19 Feb 2017

I Heart Bournemouth


Some people like to travel or at least visit far flung destinations, well me, not so much. I'm too much of a home bird and my anxieties tend to leave me restricted to a small radius of area's I am comfortable to visit.
This is something that does frustrate me as I see so many photo's and video's of places I know chances are I won't visit. Still I try not to be too much of a hermit and over the years my husband and myself have taken to visiting Bournemouth in Dorset.
Travelling by train with good connections it takes two hours or so from Chichester, so it's not too far away, but enough to feel like I've gone away from home for a break.




As I've always lived along the coast I feel at home in Bournemouth as it has as a lovely beach. No stones! Read that, no flipping annoying, hurt your feet stones! Just lot's of lovely golden sand.
Growing up in Bognor Regis it was the norm to have stones every where on the beach, so going to Bournemouth beach is like going to a beach abroad!

Whenever I visit Bournemouth I instantly feel a sense of ease and relaxation come over me. I think it's because it doesn' feel bustling or rushed, there is fresh sea air and pretty gardens in the centre along with the beach.
As someone who also likes a good shop, there are enough shops to keep me occupied, along with restaurants and activities to do during the day.

Bournemouth beach looking east



Boscombe Pier

Lifeguard station and pier

Bournemouth Pier

Beach and Oceanarium

Old cliff lifts

Bournemouth Pier

Bournemouth beach and lifeguard station

Me, chilling on the seafront

Kiss me quick!

Bournemouth Pier and Sandbanks in the back ground

Beautiful beach :)

I have also stayed in various different accommodations whilst staying in Bournemouth, including Travelodges, B'n'B's and hotels. A whole cornucopia of places.
One of the first times we stayed in Bournemouth a Travelodge had just opened a mere few weeks earlier, so it was actually really nice to stay in. Especially as we were given a family room - so much space!
We did stay in the same Travelodge a few years later, and lets just say that time had took it toll and it wasn't as fresh as it was when we first stayed.
This Travelodge was the one on Christchurch Road and if you are looking for an affordable room near the centre and beach then this should do the job.

For those who aren't familiar with Bournemouth, it sits with the beach below and cliffs running above it. The scenic way to get to this Travelodge is to walk along the beach and then head up the cliffs (there is a footpath!) and then at the top the Travelodge is just down a small road.

We have also stayed in another Travelodge in the centre of Bournemouth. The room we had was at the back of the building, overlooking a car park and all I can remember is the room being small and dark as not much sunlight got into the room. Not one of my favourite places to stay.

We have also stayed in a B'n'B which overlooks the Crazy Golf right in the centre of Bournemouth. You can't really get more central! This room was really small, but it was clean and bright and like I said was a great location for shopping, the beach and the Bournemouth International Centre.

I do like a nice hotel and we we have stayed in in Bournemouth is the HallMark Hotel, on the West Cliff. This is a 4* hotel and you do get your monies worth in the size of the room. It's a large old hotel which has had some modernisation.
The room was stayed in was on the first floor at the back of the hotel, overlooking a private garden.
From the photo's you can see how spacious the room was, it actually felt lacking in furniture because of the size.





I couldn't help but imagine how I would redesign the room as it felt like the space was under used.
There was a small dressing table in the corner which didn't have much additional lighting so was impractical to use.
I did enjoy one evening when Dan, bless him went and got me a KFC from the town so I could lounge in a Kingsize bed, stuffing my face!

On our second night as a married couple, Dan had booked for us to stay in The Chocolate Boutique Hotel, which is at the top of the town.
This is themed around chocolate as the name suggests and Dan paid extra for a chocolate fondue in the room, chocolate treats in the minibar and a few added extra's like a personalised monogrammed his and hers dressing gowns.
The only down side was that the ground floor room we had was right by the main reception (the hotel isn't big btw) and you could hear all the goings on in reception.
This hotel is located amongst dozens of other hotels and unfortunately there was a big football game on, so there was a lot of noise of people coming and going in our hotel and nearby hotels.
Though despite this the room was actually a suite, with a section for the bed, then a living area and a small but nicely done bathroom.

Lastly my favourite place we have stayed is the Cottonwood Boutique Hotel on the East Cliff. Just a bit further down from the Christchurch Road Travelodge, this hotel overlooks the sea.
As it is a boutique hotel, the decor is bright and patterned and the furniture is also of the same ilk.
For some this might not be to their taste but I like it.

Study room at Cottonwood Boutique

Strike a pose!
View from our hotel room

Room which had a sea view


The rooms aren't huge, but are a comfortable size. With more decorative wallpaper throughout. We have been lucky and had a room with a sea view each time we have stayed, which was relaxing and calming to sit and watch.
The hotel also has a bar and a restaurant which we have both tried. Though for breakfast we had to visit the neighbouring hotel to get our food!

