Bournemouth’s favourite nature reserve boasts a whole handful of preservation designations. Thanks to its extraordinary archaeology, it’s an official Ancient Monument, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, an Environmentally Sensitive Area, a Special Area of Conservation – the list goes on. A must-see and a must-do, Hengistbury Head is helpfully traversed by a series of well maintained gravel paths, which give tourists plenty of options when it comes to beautiful coastal walks. Head to the traditionally designed Visitor Centre (it's got a grass roof) for collections of archaeological finds, advice and information. If you don’t want to walk, the “Noddy Train” will take you out to the Head and back from a lovely little café.
Great places to visit in Bournemouth!
It’s not all madness and mayhem, though. Bournemouth is blessed with some of the best outdoor and public spaces in the UK, and with a climate that’s statistically better than most of England it’s always well stocked with wanderers. Half retirement haven, half layabout’s paradise, “BoMo” has reinvented itself as the place to be on the south coast.
Bournemouth’s garden spaces are legendary. Originally sculpted to give well-heeled Victorians verdant places to take the sea air, the three main attractions (Lower, Central and Upper) are the beating heart of the town’s outdoor festival season. The Lower Gardens, named because they’re the closest to the sea, are the most popular and varied. In summer, the verges are littered with the young and beautiful, the Pine Walk bandstand plays host to concerts and the 100-year-old tradition of Candle Illumination transforms the paths and bridges into a twinkling wonderland. The Lower Gardens, along with the Upper and Central, have held a Green Flag Award since 1999, and are a Grade II Listed park.
Seven miles of golden sands make Bournemouth beach one of the longest and most attractive in the UK. Expect plenty of traditional British holiday fare – deckchairs, imperial hotels and posh restaurants make up much of the winding backdrop. You’ll also see landscaped public gardens (the Central Gardens are a must-visit) – and of course the two famous piers. Wayne Hemingway (the fashion designer) described Boscombe Pier as “Britain’s coolest” in 2009. Bournemouth Pier, in addition to the Pier Theatre, boasts plenty of traditional fun including boat trips, fairground rides and an arcade.