Coast with the most- Visiting Bournemouth

Well hello there! It’s been a while huh! Too long, but sometimes life happens and priorities change.
I am pleased to say though that I am back. I hope for a more permanent fixture but that does depend on what life throws my way.

My absence over the last couple of months has consisted of caring for my mum who suffered a stroke. I’m am grateful to say that so far (knocking on wood) that she is doing pretty well and getting back to some sort of normality.
This has diverted my attention to hospital visits and her also staying with me for a while. In between working a full time job. As a result I’ve not had much free time on my hands.
But that said, I did recently visit Bournemouth on the coast in Dorset for my wedding anniversary.

I have been married to Dan for 4 years now and in total we have been together for 17 years- that’s half my life! For those who are more frequented with my blog you may know Bournemouth is a place I love to visit at least once a year, more if I can as I love the beach, the shops and the local amenities.
Also it has a relaxed pace to life there too. Which suits my anxious mind.
Bournemouth has become a town Dan and myself visit for short getaways- it’s a maximum of two hours by train from us, which is ideal for us. I couldn’t take much longer on a train!

So Dan had kindly offered to book a hotel for 3 nights over our anniversary so we could have a bit of a break away and recharge our batteries.
I was looking one night on sites like lastminute.com and the like and came across the Hallmark Carlton hotel on the east cliff in Bournemouth. Not a hotel I have stayed at before but I have walked past it a number of times when visiting Bournemouth previously.
When looking on line I saw the Hallmark Carlton had a few suite rooms and after showing to Dan he generously booked one of them.

Upon arrival I dragged my suitcase (half empty as I was hoping to do some shopping!) up the steps and into the hotel lobby. We were greeted by a receptionist who got us booked in and gave us our key cards.
As we walked along the corridor that lead to a lift we noticed a sign for a library along with a spa and pool facilities. Now Dan loves books, so I knew we had to give that a visit later!
Our room was on the first floor, so after a very brief ride in the lift, we found our room was right in front of the lift and the top of the stairs. No getting lost which is good!

We placed one of the key cards in the card slot in the door and pushed (the door was very heavy!) open. We noticed there was a small corridor, with one door to the left and one at the end to the right.
We walked into the room on the left and saw it was a living room. Complete with a sofa, armchair, dining table and chairs and even a non functioning fire place!
I did a bit of a jig on the spot as I had had seen this suite online and was excited we had been given this room.
At the far end of the room is a bay window that overlooks a private balcony area and over to the sea.
The room was a generous size too. Some houses have smaller rooms!

We then investigated the bedroom, which was again another generous size room with a king size bed (my double bed at home now feels too small!), wooden wardrobe, dressing table, armchairs and a tv.
All looking over onto the same balcony and the sea.
Next to the bedroom was the bathroom which was nice and light. With a walkin shower, double basin, toilet and a bath.

Pleasantly pleased with our new surroundings, we left our belongings and decided to take a walk along the cliff top into Bournemouth town centre.
The weather was humid and over cast, not the summery weather we were hoping for but it wasn’t raining and for that I was grateful!
We walked along the top of the cliff which then leads into a zig zag path from the top of the cliff down to the beach below.
Going down was fine, but going back up takes some energy!
The view, even on a cloudy day is worth seeing. You can see over to Boscombe and beyond to the left and over to Bournemouth Pier, Poole, Sandbanks and as far as Swanage and even a little bit of Weymouth further along the coastline on the right.

As it was mid afternoon we decided to take a venture into the town centre. From the beach you can walk through the gardens and into the pedestrianized shopping area. I then did a bit of a scout around the shops and took in a bit of Primark too. I decided to leave H&M and Zara for the following day. I didn’t want to exhaust all the shops too soon!

After we had a mooch around some of the shops, we decided to stop for dinner in the Harry Ramsden restaurant on the sea front. Harry Ramsden is serves fish and chip and other sea side themed food, but in a pleasant restaurant setting over looking the beach.
We were greeted by the server and guided to our table. After looking at the menu Dan went for scampi and chips and I went for their cod burger. This was yummy and I would recommend if you are in the vicinity. Battered cod in a brioche bun, with lettuce, tartare sauce and coleslaw. Very nice!

Fed and watered we returned to our hotel room to chill out for the evening. I think we just watched some TV, I no doubt watched some Youtube videos and then went to bed in our lovely big bed!
I recall now I actually started to read a new paper back I had purchased earlier that day from one of my fav authors, Ali McNamara called Daisy’s Vintage Cornish Camper Van. This was a great summer holiday read and as it’s set in Cornwall, by the sea side and I could relate so much more due to my current setting. In fact I finished this on the train on the way back home two days later, I read it so quickly!

