I went for a run on the beach this morning and it really made me appreciate the beautiful area I live in. With two bank holidays coming up, the sun FINALLY making an appearance and Bournemouth having a Blue Flag Award Winning Beach, I thought it might be nice to share a few ideas of things I personally love to do down here. I've covered everything from beaches, camping, activities, restaurants, spas, cocktails and a festival not worth missing too. Read on to find out more!
1 | Bournemouth Pier
You can't really visit Bournemouth and not take a stroll down the Pier. When the tide is out, it's great to walk underneath and along the beach, the wet sand is easier to walk on too. During the summer (normally between July and August), Bournemouth Pier has Fireworks at 10pm every Friday night which are definitely worth watching. Plus, if you fancy it, they even have zip-wire you can ride from the end of the Pier back to the beach!
2 | Aruba
There's a loads of great places to eat and drink in Bournemouth but one I continue to go back to is Aruba. You can find it on the Pier and it's perfect for the following:
- Hot chocolates in winter after a beach walk.
- Lunch with friends and family (they even have someone who blows up balloons for kids!)
- Dinner for burgers and pizza.
- COCKTAILS. The strawberry mojitos are my favourite.
- Dancing / a good place for a night out.
- Photo taking. As it's a little higher up, you can get some great photos of the view, pier and beach too.
Day or night, Aruba is an absolute gem and I really like it.
3 | The Boathouse
4 | Mudeford Beach
In terms of beaches, you've got lots of choice including Southbourne, Boscombe, Bournemouth and even Sandbanks beach for a day out. I'd recommend them all, the sand has minimal stones for sunbathing and if you find a spot close to either Bournemouth or Boscombe Pier, I'd highly recommend grabbing Fish & Chips for lunch! However, my favourite beach is actually Mudeford at Hengistbury Head. It's further down and not as easy to access - you either take a ferry from Christchurch or Mudeford Quay, park and do a 20 minute walk or jump on the little land train (great for kids). My family own a beach hut down there, so it's pretty special to me however, it's the perfect haven for long walks and is worth taking a look at the beach huts, because some have an upstairs and beds like ours... they're like little houses! You'll find 'day' huts all along Bournemouth beach too, but Mudeford is my very favourite.
5 | Moors Valley Country Park
I've got a little piece of my heart at Moors Valley. As a little girl, my mum used to take my brother and I for long walks through the forest and I'll never forget it. There's walking trails, a play park, steam train, bike hire, orienteering, golfing, fishing and a cafe too! On top of all that, you've also got Go Ape where I worked for the summer last year as an Outdoor Activity Instructor. Go Ape consists of Tree Top Junior for the little ones, Tree Top Adventure for adults and kids 10+, and Segways. There's basically something for everyone here if you fancied visiting the forest and appreciating nature and the outdoors other than the beaches. Plus for kids, there's tons of free walks and obstacles they can climb on!
6 | 60 Million Postcards
Another restaurant that I love for more than just the food is 60 Mill. On Tuesdays, they do 2-for-1 burgers which are fab, along with great cocktails too. The vibe and atmosphere is really different to some of my other favourite restaurants, you'll find a variety of different people and the music is normally pretty chilled, with lots of local bands. They have fairy lights outside and an area you can sit and socialise, it's honestly really nice. They also do pub quiz on a Sunday which is absolutely brilliant. You use iPads and can win decent money too! Highly recommend.
7 | New Forest Water Park
Probably not ideal in the winter unless you're brave enough to jump in with a wetsuit but last summer, I visited the New Forest Water Park with a bunch of friends and we had an absolute blast. It has everything watersports related including waterskiing, wakeboarding, kayaks, stand up paddle boarding and even an Aqua Park, 'total wipeout' style! If you're into camping, you can camp onsite too. Plus, there's loads of family-run pubs nearby for a pint and hearty english pub meal after. I really like it here.
8 | Reef Encounter
Once again, a restaurant I love for more than just the food! I've eaten here a few times and came for my 21st birthday too. I really like the atmosphere and location. They do great steaks that aren't overpriced, and often have deals for a drink, burger and dessert for about £12. You'll also find live music on Fridays, and as they're located near Boscombe Pier and Beach, it's the perfect place to sit outside on a summer's evening and watch the sunset or stroll down to the sea for a walk after your meal.
9 | Captains Club
This is also a place I've been for many birthdays, I recently went on my 22nd. It's a hotel, restaurant and bar. It's a little bit more upper class than my other suggestions, somewhere to go for a special occasion, spa day or a fancy drink at the bar. I don't like the restaurant as it's a little bit too posh for me however, the afternoon tea is amazing and the 'Club Sandwich' in the bar is one of my favourites. There's usually someone playing piano or singing too which I love. The Captains Club is situated on Christchurch Quay so in the summer, it's the perfect place to sit outside and watch the boats and world go by. The also have a really nice Spa and do great packages for treatments and afternoon tea too. Absolutely love it.
10 | Bournemouth Air Festival
Finally, if you only come to Bournemouth once during the summer, despite how crazy busy it is, try and come for the Air Festival (18th - 21st August 2016). It's perfect for anyone of any age and is the ideal opportunity to watch planes, jets and displays in the sky. There's tons of entertainment in the air and on the ground, I've watched it every year since I can remember. More than 7 million people have visited to see the festival and it was recently awarded Gold by Visit England Awards for Excellence. Highly recommend doing at least once in your life!
There we go. I'm very proud to be from Bournemouth and have lived here for 22 years. It truly is home and like the say, there's no place like home! I really hope this post helps one or two of you looking to visit. If you have any questions, tweet me - @brogantatexo and don't forget to follow my Instagram for regular Bournemouth related shots too!
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