There are a lot of places to stay in Bournemouth as it is very focused on tourism and I'm looking forward to staying there again, maybe somewhere I've not tried before!

For things to do in and around Bournemouth, there is enough to keep you busy!
Firstly as I have previously mentioned I do love shopping and Bournemouth has plenty of shops. My fav's include; H&M, Zara and Primark.
I think this has to be one of the best Primark's I have visited. It is spacious, large and has a good range of products. Some Primarks can be hit or miss but this one seems to have a varied selection of stock. Thinking about it makes me want to there now!
There is also Debenham's, House of Fraser and Beales for department stores as well as most high street stores.
As you enter the shopping part of Bournemouth from the train station, you come to a pedestrianised area with shops running all the way along, until you come to a paved open area, with gardens to the left and right and more shops up a hill further forward.

From a cafe in the centre of Bournemouth looking out towards the gardens

Looking out into the centre of Bournemouth, with the hot air balloon in the back ground to the right

I have tried the Pizza Hut and Slug and Lettuce in Bournemouth and rate both of those. I've not ventured to many other eateries, but there is a few to chose from. I am a sucker for a Burger King and tend to end up in there!
It's also worth trying the cafe at the top of House of Fraser as it over looks the central gardens and over towards the beach for a nice spot of lunch. Try the Croque Monsieur, it's lovely!

In the centre of Bournemouth as I have mentioned before are gardens. The one's nearest the seafront have lovely flowers in the summer and many a tourist and local frequent the gardens for a spot of lunch or picnic. There is also a small stream running though, with the occasional duck and ducklings at the right time of year.
There is also a Crazy Golf which I am yet to give a go (though I struggle to see the point of it, but it could be worth a try!).
One thing you can't miss, is a large tethered hot air balloon within the gardens. You can pay to go up in the balloon, which is attached to the ground and rises up and down on a sort of pulley system.
My slight fear of heights has put me off, but one day I do want to go on it as I would love to take some photo's of the view from the top.






On the other side of the paved pedestrianised area are more gardens, which in the summer are again full of flowers. It goes on for quite a way and Dan and myself have taken a leisurely and pleasant walk along there. Great for anyone who likes taking photo's of nature and for anyone who likes a walk to clear the mind.

Along the coast from Bournemouth is the town of Poole. I don't want to bring down Poole, as the harbour is very pretty, but I would say it is the poor relation to Bournemouth. It has a typical British High Street, but it's crowning glory is the harbour.
This is also another great spot for any photographers out there. You can also take day trips out around the coast from there including the Jurassic coast.
And if you love Lush then you'll find they have their factory and spa that you can visit in Poole. I had a look around the shop but yet to 'go behind the scenes!'.

Poole Harbour

Poole Harbour

Just out of the harbour is Brownsea Island, with Brownsea Castle. I've not yet visited there, but I have seen photo's and the island isn't very big, but looks beautiful as does the Castle.
I'm lucky enough to work for John Lewis, who as a business own part of the island and the castle alongside English Heritage. As such I can get reduced discount to visit and stay on the island.
Colleagues have told me it is well worth a visit!

On one visit to Bournemouth, Dan and myself decided to explore the surrounding area's and took a bus journey to Salisbury which is 30 miles north of Bournemouth.
Salisbury is well known for it's cathedral, so we paid it a visit. We did want to explore it further but you had to pay and it was quite expensive. We were surprised we had to pay as the cathedral in my home town is free to visit.
Salisbury has an olde world feel to it as lot of the buildings are from the 13th century. A very pretty city and somewhere different to visit from the seaside.

Salisbury Cathedral

This was taken a few years ago so please ignore the lack of fashion!

Another place within a bus journey is Castle Point. This is an out of town shopping complex. I had heard a colleague at the time go on about it, so I took the chance to visit.
I was a bit disappointed as it wasn't as modern as I hoped, more just a strip of high street shops. But still shops are shops and I had a good mooch around. 

Keeping more in the centre of Bournemouth on the seafront is an Ocenarium. I have visited the Sealife Centre in Brighton and will say in my opinion this is much better.
There is much more sealife to see. And they now have a very cute family of otters and penguins.
Below is a short video I made featuring the otters and penguins.

video












As Dan and myself don't drive there are other places we could visit such as the New Forest, with it's ponies and pretty scenery and also Weymouth further along the coast and even over to the Isle of Wight.

Bournemouth is not a particually expensive place to visit, with lots to do and see. It's great in the summer and maybe this year I will go back and now I have my blog I have every excuse to take lot's of photo's!

Thanks for reading and I hope this may of inspired you to visit Bournemouth for a great UK staycation!

Love and hugs,


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