Rio has exorbitant helicopter rides that will charge you upwards of £150 for an 11-minute whirr around the bay and statue of Christo Redentor, the vast Art Deco sculpture of Jesus spreading his arms wide as if to say: “Yes, but the one that got away was THIS big.” Bournemouth has a tethered hot-air balloon in the Lower Gardens near the seafront, from which, for £12.50, you can see the pier, the 1920s Pavilion Theatre and Ballroom, and the more recent Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) in a 15-minute, 500ft ascent.
On a clear day, the Isle of Wight is visible to the east, and to the west Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour. Rio has three art museums – breathtaking modern buildings, but with little inside to match their exteriors. Bournemouth has the handsome Russell-Cotes, a bequeathed private house to rival the John Soane museum of Leighton House in London, as expressive of the personality of its eponymous owners as is the eclectic collection they assembled on their travels. Here are antiques, chinoiserie, 20th-century British art, and the pistols and sword used on stage by Sir Henry Irving. In Rio, you can eat undeniably well, but the default dining experience are anodyne buffets where you are charged for food by weight, and unreconstructed macho churrascarias, where waiters bring you grilled meats until you tell them to stop or you have a heart attack, whichever is sooner. In Bournemouth, the two basic tentpoles of the cuisine are: fish and chips, and ice cream. Yet in a city where wealth is stealthy rather than overt as in Rio, there is a dining revolution going on.
More Things To Do In Bournemouth
If you're looking for more inspiration for a short city break, take a look at our guide of what to do in Bournemouth where you'll find details of more things to do, great shopping, eating and drinking, culture and nightlife, plus details of all Best Western Bournemouth hotels.