Get Ready to Be Amazed: 27 Remarkable Things to Do in Bournemouth
Updated: Jul 6
Welcome to Bournemouth, a vibrant coastal town that offers a perfect blend of excitement and relaxation! From beautiful sandy beaches and picturesque coastal villages to thrilling outdoor activities and vibrant nightlife, Bournemouth has it all.
Get ready to discover the best of this stunning destination in our comprehensive 2023 guide on things to do in Bournemouth!
Explore the stunning beauty of Bournemouth with thrilling beach adventures, exciting pier activities, and charming coastal villages!
Experience a unique adventure with Alpine Activity Centre Fun and outdoor sports like biking or watersports!
Enjoy an unforgettable nightlife experience at live music venues plus family attractions such as Adventure Wonderland & Russell Cotes Art Gallery.
Things to do in Bournemouth - Beach Adventures
Bournemouth’s biggest draw is undoubtedly its long, beautiful sandy beach, named the UK’s BEST beach. Stretching for around 10 miles, the beach offers a variety of activities for all the family, including sunbathing, swimming, and watersports. Imagine strolling along the promenade all the way to Sandbanks in the west or Southbourne in the east, feeling the soft sand beneath your feet.
Venture to Hengistbury Head, a nature reserve and Site of Scientific Interest, where you can explore Bournemouth’s beautiful surroundings and enjoy panoramic views.
Don’t forget to visit Sandbanks, a small peninsula with top-class seafood restaurants and one of the nicest beaches on the entire south coast of England.
Explore Bournemouth Pier
No trip to Bournemouth is complete without a visit to the iconic Victorian Bournemouth Pier. The Pier is home to amusement arcades, chip shops, ice cream stalls, and an exhilarating Pier to shore zip experience for adrenaline junkies. From the end of the pier, take in breathtaking views over the sands.
Bournemouth Pier is home to RockReef Indoor Activity Attraction. Here, visitors can enjoy an exciting Clip N Climb climbing wall as well as a thrilling zip wire. It’s the perfect place for family-friendly fun, regardless of the weather.
Coastal Village Charm
Bournemouth isn’t just about its stunning beaches; it’s also home to picturesque coastal villages like Westbourne, Boscombe, and Southbourne. These charming villages offer unique shops, cafes, and stunning views, providing a delightful contrast to the bustling town centre.
For example, Westbourne boasts fashion boutiques, gift shops, and vintage stores, as well as the Grade-II listed Westbourne Arcade. Don’t miss the UK’s smallest cinema, the Bournemouth Colosseum, located right outside the stunning Victorian shopping arcade in Westbourne.
Bournemouth Gardens Delights
Take a leisurely stroll through the beautiful Upper, Central, and Lower Gardens, which date back to the Victorian era and run through the centre of town. The Upper Gardens offer a peaceful escape from the busy town centre, while the Lower Gardens are filled with flowerbeds, a bandstand, an aviary, and even a mini-golf course.
It’s the perfect spot for a relaxing afternoon amidst nature.
Located on Bournemouth Pier, the Bournemouth Oceanarium is an exciting aquarium that offers a fascinating educational experience for visitors of all ages. Understanding the importance of conservation is just as important as learning about marine life and underwater habitats. This is the focus here.
One of the standout exhibits is the Shark Wreck Reef, a walkthrough tunnel exhibit with a shipwreck motif, home to over 75 animals, including sharks, southern stingrays, moray eels, and a giant turtle. It’s an amazing destination for families and anyone interested in marine life.
With over 1,000 species of aquatic creatures, the Oceanarium is truly a wonder to behold.
Alpine Activity Centre Fun
Get ready for an adrenaline-pumping adventure at Snowtrax, a dry ski slope and adventure park in Christchurch.
Snowtrax offers a variety of exciting activities, including skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, white water rafting, walking and hiking, kayaking, stand up paddle, ski bobs, and ringos.