We woke up the following morning to a bit of a dreary start weather wise. The sky was over cast. Dan and myself seem to find that most times we stay in Bournemouth, even in the height of summer the weather doesn’t play ball.
One time a few years ago, we stayed in Bournemouth for our anniversary (this was again in June) and it was the year it rained so much that lots of parts of the UK were getting flooded.
Rather than basking in the summer sunshine in the beach, we were wet weather clothed up, walking around in the pouring rain. Sounds like a typical day at the British seas side then!

Anyway back to that morning. The hotel serves breakfast until 9:30am, so we headed down for about 8:30am. The breakfast is served in the restaurant area of the hotel and serves full continental breakfast.
Dan takes full advantage of this whenever we say in a hotel and has a full cooked breakfast, where I tend to stick to some toast and jam. I had to put my bread slices in that device that puts your bread on a sort of conveyor system under a grill and drops down underneath when it’s done. I had to do this a couple of times as it didn’t toast fully the first time and I thought it was going to start smoking cos I did it a second time!

After we had had our breakfast and enjoyed the view of the hotel grounds from the window we decided to take another walk into the town and just do some walking. The weather had brighten up at this point, we headed up towards the top of town by where the restaurant and bar section is (near the cat cafe- I had to use that as my reference point!).
There is a park area leading to a wooden section so I suggested to Dan we take a walk up there as we hadn’t been that way before.
We walked through a lovely treed area with a pond and onto a road. We saw a sign for Westbourne, which is a small suburb just outside Bournemouth which we had visited previously so we decided to walk there.
We knew from previous experience it was only a short walk and the weather was nice so we started to stroll down a couple of roads.
We then decided to consult Google Maps as at this point we weren’t exactly sure we were heading in the right direction! We then found a route to head us back on the right direction, but this did take us along a trail on the side of a golf course, along pretty tree lined streets and over a train line!
In all we walked just short of 4 miles!

We finally arrived in Westbourne and stopped to have a look around the shops. The nice thing about Westbourne, that whilst it maybe small, it does have some lovely independent shops. One being a bookshop, which Dan purchased a couple of psychology books.
We then found a cute vintage tea room and stopped for a cooling glass of fresh juice each. After a further wander around the area, I decided to  we should get a bus back to Bournemouth.

One of the many reasons I would love to move to Bournemouth is because it has such affordable public transport. The buses run regularly and they are about half the cost of what I pay in the area I currently live in.
As I knew there was buses running frequently back to Bournemouth, we wanted a few minutes for one and go on board the next available bus.
After literally less than 5 minutes we were back in the top of Bournemouth by the shops. So for what took a maximum of 5 minutes to get to by bus, took us over an hour and a half to walk to as went the long way round as you can see from this map of where we walked!

We then headed back to the hotel to rest as I was pretty tired by now. I read some more of my book on the balcony to enjoy the view of the sea. I thought we were only staying for a couple of days so I wanted to make the most of the view whilst I could.
When we had arrived back at the hotel we had booked to have dinner in the hotel restaurant as it was our anniversary that day and we thought it would be something nice to do to mark the occasion.

After getting dressed for dinner, we headed down to the restaurant and were shown to our table. I decided to go for the fish and chips (second night in a row- but I’m not an adventurous eater!) whilst Dan opted for the rump steak.
I had a glance around the other diners and I did note I felt out of place. Most if not all the other diners looked in their 60’s or 70’s. A distinct lack of people of my age or younger. Not that that means anything but I did wonder if I had booked to stay in a hotel that most the OAPS visit on their holidays. Hip and happening I am not! (The fact I just wrote that shows that I am not!).
Anyway the food arrived and I tried my battered cod. This was made using their own beer in the batter and I will be honest it didn’t taste how batter on a cod should taste. I gave up with it in the end and opted to finish all the chips.

Once we had finished our meals, we returned to our hotel room to chill out. I continued to read more of my book (again how rock and roll are we!) and then went to bed.

