5 free things to do in… Bournemouth

Date Posted: 30/09/2014

Beach huts in Bournemouth

Miles of sandy beaches, its own temperate micro-climate and manicured Victorian gardens make Bournemouth a great place to visit, even when on a tight budget.

1.  Traditional seaside fun at the beach

With seven miles of award-winning sandy beaches and nestled beneath an impressive cliff line, the bay enjoys its own micro-climate and some of the warmest sea temperatures in the UK.

Your group can relax on deckchairs, stroll along traditional seaside piers or just admire the views out to the Isle of Wight and the Purbecks.

For ease of access to the beach, cliff lifts are situated at West Cliff, East Cliff and Fisherman’s Walk alongside zigzag path ways.

2.  Discover St. Peter’s Church connection with Mary Shelley

St. Peter’s Church, designed by George Edmund Street, who later designed the Royal Courts of Justice in The Strand in Westminster, was constructed between 1844 and 1879.

The original church of Bournemouth was considered an ugly building so Street was asked to create a finer church to match the beauty of the town.

It contains unusual paintings, stained glass and what’s claimed to be some of the best examples of alabaster work.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, the creator of Frankenstein, is buried in the graveyard there together with the heart of her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley.

3.  Admire high Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite art

The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum was originally the home of two Victorian collectors and travel enthusiasts, Sir Merton and Lady Annie Russell-Cotes.

In 1901, Merton gave his wife Annie a dream house on a cliff-top, overlooking the sea. They filled this seaside villa with objects from their travels across the world, and lined the walls with British art.

The main hall now holds an extensive collection of high Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite art, including many works by women artists.

Bournemouth gardens

Other rooms house souvenirs from the couple’s travels, with works from Russia, Australia, New Zealand and the Japanese collection.

Entry is free from October to March.

4.  Choose from 30 activities at the Coastal Activity Park

Stretching over one kilometre either side of Boscombe Pier, the Coastal Activity Park features a range of activities including volleyball and snorkeling to smooth jive and spa treatments.

Maybe you can find a new hobby, join a group sports session or take an instructor led class such as bouldering.

Plenty of options are free of charge including scaling boulders, table tennis, slacklining and the pier’s musical trail.

5.  Explore Bournemouth’s Victorian parks and gardens

Bournemouth offers 2,000 acres of gardens and parks. The gardens are split into three areas of Victorian beauty - starting with the lower gardens, adjacent to the sea leading to the central gardens in the town centre, culminating in the upper gardens.

These gardens are maybe the most famous and retain much of their Victorian character. You can take a walk from the seafront right the way through and take in the many trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials that have been sourced from around the world.

The gardens also have plenty of activities to keep visitors busy including the Bournemouth Balloon, an aviary and an art exhibition during the summer. There is also a large rock garden that was built in the 1930s.

Get more tourist information through www.bournemouth.co.uk.

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