Ahhh, Bournemouth. One of my favourite places in the whole wide world. I was born there and though we moved away before I was two, we spent a lot of time back on the beach when I was growing up.
I guess that’s why I like taking my two back to good old Bournemouth. To make memories, to enjoy the bracing British seaside (and it generally is very bracing). There’s something so wonderful about the sea air, that expanse of sand and the feel of a Mr Whippy dripping down your hand. I love it!
We’ve just got back from another winter jaunt to my favourite place thanks to Travelodge, so I wanted to share with you some of my must-dos in my very favourite place:
Well, duh. The beach at Bournemouth is absolutely beautiful. There’s a stretch of just over a mile between Boscombe and Bournemouth piers (though 7 miles in total!), which you can walk (as we did, brrrr) or step on the land train. Boscombe is the quieter end of the two, but the pier is a beautifully restored Victorian affair and it’s fab to stroll out to the end to watch kite surfers. The Bournemouth end is pretty busy with its amusement arcades and cafés and is a great spot to grab an ice cream or do some people watching.
The beach obviously gets very busy come summer time, but in the winter there’s tons of parking space along the sea front if you don’t fancy the walk down the zig-zag: though one of my favourite childhood memories is skipping down here absolutely desperate to get the sand between my toes. The beach itself is award-winning and enjoys its own micro-climate and some of the warmest sea temperatures in the UK (not to be sampled in February, though!). On a clear day you can see all the way out to the Isle of Wight and the Purbecks.
Right by Bournemouth pier, Bournemouth Oceanarium is a great spot to dive in for a couple of hours if you need a break from the beach. Full to the brim of interesting sea life – the otters are a new addition since my last visit! – this is a great place for kids of any age.
The Oceanarium, Pier Approach, Bournemouth.
This is one of my favourite restaurants in the whole wide world. Slap bang on the beach and looking out to sea, booking is a must in the summer but it’s much quieter in the colder seasons. I love to come in here for a restorative glass of wine after being whipped to death by the salty sea wind! They do kids menus and I find the staff are very children-friendly: don’t be put off by the huge prices as there’s a slightly cheaper lunch menu (I love their fishcakes – they come with hollandaise and a beautifully poached egg, yum).
Westbeach, Pier Approach, Bournemouth.
This time around we were offered a complimentary stay at the Travelodge on Christchurch road. The hotel was wonderfully placed right next to access to Boscombe beach, and I can imagine a quick roll out of bed to sandcastle building in the summer! There were quite a few stag do’s staying at the same time as us but the noise was minimal – we all slept like babies – and the family rooms were large. The buffet breakfast was a treat for my bacon fiend Elfie (and 2 kids can eat free to every adult – BONUS!) but dinner wasn’t great; I’d escape the lads and head to Koh for Thai Tapas just down the road or Ocean City Chinese a five minute walk away.
Travelodge Bournemouth, 43 Christchurch Road. Rooms from £35.
Peppa Pig World
No visit to Hampshire is complete without a trip to Peppa Pig World! Even though Elfie is coming up to six she still adores this place, a short 15 minute drive out of the town centre. Having taken my two a couple of times it’s still a delight to see how excited they get at meeting their favourite characters and riding Grandpa’s little train. Tickets give you access to the whole of Paulton’s Park so if the weather is good it’s definitely worth planning on spending the whole day here.
Peppa Pig World at Paultons Park, Ower, Romsey, Hampshire. Tickets around £24/each.
Even open in the Winter, Splashdown Waterpark is such wonderful fun. We didn’t have time to head there on this visit but it should definitely be high on your Bournemouth ‘To Do’ list.
Splashdown Waterpark, Tower Park, Poole.
The New Forest
I spent a few weeks of my summer as a young girl at Pony Club activities in The New Forest: it really is a very magical place to visit. Even if we’re just driving through I try to pull over for a few minutes to sit and appreciate the beauty of the vista. If you have a couple of hours to spend I suggest lunch at The Pig (booking essential – see our review of The Pig on The Beach here), a visit to Ringwood Brewery or tea and cake at one of the many lovely tea shops dotted around. Watch out for the ponies!
Approx. a 10 min drive out of Bournemouth.
Have you visited Bournemouth? What are your favourite things to do there? No doubt we’ll be back soon!!