Surprisingly for a British town, Bournemouth dates only from Victorian times, when it was settled as a summer holiday destination

Before that, it was a wild heathland where the Bourne stream met the sea.

Its main appeal is still probably its seaside and sandy beaches : in summer, they are packed with sunseekers and surfers. However, its also a charming place to visit during the winter months, when it is probably less crowded. In addition to beaches, there are also various public gardens and parks, piers, museums and Victorian villas. All making Bournemouth a pleasant and inexpensive day’s outing from the chaos of London.

 

Getting there by train

Trains depart from London Waterloo to Bournemouth every half hour (at five minutes past and 35 minutes past). Journey time is around two hours.

view map of Bournemouth

Beaches

Bournemouth has seven miles of beaches, and the best is claimed to be Sandbanks. Surfers have been coming here since the 1960’s, especially to Boscombe Pier, Southbourne Beach, Highcliffe and Kimmeridge Bay. Bournemouth Bay has always been known as a safe surfing location and for its clean beaches.

The sea front is lined with various restaurants and shops, including a branch of the famous Harry Ramsden’s fish and chips restaurant.

Bournemouth Pier

Bournemouth Pier has existed in its present location at the heart of the beachfront since 1856. It has been re-built or strengthened several times, most recently in the 1980’s.

In 1868 the first recorded pleasure excursion from Bournemouth Pier was by the steamer ‘Fawn’.

Since 1871 there has been a long association between Bournemouth Pier and pleasure steamers. To this day the tradition continues with regular seasonal visits by the paddle steamer ‘Waverley’.