In addition to skiing and snowboarding, Snowtrax features the Alpine Adventure Park for kids, filled with forts, slides, and hidden trampolines. You can meet the winter snow in many exciting ways. Try Ski Bob sledges or take a thrilling ride on a Ringo, an inflatable rubber tube! So much fun awaits!
Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum
The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum is a must-visit attraction in Bournemouth, housed in a stunning Grade-II listed seaside villa.
The eclectic collection includes art, furniture, and curios from around the world, offering a fascinating glimpse into the 19th century.
In addition to the museum’s permanent collection, the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum also offers special Family Activity Days in August, featuring outdoor summer fun and free activities inspired by their amazing exhibitions. It’s a perfect blend of culture and entertainment for all ages.
Nightlife in Bournemouth
Bournemouth is famous for its nightlife, offering a variety of live music, comedy, and other entertainment options.
From large concert halls like the Bournemouth International Centre and the Lighthouse – Poole’s Centre for the Arts, to smaller pubs and venues in seaside villages like Boscombe, Southbourne, and Westbourne, there’s something for everyone. Experience the vibrant nightlife Bournemouth has to offer and create some hazy memories.
During your visit, don’t miss the chance to catch a show at the Pavilion Theatre, an amazing historic theatre that hosts a variety of performances, including West End stage shows, Opera, Ballet, Pantomime, Comedy, and concerts.
Bournemouth is a fantastic destination for families, offering a wide range of attractions and activities for all ages. Adventure Wonderland, RockReef, and Science Zone UK are just a few of the family-friendly attractions that you can enjoy during your visit.
Adventure Wonderland offers a hedge maze, log flume, swinging ship, runaway train, and bumper boats armed with water squirters. At RockReef, you’ll find a huge range of activities to suit all ages.
Science Zone UK has multiple science-specific zones filled with thrilling activities and interactive exhibits. It’s a great place to experience and learn about the exciting world and wonders of science!
West Cliff Lift Experience
For a unique and scenic experience, hop on the historic West Cliff Lift, a funicular railway that connects the beach to the clifftop. Enjoy stunning coastal views and easy access to the beach and clifftops, making it a fun activity for all ages.
The Cliff Lifts run between Easter and the end of October, offering a memorable and convenient way to explore Bournemouth’s beautiful coastline.
Indoor Entertainment Options
If the weather doesn’t cooperate, don’t worry – Bournemouth has plenty of indoor entertainment options to keep you entertained. Visit the exciting Oceanarium, Bournemouth Aviation Museum, or enjoy a relaxing spa day.
For more thrilling indoor activities, try laser quests or trampoline parks. Laser Quest Bournemouth offers an exciting indoor laser tag arena, while Oasis Fun Bournemouth provides a soft play area, bowling, and adventure golf.
Other indoor entertainment options include escape rooms, bouncing trampolining, and leisure centres, ensuring a fun-filled day for everyone.
Bournemouth International Centre Events
The Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) is a multi-purpose venue that provides an array of offerings. It hosts events such as concerts and exhibitions all year round.
With a capacity of up to 10,000 people, the BIC offers an amazing flexible space for multi-hall conferences, exhibitions, meetings, large music concerts, dance and comedy performances.
Make sure to check the event schedule during your visit and experience the best of Bournemouth’s entertainment scene.
Jurassic Coast Tours
The stunning Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located near Bournemouth and offers a breathtaking backdrop for guided tours or self-guided adventures. Explore the dramatic cliffs, hidden coves, and charming coastal villages that make up this incredible coastline.
There are several exciting options for guided tours of the historic coastline, or you can plan a road trip with your own car for a more personalized experience. Whichever option you choose, be prepared to be awed by the beauty and history of this unique region.
New Forest National Park & Beaulieu National Motor Museum
Beaulieu National Motor Museum in the heart of the New Forest National Park is a marvellous day out that can be enjoyed by all the family. With over 280 vehicles in its world-famous collection, the Museum tells the story of motoring in Britain from humble beginnings to the present day.
