Have you got a bit of time before or after your hire? Or are you staying local to Bournemouth and want places to explore, sights to see, places to eat? We’re lucky to be surrounded by the beautiful coast and amazing countryside for walking and exploring.

Beaches

The obvious starting point is our seven miles of sandy beaches, many Blue Flag and Seaside Awards, the title of best UK beach according to TripAdvisor – what’s not to love! Whether you like bustling beaches or a bit more peace and quiet, there’s something for everyone. Take a book, people watch, mooch along the piers or get active.

Hire a board – surfboard or paddleboard, depending on the conditions! – from our awesome local hire shop/surf school Surf Steps (others available in different spots along the bay) and get out on the ocean.

Take the land train or use a Beryl bike to explore along the prom (though bikes are not allowed on the prom between 10am-6pm in July and August).

Visit Hengistbury Head for its wildlife and geology, check out the visitor centre, get the land train or walk along to Mudeford Sand spit for the overnight beach huts, cafe and short ferry trip across to Mudeford Quay for a spot of crabbing.

Go to Sandbanks, a small peninsula well known for its expensive beach properties and their famous owners. Explore the beach, sand dunes, play crazy golf and get the chain ferry across to Studland.

Countryside

Head to the New Forest for open heath and woodland, rare birds and animals, and the ponies, donkeys and cattle roaming and grazing freely. Country pubs and thatched tearooms, all kinds of walking and cycling routes, as well as beaches with views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight and the Needles.

Eating and Drinking

There are lots of lovely eateries in and around Bournemouth; try Chez Fred for the obligatory fish and chips, or local seafood at Westbeach. Urban Reef has views aplenty, and we love the tasty tapas at Casa Carlos in Southbourne. For family-friendly eating we go to any one of the Lounges, and Cafe Boscanova for great coffee and great vibes. You’ll find great vegan and vegetarian options in most places, but try Mad Cucumber for delicious vegan fare.

Family Days Out

Adventure Wonderland – aimed at children up to around double figures age; lots of rides, soft play, petting animals, a large maze and live shows, all themed around Alice in Wonderland. They also have character days, so if you’re lucky you might get to meet Peppa Pig or a Tellytubby too!

Moors Valley – 750 acres of Country Park and forest, with lots of wooden play structures and a tree top walkway. Along with the woodlands and Gruffalo sculptures, there’s a steam railway, 18 hole golf course, bikes for hire, Go Ape climbing and zip lines, miles of footpaths and cycle routes, and a parkrun. Parking is quite expensive, but there is no entry fee per se.

Poole – go for a walk around Poole Harbour, check out Poole Museum or do a RNLI College Discovery Tour, then get a ferry to Brownsea Island to see the red squirrels and the other wildlife and scenery there.

Christchurch – take in the Priory, Christchurch Castle ruins and visit the Red House Museum and Gardens. Hire a self-drive boat for a half hour trip up the Stour.

These are just some of our favourite (and easy to access) things. If you want other or more specific tips for your trip, get in touch!

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