline by foot, by bike, a trip on our famousland trains or cliff lifts, sea trips and local bus tours. Boscombe has opened UK’s first multipurpose Coastal Activity Park, offering a range of water and land based sporting activities – you will never be bored in Bournemouth!

Use the search box on the right of this page to search for things to do in Bournemouth.

Attractions in Bournemouth….

Attractions in and around Bournemouth

Beach and Gardens

Bournemouth is renowned for its seven miles of golden beaches and award-winning parks and gardens just waiting to be discovered all year round. Why not follow the tree trail which takes you on a two hour walk, highlighting some of the trees found in the Upper and Central Gardens? During the walk, you may also come across other interesting and beautiful species.

Churches, chapels and castles

Learn even more about Dorset’s history and visit one of the many churches, chapels or castles around the local area.

Concerts and Shows

Bournemouth shows a variety of concerts and shows, including theatre and films, comedy and music.

Explore Bournemouth

If you want to venture outside of the town there’s plenty of tours which will take you to Stonehenge, the New Forest and into deepest Dorset and lots more! Take a look at our 10 places to explore in Bournemouth for more ideas.

Family Fun

There’s plenty of family fun, whether you’re looking for a family adventure, or small farm fun there’s a host of attractions guaranteed to entertain the whole family.

History Heritage and culture

Dorset has plenty of history, heritage and culture, including historic castles, fantastic art collections, stately homes and museums displaying everything from classic motors to terracotta warriors.

Neighbouring suburbs

There’s plenty to see and do just a few minutes outside of Bournemouth, check out these suburbs if you fancy a short trip: Boscombe, Charminster, Southbourne, Westbourne and Winton.

Sports and leisure

If you’re looking for something a little more active, there’s plenty of sports and leisure, from windsurfing and kayaking to cycling and bowls.

Bournemouth….

10 places to Explore near Bournemouth

Bournemouth lies in Dorset on the South Coast with an expanse of heritage and countryside to explore. Stay in Bournemouth and discover the surrounding area. Here are ten places waiting for you to discover:

1. Poole – Bournemouth’s neighbour, is famous for boasting the world’s second largest natural harbour and for the area of Sandbanks as one of the most expensive places to live.

2.Corfe Castle – one of Britain’s most majestic ruins. The castle controlled the gateway through the Purbeck Hills in the time of William the Conqueror.

3. Swanage – this small town surrounds a beautiful curved bay. It has many attractions including the Purbeck coast path, heritage centre, gardens and beautiful Purbeck stone buildings.

4.The New Forest National Park – a royal playground for William the Conqueror. It remains largely unchanged with miles and miles of unspoilt ancient landscapes, wild ponies and deer, disused railways and leafy lanes.

5.Jurassic Coastline World Heritage Site – outstanding fossil localities and stunning rock and cliff formations including the famous arched Durdle Door.

6.Cerne Abbas  – A charming village with abbey ruins and Tudor cottages and a very famous giant carved into the chalk hillside.

7. There are plenty of ways to explore the area, both on land and on sea. Take a look for yourself

8. Portsmouth – spend a naval day in the city and see famous war ships at the historic Dockyard or shop ’til you drop.

9.Shaftesbury – Quaint, cobbled and very steep, Gold Hill is the star of the old Hovis advert and can be found in this beautiful town. Wander around the traditional shops or enjoy a cream tea in one of the many cafes and restaurants.

10. Christchurch – a small Saxon town with castle ruins, a quaint Quay, boutiques, celebrity restaurants and an infamous food festival which takes place each year.

Historic fact: Many famous authors have frequented Bournemouth over the years. Thomas Hardy described Bournemouth as a ‘Mediterranean lounging place on the English Channel’ and Betjeman said ‘Bournemouth is a stately Victorian duchess with her head touching Christchurch and her feet turned towards Poole.’