Bournemouth - travel, accommodation and attraction information

Bournemouth travel guide

A classic seaside resort

With 7 miles of golden sand and sparkling sea, buzzing Bournemouth has a vast variety of shops, restaurants and holiday accommodation. Add pulsing nightlife and endless countryside to award-winning gardens and great water sports and you've got one of the south coast's hottest spots.

Memory of Bournemouth

“We regularly come to Bournemouth with the children and play in the gardens or visit the Oceanarium – the boys love the sharks!”

The Powell Family, Dorset

Culture and heritage

Historic Victorian Architecture and seaside art deco blend beautifully in Bournemouth and Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, is buried in St Peter’s church. Cultural events take place all year, from classic car rallies to carnivals, and lively theatre, comedy and opera performances.


Bournemouth’s most famous asset is its award-winning beach – a 7-mile crescent of glistening sand where you can sunbathe, surf and cycle. Don’t miss the eccentric Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum , the striking Victorian gardens and the Oceanarium . You can also stroll on the pier or take a cruise to discover the Dorset coast.


Most of Bournemouth’s town centre is pedestrianised with shops, boutiques and restaurants jostling for position along lively streets. Head to the market at Boscombe for fresh local produce and antiques or to Westbourne for designer shops, delis and beauty stores.

Top daytime must-do's

Top night time must-do's

Visit the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum – an eclectic mix of treasures from around the world.

Enjoy the summer Family Fiesta with circus entertainers, a huge firework display and kids’ discos.

Uncover the secrets of the seas at the Oceanarium .

Sip on a cocktail as the sun sets over the bay.

Explore the tropical gardens at Alum Chine.

Take in a play at the Pier Theatre or dance at the Opera House nightclub.

Hire a beach hut, get comfy and settle in for a day at the beach.

See a gig at the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) which draws big name bands.

Take a boat trip to Brownsea Island to see red squirrels and deer.

Find accommodation in Bournemouth quickly and easily with our accommodation search

Food and drink

Over 250 restaurants whisk diners around the world with every sort of cuisine including some outstanding seafood. Eat in town, on the pier or at the seafront. If you’re on a budget, hit the beach with a picnic or better still, indulge in some traditional fish ‘n’ chips.


Walking, cycling and horseriding in the Purbeck Hills and New Forest; wakeboarding, fishing and sailing on the sea – Bournemouth covers most sporting bases. And with the opening of Europe’s first artificial surf reef in 2009, Bournemouth’s set to become one of the best surf spots in the UK!

Music and nightlife

There’s always something going on in Bournemouth whether you’re looking for pubs, clubs, comedy or cabaret. In summer, watching the sunset from the beach takes some beating and there are firework displays and evening events in the beautifully lit gardens.

Buy before you fly

There’s a lot to see and do in Bournemouth. So don’t waste time standing in queues, buy your travel passes and attraction tickets online! For more great Bournemouth offers, go to VisitBritain Shop .

Bournemouth Facts

Dorset, South Coast
Closest airport
Bournemouth International Airport
Football club
Bournemouth A.F.C
Famous locals
Tolkien, Robert Louis Stevenson
Local food
Dorset Blue Vinney Cheese
Nearest towns / cities
Poole, Christchurch, Salisbury,...
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