Whether you’re spending a day on the beach or grabbing a seaside stroll between shops, with seven miles of sand and smiles Bournemouth’s idyllic beachfront is packed with attractions for all.
Some people come to Bournemouth on the reputation of its beach alone. But whether you come specifically to tread the seven miles of sandy beaches, or you’re here for one of Bournemouth’s world-class events, or you’re just popping into town, it’s hard to stay away from this glorious seafront. Stretching between iconic Sandbanks in the east to historic Hengistbury Head to the west, Bournemouth’s golden miles are packed with delights for visitors and locals alike.
More than just a beach trip
Drop into the pier-side Rock Shop for some retro holiday candy, snap up some postcards and souvenirs, and play the penny-pushers in the arcade before strolling along the picturesque pier.
If you’re looking for something more daring, try your hand at Clip ‘n Climb or Pier Caving at Bournemouth Pier’s climbing centre RockReef, and swap the walk back for a ride on the pier zip wire, to rocket straight back down to the beach.
Somewhere for everyone
Bournemouth beach is divided into zones to make it safe and accessible for everyone. There are stretches of sand which welcome dogs all year round and seasonal restrictions on cycles to keep the promenade a safe place at busier times. Families with young children can check in to any beachfront office and grab a colour-coded Kidzone wristband for their little ones – pop your mobile telephone number on there for emergencies and make sure they know which coloured section of the beach you’re on. If you don’t enjoy the sand between your toes, the Pier Approach open space has been luxuriously landscaped with pavement cafés, fun fountains and an outdoor stage offering live music, dance events and an outdoor cinema.
You’ll spot plenty of people along Bournemouth beach and the nearby bays every day of the year. From joggers and dog walkers to all-weather paddlers and beach-hut hirers – take a stroll on the sand, dip a toe in the Channel or catch the friendly land train to the next beach along and beyond. If the call of the water is too tempting, why not try surfing, kite boarding or paddle boarding? Drop in to a beachside surf school and hire some kit, book a lesson or check the tide times. Boscombe’s artificial surf reef makes this beach popular with seasoned surfers. If you’re lucky enough to be here during one of the surf festivals, watch the pros in action from the sand, the surf or from the warmth of a beachfront café. If this stirs your sense of adventure, go beach bouldering in Boscombe’s free Coastal Activity Park.
If simply watching the world go by is more likely to float your boat, you can hire one of Bournemouth’s hundreds of beach huts all year round. From private lets to council rentals, hotel-owned huts and modern beach pods to smart Mudeford sleepers, pick your favourite stretch of beach and put down some roots at the most exclusive beachside address, if only for the day.
Drivers can locate the beach by using this postcode in their sat-nav: BH2 5AA. Note that this postcode is for sat-nav purposes only, and may not represent the actual address of the beach.
A refreshing choice
There are plenty of opportunities for refreshment in easy reach of Bournemouth beach. From slap-up meals at West Beach, Vesuvio or West Beach restaurants to a bag of Harry Ramsden’s fish and chips. Grab a burger at Hot Rocks, a cocktail at Aruba, a Harvester grill at Durley Chine or Boscombe or take a traditional afternoon tea at one of the many beachfront hotels – from shabby chic and boutique to budget B&Bs. The East and West Overcliff are sprinkled with seaside hotels offering all grades of board and a mix of cuisines. Bournemouth beach itself is flanked by the grand Royal Bath and the majestic Highcliff Marriott with hundreds more accommodations scattered in either direction along the coastline and into town. Bournemouth’s skyline is now dominated by the luxurious Hilton Hotel, which competes for attention with a tethered balloon, soaring 500 metres into the sky tempting passengers with panoramic bird’s eye views for up to 20 miles on a clear day.
Every walk of life
Getting in to Bournemouth – and to the beach – is straightforward however you travel here. There are ample transport links by road, via car, taxi or coach trip and the train and bus stations are centrally located. All town centre car parks are within a short stroll of the sea front. We recommend you walk through the tropical gardens on your way down to the sea. Alternatively, you can park in clear view of the front along Bath Road or at the Pavilion Theatre opposite. Otherwise, there’s plenty of roadside parking along the Overcliff drives – then take the zig-zag slopes, steps or Edwardian clifftop lifts down to your preferred section of the prom. At Boscombe you can even leave your car on the seafront just past its charming Victorian pier.
There’s plenty going on at Bournemouth beach in all weathers. But if you’re tired of battling the elements, take shelter in the Oceanarium to enjoy its fascinating mix of marine heritage. Here you will meet underwater life from around the world, with popular exhibits including a shark-tunnel, giant sea turtles, playful penguins and cheeky otters.
The majestic Russell Cotes Art Gallery and Museum has a premium vantage point of Bournemouth beach and promenade. This grand cliff-top residence with its manicured gardens showcases British art and artefacts in an exotic Victorian seaside villa setting. Many couples choose this, or any number of Bournemouth beach’s prestigious locations as the backdrop to their wedding day. Whether you want to marry in the grounds of a beachfront hotel or venture to the clifftop for photographs, Bournemouth beach is an idyllic setting for the most special of occasions.
Fun for all seasons
In Bournemouth, there is something going on all year round. It’s not a British beach resort that shuts its doors when summer is over. Blue-chip companies are setting up roots here, taking advantage of Bournemouth’s road, sea and air links and its proximity to the cities of Southampton and Winchester. Bournemouth University, Arts University and numerous colleges welcome people from around the world who quickly settle into life in the town. And a bulging calendar of world-class events attract thousands of people to the beachfront and beyond each year. Hundreds of plucky paddlers take a dip in the sea every Boxing Day, warmed only by the prospect of a mulled wine from the Christmas Market Bar in Bournemouth Square. Summer sees the annual Bournemouth Airshow, roaring Wheels Festival bringing monster trucks on the beach, thrilling Night Air displays and popular Friday Night Fireworks, illuminating the skies from the end of the Pier. And autumn welcomes the Bournemouth Marathon Festival and Gardens of Light, illuminating the town’s charming Central Gardens.
Whatever your reason for coming to Bournemouth beach, we can guarantee plenty to do, a beautiful backdrop and a very warm welcome, whenever you arrive, whatever the weather.
Bournemouth’s seven miles of golden sand attract people in swathes wanting to bask on the beach, take a dip in the English Channel or play some sand sports. If you’re not a fan of getting sand between your toes, take a stroll down the Promenade anywhere between Hengistbury Head and Sandbanks for beautiful views across to the Needles, Brownsea Island and the Isle of Wight. From the secluded coves of Canford Cliffs to the balmy headland of Southbourne there’s a patch of sand with your name on it. Or there will be as soon as you’ve made your castle! Grab a bite from a seaside shack, the exclusive Branksome and Sandbanks beach cafés or swish Café Riva overlooking a fun sandy clifftop park (keeps the kids entertained while keeping them close!) Whether you’re seeking a golden tan or lungfuls of fresh sea air there’s nothing more rejuvenating than a day on the beach.