The following morning we got up about 7am. We are both early birds and my body clock is set by default to wake up early in time for when I normally get up for work.
I looked out the window and saw that is was rather gusty and a bit rainy outside. That didn’t bode well in my mind for getting out about later.
We again headed down for breakfast and had the same as the previous morning. After we finished our breakfasts we returned to our room to freshen up then headed outside.
It wasn’t raining, just over cast and a bit chilly. Not enough to keep us indoors. We took the path down to the town and I took the liberty to go into Primark to find some new clothes to wear for when I start my charity secondment that coming Monday.

I wanted to go for some printed/ patterened trousers and some plain tops. After much scouring of the shop I found some suitable trousers but no suitable tops.
I would recommend if you go to Bournemouth to give their Primark a go. Even if you are not much of a shopper I think this one you will like.
It looks pretty new (it’s been their for less than 5 years), is huge, plenty of space to shop. Nothing is crammed in. Brightly lit so easy to see all the items and well merchandised. It was actually refreshing to see a Primark where it looked like someone had made an effort to actually put items together to create different outfits. Rather than a section of tops, then a section of trousers. I do like to be inspired!

I then went into Zara, but left after a brief look around as I didn’t get much inspiration in their either. Sometimes Zara can be full of gems of items, but this time there wasn’t anything that caught my eye.
After this I then tried H&M and must of spent close to an hour in there. Initially I was getting frustrated as I must of looked at a number of items, and not one had items in my size.
I eventually found some tops and trousers and even an outfit for my mum and sister!
On the way to find Dan in Waterstones I stopped into House of Fraser. They had their summer sale on and I spied the bag I had been lusting after in the sale!
I do like the bags by Biba as I don’t see many other people with them and they are great quality. I have two already. This one is leather in a pale pink with faux leopard print trim.
It was originally £70. A bit more than I was willing to pay for. But it was now £28. And with opening a Recognition points card, I got a further 10%! So just over £25 I paid. That I was pretty cuffed with!

By now I was ready for some lunch and after meeting Dan in Waterstones, where he was having a cup of tea and doing some work on his laptop we headed to the Slug and Lettuce for some lunch.
We sat at a table in the Slug and Lettuce by the window over looking the pedestrianized shopping area.
I opted for the south fried chicken fajita wrap which was lovely and Dan went for some breaded mushrooms and a big bowl of chips.

Following on from that we went back to the hotel room to sit on the balcony and enjoy the sunshine as it had now warmed up quite a lot.
We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing, me reading some more of my book (again!) and getting a bit red in the sun!

Come dinner time I didn’t fancy venturing out again, so Dan kindly walked down the road to pick up a KFC! We ate this on the balcony as it was a lovely evening. Though I did go indoors to finish my meal as there was a few pesky seagulls eyeing up our food and loitering a bit too close for my liking!

It was another quiet night, ready for us to get up in the morning for our last breakfast in the hotel before we headed back home.

Packed with a bulging suitcase, we headed back towards Bournemouth train station the following morning after breakfast.
By luck a train back via Southampton pulled into the station just as we got onto the platform.
Once at Southampton, we waited for about 10 minutes and got the train back to our home town, Chichester.

And there ends our current visit to Bournemouth. A rather chilled and relaxed get away, but it was much needed. If you would like to find the details of the hotel we stayed in, you can visit this website:
Hallmark Carlton Hotel, Bournemouth
It has a spa and indoor and outdoor pool, a short walk from the town centre and you can book rooms with a sea view.

Top Eateries to visit in Bournemouth- recommend by me:

  • Slug and Lettuce in the town centre
  • Harry Ramsden on the sea front
  • Burger King (I love a BK!)
  • TGI Fridays
  • Pizza Hut
  • The cafe at the top of House of Fraser (great views from the top)

Top places to visit in and around Bournemouth:

  • The beach (all sand, no stones!)
  • The Oceanarium (must see the otters and the penguins!)
  • The lower gardens (great for a picnic0
  • The shops (a great range of shops)
  • The Russell Cotes Museum (a bit off beat but worth a visit)
  • Westbourne (a lovely suburb)
  • Poole Harbour (I’ve never been in nice weather but it still is worth seeing)
  • The Cat Cafe (If you love cats this is the place for you!)
  • The Bournemouth International Centre (check and see what’s on- has lots of great shows and events)

This post is not sponsored or paid for. All of this is my own honest opinions and paid for by Dan and or myself.

I hope this may of inspired you to take a visit to Bournemouth. I think it’s a great sea side town, with lots to do, no matter what you’re age!

If you do visit Bournemouth, please do share below your own thoughts on your visit.

Thanks for reading and I hope to be back again soon with another blog post!

Love Abbie

xxxxxx

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