If you have followed my previous blog posts you’ll have seen that I love visiting Bournemouth. It’s kinda come a home from home and I hope one day to move there.
In the absence of relocating to Dorset, Dan and myself try and visit at least once or twice a year. So far this year we haven’t had much of a holiday (something to do with my fear of flying) so this weekend break was long over due!
We set off on the train around midday on the Friday. The journey involves 2 trains. One to Southampton Central and then one onto Bournemouth. When we got off the train at Southampton (to which Dan had to stand due to lack of available seats. Though I won’t mention the young woman who decided to take up one seat, her bag on the next and the seat next to her was the window seat so not easy for someone to take- thoughtful, not!) I knew from experience that the train to Bournemouth was on the opposite platform, but we only had a few minutes to make the connection.
With a heavy suit case in tow (yes I had packed for a week rather than a weekend!) I suggested to Dan we remain on the same platform and get the next train only a few minutes later.
Dan wasn’t sure as he likes certainty but I said on several occasions that this train did call at Bournemouth but it’s not till we got moving that it transpired that we were on the long way round train!
This train route was scheduled to arrive an hour after the original train. Luckily though the train stopped at Brockenhurst where we got off, as it was going to wait there for 25 minutes and we got another connection about 10 minutes later.
All in all we arrived only 10 minutes or so after our original destination time.
Upon arriving at Bournemouth train station we alighted and headed off towards the hotel. I made another snap decision and according to Google maps there was a more direct route, so I said to Dan we should take that route. But another obstacle in our journey, part of the road was closed off due to building work, so we ended up taking a detour and took the route we normally take.
Around twenty five minutes later we arrived at the hotel and checked in. Dan had told me previously he had booked a suite rather than a standard room so I was excited to see what this was like!
The hotel, called Norfolk Royale Hotel, was originally built as two villas but was later converted into one large hotel. It has a slightly old hotel feel but it is well decorated and designed and maintained.
The suite was on the second floor facing out the back overlooking the rear of the hotel and the indoor swimming pool. We took the lift up to the second floor, which another guest warned us the doors were slow to close as it was old. And they weren’t wrong!
As we used our key card to enter the room, we walked into a hallway area with a wardrobe on the right, with a modern style bathroom, complete with roll top bath and a separate shower.
Then ahead was the bedroom, with a sofa at one end, a desk and chair to the left and then a kingsize bed at the other end of the room.
Apart from the space that the suite offered, the thing I liked most about the room? The fact there was a large TV on a pole on a wooden unit at the foot of the bed.
The reason for the pole? So that you could either turn to watch the TV from the sofa, or twist around to watch in bed, clever!
We then set down our luggage and headed out to the city centre to have a look around. The hotel is conveniently situated a minutes walk from the centre so it’s a perfect location to get to the local shops and beach.
I will admit it didn’t take me long to end up in Primark! And Tiger stores and Zara! I ended up purchasing a jumper and a handbag from Zara (handbag featured in my previous Autumnal fashion post).
Dan and myself then headed for the beach. It was approaching approx. 5 pm by this point, so it wasn’t too busy. We stopped and took some photos looking out to sea. By this point I was getting quite hungry so I suggested we have something to eat at the Harry Ramsden restaurant right on the sea front. The restaurant was pretty empty so we got seated straight away. We ordered our food and I went for their cod fish burger with chips. I have had this before and would defo recommend it.
Bellies full, we paid for our meal then headed back to the hotel, where I changed into my Chip from Beauty and the Beast pj’s and snuggled up in bed, with the TV on at the end. (I don’t have a TV in my bedroom at home, so this was a treat!).
The following morning Dan and myself dressed and headed down to breakfast. One thing I like about hotels is the fact they lay on the whole works for breakfast, full English, toast, cereals, fruit. So much choice! But me, being me and not much of a breakfast person (I tend to have brunch when I’m at work around 11am) I was boring and went for some toast.
Dan on the other hand took the opportunity to have a full English breakfast. I will admit it did look yum!
After we had eaten (and Dan and myself had a full on conversation over breakfast- not a usual routine for us!) we returned to our room to get our bags and camera’s and head out for the day.
I was quite tired though, as I didn’t sleep too well, what with being in a different bed and place and some drunk idiot shouting at the top of his lungs at 3am. But still we were on a holiday so I wanted to get out and make the most of the day.
We went for a look around some more of the shops (I’m lucky Dan is so accommodating). Dan then suggested we visit a borough of Bournemouth called Westbourne. Dan has seen a photo of a pretty shopping arcade and suggested we walk the mile or so there to have a look.
The weather was holding out at this point, so a leisutely walk was quite welcome.
Westbourne is only small and consists of a parade of shops and situated in the middle of the shops is the arcade. It is picturesque, full of independent shops selling gifts and home ware items. Whilst it’s not huge, it was defo worth visiting.
At the end of the arcade was saw a sign for Alum Chine. Dan had read previously this lead to the beach, so we though this would be a scenic route back to Bournemouth.
After about 20 minutes of walking down suburban roads, we found a turning into Alum Chine, which is a pretty wooded path leading down to the beach.