Displays include classic cars, historic sporting motors, modern rally cars, F1 racers, and rustic 1930’s country.
Whilst you're there, make sure you visit the World of Top Gear, which recreates the feel of the Top Gear studio. See unique behind-the-scenes footage from Top Gear HQ and cars from the show's most ambitious challenges.
Bournemouth Town Centre Shopping
If you’re in the mood for some retail therapy, Bournemouth Town Centre offers a fantastic variety of high street and independent stores, with options for all tastes and budgets.
Explore shopping areas like The Triangle, Commercial Road, The Square, and Old Christchurch Road, where you’ll find fashion, jewellery, shoes, and cosmetics.
It’s the perfect opportunity to indulge in some well-deserved shopping.
Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre Performances
Catch a show at the historic Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre, featuring musicals, comedy, and other live performances. The theatre has been entertaining audiences since the early 1900s and is located in the heart of Bournemouth.
It’s a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, offering an amazing variety of performances, including West End stage shows, Opera, Ballet, Pantomime, Comedy, and concerts.
Outdoor Activities and Sports
Bournemouth offers a wide range of outdoor activities and sports for visitors to enjoy. Guided tours, biking, and electric scooter rentals are available for exploring historic sites, nature reserves, ancient forests, the coast, and the countryside. Whether you prefer hiking, cycling, or water sports, there’s something for everyone.
Visit Hengistbury Head, a headland at the eastern end of the wide bay on which Bournemouth sits. This beautiful area offers a variety of ecosystems, including wetlands, woods, and heaths, providing an opportunity to immerse yourself in nature and enjoy some of the most stunning landscapes in the region.
Spa Day Relaxation
Unwind with a luxurious spa day at one of Bournemouth’s top spa facilities, like the Hilton Bournemouth eforea Spa. Bournemouth offers several spas that provide relaxation services, including Oceana Day Spa, Forever Gorgeous Day Spa, Bluewater Spa, Arcadia Spa, Baan Thai Massage and Spa, and Chill Massage.
Indulge in a variety of treatments, such as body massage, facials, waxing, microdermabrasion, body treatments, manicures, pedicures, and aromatherapy, all while enjoying the Hilton Bournemouth eforea Spa’s amazing 24-hour gym, stunning pool, luxurious sauna, and relaxing steam room.
It’s the perfect way to rejuvenate and recharge during your visit to Bournemouth. Read our guide to the best spa days in Bournemouth.
Bournemouth Air Festival
Experience the excitement of the annual Bournemouth Air Festival, featuring thrilling aerial displays and family-friendly activities. The festival showcases incredible aerial performances, such as the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, Royal Navy Wildcat, RAF Chinook, The Blades Aerobatic Display Team, Mustang, Red Arrows, and dusk displays.
In addition to the air displays, the Bournemouth Air Festival also offers a variety of ground attractions and indoor activities. The festival is a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in the excitement and spectacle of aviation while enjoying the beautiful backdrop of Bournemouth’s stunning coastline.
Land Train Rides
Hop on a scenic land train ride along the beach promenade in Bournemouth, offering picturesque views and a fun activity for all ages.
The land train runs daily from April to October, during school holidays, and on weekends throughout the winter, subject to weather conditions.
It’s a delightful way to explore Bournemouth’s beautiful seafront, journey in between the piers, and take in the stunning coastal views as you explore Bournemouth.
Boscombe Pier Attractions
Explore the attractions around Boscombe Pier, including mini-golf, a surf school, and a beautiful beach. The Pier offers a variety of free beach activities, such as swimming, sunbathing, and beach volleyball, as well as a variety of shops, cafes, and takeaways, including a surf shop, a fish and chip shop, and a beach bar.
Boscombe Pier also features an amusement arcade and an awesome mini-golf course, providing hours of entertainment for the whole family. It’s the perfect spot for a fun-filled day by the sea.
