No trip to Bournemouth is complete without a LOT of time on the beach. With its seven miles of award winning beaches, there’s so much fun to be had. Whether you want to simply laze and relax on a comfy deckchair, or take a quiet morning swim, or whether you want to get in where the action is and fully incoroporate yourself into a traditional family beach holiday, Bournemouth is glorious. There’s even the opportunity to hire one of its 250+ beach huts or a landmark beach pod. Facilities inside them are lovely – with great cooking facilities and furniture. And the Overstrand building on Boscombe Seafront, where the pods are located, overlooking the seafront, includes showers, shops and eating/drinking facilities. This building was restored and the indoor chalets beaurituflly created.
Bournemouth's main attraction is its beach. At seven miles long and in the sunniest place in the UK it attracts thousands every year. Stretching from Boscombe in the east all the way through to Poole in the west there's plenty of space for family friendly games, surfing and watersports. There are ewven zones which are friendly for dogs and barbecues.
Pick up beach leaflets when in Bournemouth with up to date information on dog friendly beaches and facilities on all of Bournemouth's beach stretches. A selection of Seafront Information Offices are dotted along the beach between Alum Chine and Southbourne offering a wealth of guides, helpful tips and beach hut/ beach pod hire. Each beach section has its own unique character. Dog friendly beaches sit on the outskirts and include Alum Chine, Middle Chine and Fisherrman's Walk.
All along the seafronts are a whole host of bars, cafes, restaurants, amusements and attractions so you won't have to wander far to find something to keep you entertained.
Beautiful historic piers at Bournemouth and Boscombe are still firm favourites as visitor attractions. You can walk all along the prom from Boscombe to Poole and there are three cliff lifts (West Cliff, East Cliff and Fisherman's Walk Cliff Lift) to carry you up the cliff if you're feeling weary. Bournemouth's famous Land Train also runs along the promenade between Alum Chine, Bournemouth Pier and Boscombe Pier.
Leading up the cliffs from Bournemouth beach are several of Bournemouth's famous gardens and chines. The chines are unique to the Dorset coast and the Isle of Wight and are deep and narrow ravines or river valleys with soft rock cut through by a water course flowing down into the sea. Combined with tropical gardens along the coast, the chines with their mix of pines, beech and maple trees are a haven for birds, butterflies and dragonflies. Explore Bournemouth's coastal chines on the trail which begins at Alum Chine car park. Alum Chine is the largest of Bournemouth's four chines and features tropical gardens planted in the 1920s.
Award-winning beaches include four with Blue Flag awards - Alum Chine beach, Fisherman's Walk beach, Southbourne beach and Durley Chine beach. Two further beaches - Bournemouth and Boscombe beaches - have Quality Coast Awards! All are perfect 'bucket and spade' territory offering endless soft golden sands and ample opportunity to hire beach huts and deck chairs. A lifeguard service is in operation across the summer season from May until September, with an additional LV-Kidzone scheme running in peak July and August.
East Cliff and West Cliff beaches, alongside the Bournemouth Pier, are well catered for with deskchairs, kids activities etc. As you get further from the piers and the town centre the beaches become a little quieter. Sandbanks to the West is the longest recipient of the European Blue Flag award, and is brilliant for watersports, and parts are even dog friendlt. Far to the East, Hengistbury Head offers incredible views, and is situated at the start of Christchurch Bay. As a site of scientific interest and nature reserve, there are also dog-friendly parts here. And there’s even designated kite flying area and a small headland train which takes visitors from the car park and Hengistbury Head spit. Below is a good link to Bournemouth beaches, including a plan of the various areas.
Surfing has long been popular in Bournemouth with some of the best waves on the South Coast here at Bournemouth Bay, Boscombe Pier, Southbourne Beach, Highcliffe and further west at Kimmeridge Bay are all popular surfing hotspots, and a choice of Bournemouth surf schools are located close to Bournemouth and Boscombe beaches.
Other popular watersports all widely available include jetski, luxury boat cruises along the neighbouring Jurassic Coast, power boating, paddle boarding, kayaking and sailing. Many adrenalin pumping watersports activities are available around the natural harbour at Poole and at the Sandbanks peninsula both easily reached just west of Bournemouth.
Bournemouth has three iconic cliff lifts pushing up from beaches to the cliff top. Each is a historic seaside gem offering spectacular sea views on the ride up.
The West Cliff Lift dates from 1908 and leads up to the Bournemouth International Centre area whilst East Cliff Lift, also constructed in 1908. pushes up to the fantastic Victorian free entry Russell Cotes Art Gallery and Museum. Don't miss the little heritage exhibit at the top of East Cliff Lift in the toll house.
The third lift is Fisherman's Walk Cliff Lift dating from the mid-1930s with charming cafe and kids play area at the top.