I knew once we headed into it Dan would love it as he loves the outdoors and nature. Along the path off to the sides we kept noticing little paths leading up the wooded inclines to the houses at the top. Some of the paths were quite hidden and I know if we were to move to Bournemouth we would prob end up going up them to explore!
At the end of the chine, it opens up to the beach and though it was a bit windy it was lovely. It was also quite warm and I ended up taking off my coat on numberous occasions. There was plenty of dog walkers along the seafront and families out and about making the most of the beach and it being the weekend.
We walked and chatted along the seafront back to the town centre where we then went back to the hotel as by this point I was quite worn out! We then chilled on the bed, watched some TV and later that evening Dan went out and returned with a KFC. Talk about fine dining!
When we returned to the hotel and entered the reception/lobby area we saw a bride in her gown and various wedding guests. I love to see a wedding, so that was nice to walk into.
The only thing that miffed me was that when Dan booked the hotel room, he did ask if any events were going on. He was told no, it should be a quite weekend.
Dan and myself like quiet environments, nothing busy or bousterous. But I can’t imagine in the time Dan made the booking about a month ago a wedding reception was suddenly booked in. I thinks the hotel told a porkie so we would make the booking. Who knows!
There was a slight debarcle later that evening as we heard outside our hotel room (indoors) some women sounding upset. Then shortly afterwards another woman exclaiming that someone had trashed the room. Now she sounded pissed off! And rightly too.
Dan guessed they were part of the wedding party? There was a bit of distant party music for the evening, again to do with the wedding I guess? But as I was tired it didn’t bother me too much.
After a slightly better nights sleep, we went down for breakfast again on the Sunday morning. We had the same again and retuned to the room after eating to get ready to go out again.
The weather was forecast to be raining for the better part of the day, but as I felt we didn’t do too much the previous day I thought we would go out somewhere to make the most of it.
We decided to get a bus to Poole, which we had been to before but thought it would be nice to visit again. We took the bus from the town centre and headed over to Poole.
The buses are so affordable over in Bournemouth. It cost us £6 for us to get a return ticket for a half hour journey.
Back in Chichester, the same length journey for one person is a minimum of £7 for one person. And the buses in Bournemouth run far more often and later. We are getting ripped off in West Sussex!
As we arrived in Poole, the weather had taken a turn for the worst and was raining. It wasn’t cold, and I decided not to take coat, but I did have my umbrella. After a little look around the assortment of shops, some low end, some mid market, a real cornucopia of brands, we headed to the harbour.
The harbour is really pretty and on a good day you can see out to the far end of the harbour and over to Sandbanks (most expensive real estate area in England) but alas the weather wasn’t on our side and all we got was wet and the view was too obscured by the rain.
We did pay a visit to the old Life Boat station which you can see the old lifeboat it’s self. It’s pretty impressive that the RNLI volunteers risked their lives to save others in what was effectively a wooden boat. Not the modern day kit you get now.
After a final look around Poole’s Primark (I know, I know, how many trips do I need? My excuse, there isn’t one in my home town so I making up for it!) we got the bus back to Bournemouth, where we went back to our hotel room to chill some more and avoid the rain.
A while later it had stopped raining so we headed out to find some food. Dan wasn’t too hungry I ended up getting a takeaway Pizza hut pizza to take back to the room. I sat on the bed, eating my pizza, watching YouTube videos and in my pj’s. Simple pleasures!
I then went to sleep and woke up around 7am the following morning (I’m an earlier riser). After dressing we went down for our last breakfast in the hotel. As we had to check out by 11am I think, we asked if we could keep my suitcase aside whilst we did a final walk around Bournemouth before heading home which we were told was ok to do.
The weather was much more pleasant that morning and we wished it had only been like that when we visited Poole the day before. I did a final bit of shopping and took a walk down to the beach. The sun was shining and it was quiet, perfect!
On the Saturday we went onto the pier and saw a sign saying it was £1.20 to go onto the rest of the pier. We scoffed at this. £1.20, how banana’s!
But when we returned that Monday morning, we realised it was £1.20 for an annual pass. That made more sense, to help with the upkeep of the pier we guessed.
We then returned to the hotel to get my suitcase, which I then lugged back to the station (I had more clothes that I had brought so I wasn’t helping myself!). Dan would of helped but I declined his offer as he himself had a very heavy back pack.
We got the Great Western train back to Southampton and after picking up an baguette from Upper Crust, we got the train back towards Chichester.
We got as far as just outside Cosham (near Porstmouth) when the train ground to a halt. A tannoy told us that there was a train ahead of us was stopped as there was a swan on the line (alive I was hoping but I doubt it was *sad face*). The power to the line had to be switched off as the bird was removed and we had to wait on the train for 25 minutes as they did this.
I will be honest I did feel rather anxious at this point, I don’t like being stuck in situations/places where I feel trapped and especially if I don’t know how long for. Luckily it was 25 minutes, but until we got moving I did fear it could be for far longer which was not doing my nerves any favours!
After about a 35 minute delay in total we arrived back in Chichester and returned home. Where you find me writing this blog post after a little rest.
I was a chilled weekend and nice to get away, but if you know me, you know I like my creature comforts and I’m looking forward to sleeping in my own bed 🙂
Love and hugs,
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