Hilton Bournemouth eforea Spa
Indulge in a relaxing spa day at the luxurious Hilton Bournemouth eforea Spa. The spa offers a range of treatments, such as a hot stone massage, a body scrub, and a facial, as well as amazing facilities like a 24-hour gym, a stunning pool, a luxurious sauna, and a relaxing steam room.
After a day of pampering, head up to the rooftop Skybar and enjoy breathtaking views of the city.
Bournemouth Virtual Reality Centre
Bournemouth Centre VR is the largest Virtual Reality centre in the WORLD! Featuring over 30 top-of-the-range headsets, experience gaming like never before!
With 30 stations of the very best equipment and top-quality titles to play multiplayer or solo - Centre VR is the biggest Virtual Reality Arena and Escape Room venue in Europe!
For a hands-on challenge, why not try The Lockey Escape Rooms (part of Centre VR), including Jungle Hunt, Hannibal, The Mask and Case 47?
Family-friendly from 8yrs+, all the way to super scary suitable for 14yrs+.
Bournemouth Natural Science Society
Visit the Bournemouth Natural Science Society, a Victorian landmark and museum showcasing a diverse range of exhibits, gardens, and events throughout the year. The museum’s collection is quite varied. It includes natural history specimens like birds, mammals, reptiles, insects, eggs and shells, fossils, rocks and minerals, ancient hand axes and an Egyptian mummy!
Open only on Tuesdays, this fascinating museum offers a unique insight into the natural world. Visitors can explore the museum’s galleries, take part in educational activities, and learn about the history of the area.
With its rich collection and engaging events, the Bournemouth Natural Science Society is a must-see for anyone.
Frieda's Tea Bus Tour
For a unique afternoon tea experience, hop on Frieda’s Tea Bus Tour and enjoy a delicious selection of treats while touring Bournemouth’s seafront on a specially converted double-decker bus. The tour offers a fantastic opportunity to take in the beautiful coastal views while indulging in a quintessentially British tradition.
Please note that Frieda’s Tea Bus is not currently in operation.
Adventure Golf Courses
Challenge yourself at one of Bournemouth’s adventure golf courses, such as Mighty Claws and Smugglers Cove. These exciting courses offer a fun activity for all ages, combining the thrill of competition with the enjoyment of beautiful surroundings.
It’s the perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon in Bournemouth.
Bournemouth truly has it all – beautiful beaches, exciting attractions, vibrant nightlife, and a rich cultural heritage. Our 2023 guide has provided you with a comprehensive overview of the best things to do and see in this stunning coastal town. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or a combination of both, Bournemouth is the perfect destination for an unforgettable holiday.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I spend a day in Bournemouth?
Spend the day in Bournemouth and make some incredible memories! Relax at the beach, explore the pier, take a city sightseeing tour, visit Sandbanks, wander the gardens, discover the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, go on a Jurassic Coast Tour, and explore Westbourne - there’s something for everyone!
From the beach to the pier, there are plenty of activities to enjoy. Take a city sightseeing tour to get a better view of the area.
Is Bournemouth worth visiting?
Absolutely! Bournemouth offers an incredible seaside destination full of stunning beaches, the majestic Jurassic Coast within reach, and plenty of entertainment - including amazing nightlife.
So pack your bags and head to Bournemouth for an unforgettable experience!
Why do tourists visit Bournemouth?
Tourists visit Bournemouth for its stunning beaches and captivating attractions. Here, they can experience the beauty of the coast, bask in the sunshine on golden sand and find lots of activities to keep all ages entertained.
From watersports to West End shows and a vibrant town centre, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
What is the best time to visit Bournemouth?
Visiting Bournemouth in the summertime is an amazing experience, with many activities and events to enjoy, as well as beautiful weather.
The town is full of attractions, from the beach to the pier, and there are plenty of restaurants and bars to explore. There are also plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, such as cycling, walking, and swimming.
Are there any family-friendly attractions in Bournemouth?
Yes! Bournemouth is great for families and has loads of fun attractions to enjoy. These include Adventure Wonderland, RockReef, and Science Zone UK.