Welcome to Bournemouth, one of England’s oldest and most-love seaside resorts. In the next 24 hours you’ll get to experience all the best that Bournemouth has to offer, from independent coffee shops and endless golden beaches, to the Victorian arcade and award-winning fish and chips.
Here’s our insider’s guide to 24 hours in Dorset’s coastal gem…
10:00AM: COFFEE AND SCRAMBLE
Start the day off right with an independent Bournemouth-brewed coffee from Espresso Kitchen just a six-minute walk from The Connaught Hotel. This quirky indie establishment will throw you straight into the Bournemouth-seaside vibes, with its old advertisements decorating the walls and surfboards handing from the ceiling.
11:00AM: TAKE A COASTAL WALK TO SANDBANKS
Enjoy a flat coastal walk along the promenade and enjoy the magic of the Dorset coastline with views right out to the Isle of Wight. The walk is about 3.5 miles long, starting at Bournemouth pier and has plenty of cafes and ice cream venders along the way if you need a little energy boost on-route.
12:30PM: LUNCH AT THE SANDBANKS CAFE
Once you’ve reached the small Sandbanks peninsula, it’s time to refuel at the Sandbanks Café. Keeping things cheap and cheerful, this beach-side outlet does everything from salads, to burgers and (of course) fish and chips, so there’s something to keep everyone happy.
1:30PM: A DAY ON THE BEACH
Without a doubt one of the most beautiful beaches in England, Sandbanks is five kilometres of soft, golden sands, rockpools and hidden shallows. At the peak of summer, expect the water to be a buzz of watersports: windsurfers, kite surfers, jets skis, power boats and kayaks all sharing the bay. Or, if sports aren’t your things, why not try your hand at some rock-pooling? You’ll find crabs and cockles galore when the tide goes out.
OPTIONAL EXCURSION: TAKING THE FERRY
If you fancy yourself a bit of an explorer, there’s also the option to leave the sandy shores of Sandbanks Beach, and head to the very tip of the peninsula to catch the ferry to Shell Bay. Crossing time is only around four minutes and the boats leave three times an hour from 7am-11pm, so there’s no worries about getting stranded.
Once on the other side, you’ll be able to explore the sand dunes, climb to the top of the white cliffs or simply lay back and enjoy yet another spotless beach.
4:30PM: FRESHEN UP AT THE HOTEL
Buses from sandbanks to Bournemouth run once an hour from outside St. Nicolas Chapel, and take about 25 minutes. Alternatively, you could get a taxi back to the hotel for about £15, where you can take some time to freshen up for the evening.
6:00PM: EARLY EVENING ON BOURNEMOUTH PIER
Tonight’s dinner stop is back down by the sea. But first, there’s time to spare for some fun on the pier. Bournemouth Pier is Victorian era and has plenty of things to keep you amused – a full amusement arcade with slot machines and video games, plus a rock climbing centre with the first pier-to-shore zipwire for the thrill-seekers amongst you.
8:00PM: AWARD WINNING FISH AND CHIPS
Nestled along the beautiful Bournemouth seafront, you’ll find the world’s largest fish and chip restaurant, Harry Ramsden’s. Offering both takeaway and table service, this is sure to be a far more sophisticated fish and chips experience than you’re used to. Of course, the recommendation will always be to have the classic fish dinner, but the restaurant is also highly acclaimed for its freshly baked pie of the day, wholetail scampi and cod burgers.
9:30PM: A TIPPLE OR TWO
If you’re not quite done with the evening, head back inland toward The Triangle, and sidestep into Smokin’ Aces Cocktail Bar and Whisky Lounge. A cosy little bar, with a warm and friendly atmosphere, park yourself in a leather-backed booth and order from their unique menu of cocktails. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a bit of live music.
11:30PM: TIME TO TURN IN?
When you’re feeling suitably sleepy, it’s time to slip back into the night and wander home to the sophisticated calm of your Best Western hotel. One of the finest boutique hotels in Bournemouth, Connaught Hotel & Spa promises a luxurious night’s sleep to help you rest those weary feet.
9:00AM: A MORNING AT THE SPA
Your 24-hours is almost at an end – but not before you seize the opportunity to test out the Connaught Hotel’s Bluewater Spa. With an 18m indoor swimming pool, jacuzzi, steam room and sauna, you’ll wish you never had to leave.