Bournemouth bound for summer fun

In Beach, Family, Travel Inspiration, UK by Kirsti

Bournemouth is one of the UK’s hottest seaside destinations and with the weather hotting up there’s no better time to take a look at this vibrant, cosmopolitan town.

As a Hampshire resident I’ve enjoyed the delights of Bournemouth many times over the years, but even if you are further afield the town should feature on your UK seaside destination list. A week or two visiting Bournemouth and the surrounding area is a time you will never forget.

All year round, Bournemouth and the county of Dorset are a haven of activity, with the historic Jurassic Coast boasting 95 miles of stunning coastline which forms England’s first natural world heritage site.


Red arrows photo : Santosh Puthran


Bournemouth lower gardens

A couple of events that have caught my eye over the coming months include Bournemouth Air Festival, where the Red Arrows will be displaying over all four days along with a Battle of Britain memorial flight. The full list of displays can be found on the official website, with the festival taking place from 28th to 31st August.

The second notable event is Candlelight Nights, taking place in the Lower Gardens on 30th July, 6th, 13th and 20th August. This is an old tradition that sees the lower gardens transformed by locals and visitors lighting hundreds of candles around the gardens. Enjoy live music, street entertainment, a fire zone and a heritage zone in this twinkling wonderland.

So what else should be on your to-do list?

I’ve been chatting with Visit Bournemouth and some local businesses that provide activities in and around the town; here are a few ideas to whet your appetite.

Surfing in Dorset

Surfing is something my children fell in love with at an early age, and I love watching them out on the ocean, embracing the freedom of the open water. Surf Steps School is the ideal place to try this addictive sport or to improve your skills on the board. Situated on Bournemouth beach, Surf Steps offers the ultimate in surf tuition and is the only Surfing GB centre of excellence on the South Coast with qualified and experienced instructors. Your experience is guaranteed to be great fun as well as safe. You can also try your hand at “SUP” – Stand Up Paddle boarding. All equipment is provided for your lesson, or if you’re already proficient but don’t want the hassle of transporting all the gear you can hire it from Surf Steps. Make that first step into the ocean and you really won’t look back.

Back on land…

Looking for a chilled and relaxing journey with history, spectacular views and bags of nostalgia? Try Swanage Railway, an award-winning standard gauge preserved steam railway. It offers one of the country’s greatest heritage steam and diesel  train services.

Swanage Railway train

Sit back and enjoy the passing scenery in style whilst indulging in a much acclaimed afternoon Dorset Cream Tea; the passing Isle of Purbeck countryside is idyllic, with stunning views of Corfe Castle.

The stations at Norden, Corfe Castle, Harmans Cross, Herston and Swanage provide access to historic villages, country walks and the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. Trains run daily from April to October as well as most weekends throughout the year.

Steam and Diesel Galas, family fun events plus regular evening and lunchtime “Wessex Belle” and “Dorsetman” dining services are all very popular. Over the coming months there is much to look forward to: one of the South Coast’s premier events is the Swanage Regatta and Carnival. Swanage Railway will be providing frequent day and evening train services during this event, so no need to worry about traffic queues and parking – let the train take the strain!

Swanage Railway

The two-mile procession is magnificent, as are the firework displays which light up the skies over Swanage. With over 100 events taking place, this is an extravaganza not to be missed.

There is so much more I could share with you, including Paddington Bear visits, Santa specials and luxury dinning carriages; to learn more check out the Swanage Railway website.

Swanage Railway

Why not take advantage of some expert local knowledge? Discover Dorset Tours have many years’ experience organising trips to share some of the UK’s most treasured historic sites and attractions; their Jurassic Coast tour showcases several of its most striking features. With a Trip Advisor certificate of excellence for 2014 and glowing reviews, this wonderful area is just begging to be explored.

This full-day trip starts with taking the early morning ferry over to the picturesque Isle of Purebeck. The views whilst crossing are breathtaking, with a stunning panorama of Poole Harbour stretching out to Brownsea Island and Old Harry Rocks, the starting point for the Jurassic Coast.

Jurassic coast Dorset

By mid-morning you will be at Durlston Country Park – visit the new Jurassic Coast visitor centre which is situated in the newly refurbished Durlston Castle. There are many sites to enjoy here and the tour provides ample time in which to wander and explore.

Lunch is in the village of the historic Corfe Castle; entry to the castle costs extra but is free for National Trust members. After lunch you will visit the gorgeous Lulworth Cove (a place I will never forget) and Durdle Door. Make sure your camera is charged for this trip as the photo opportunities are endless.

Corfe castle, Dorset

If that itinerary doesn’t sound like roaring good fun, take a look at The Dinosaur Museum in Dorchester where a hands-on approach is encouraged, especially from smaller palaeontologists.

Dorset Dinosaur Museum

There are free explorer fun sheets for the kids and the life-size reconstructions of these magnificent creatures are awesome. The museum contains many life-size reconstructions along with fossils and dinosaur skeletons.

This summer the museum is holding a special event – Super Summer Dinosaur Hunt. Taking place every day until the 31st August, the whole museum becomes a hunting ground, clues are given and children must explore the exhibits and displays to find the answers. Those who manage to crack the code and mystery win a special reward.

Fun at the dinosaur museum

For more inspiring ideas and for all the latest events, Visit Bournemouth provide a comprehensive guide to attractions and activities in the town and surrounding area.

Have a fantastic summer, wherever your travels may take you.

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Kirsti Banyard lives in Hampshire and loves nothing more than spending time with her two sons and husband whether exploring Cornwall or perhaps further afield to enjoying a roast meal on a Sunday.



KirstiBournemouth bound for summer fun