The top 10 places to see in Bournemouth
Bournemouth is full of wonderful and historic places to see and explore and is best known for having one the UK’s largest sandy beaches. However, there are many hidden gems throughout Bournemouth that are less known to many.
Here’s our top 10 of Bournemouth’s Hidden Gems, but feel free to discover more!
1) The best birthday present ever! Built in 1901 by Merton Russell-Cotes to show his wife how much he loved her. Now home to a vast collection of Victorian art, artefacts, the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum is the perfect place to stop off for tea and take in a stunning coastal panorama stretching from the Isle of Wight to the Purbeck Hills.
2) Wander over briefly to the dark side, to the final resting place of the author Mary Shelley, best known for her novel Frankenstein. She asked to be buried in the family plot in the grounds of St Peter’s Church, although she never lived in the town. But who knows why the only part of her husband to be buried with her was his heart?
3) Head up to the fashionable Soho quarter – aka The Triangle – to find lively bars, clubs and eateries. Seek out The Goat and Tricycle beer house, tucked away in a side street, with its huge array of hand pulled cask and guest ales. Look out also for the unique Chocolate Boutique Hotel, with its cosy chocolate-themed rooms, drinks and events, and the chance to create your own decadent designs and flavours.
4) Fancy a restful break? Try the tranquil Upper Gardens, Many trees in this 19th century garden are well over 100 years old – including mature and rare Persian Ironwood trees and the UK’s largest Giant Redwood. Check out the Gothic style Victorian water tower, powered by the nearby River Bourne. It’s a bit boggy up there, but there are plenty of boardwalks to keep you dry as you stroll through the lush foliage and inspect the rare species growing there. An excellent picnic spot and the quietest of Bournemouth’s three gardens.
5) The thriving natural habitats of Brownsea Island create a unique haven for wildlife –dunlin, kingfishers, common terns, sandwich terns and oystercatchers – and the rare and endearing red squirrel. Retrace the footsteps of Lord Baden-Powell’s first scout group who camped here in 1907. A proper away-from-it all destination, just minutes by ferry from Poole Quay.
6) Downtown Boscombe to the east is the place to go for all things vintage and is certainly one of Bournemouth’s Hidden Gems. With a mile-long stretch of second hand shops packed with treasures, plus the beautiful Royal Arcade filled boutiques and bazaars full of niche clothing, bric-a-brac and collectables. Get there early to discover what many believe is Bournemouth’s best breakfast venue, Café Boscanova, serving everything from traditional full English to totally and deliciously vegan.
7) Head over to Christchurch to explore Hengistbury Head, the scenic and historic headland guarding the harbour entrance. Take the leisurely climb to Warren Hill, stopping to observe the rich wildlife, before taking in the amazing coastal and harbour views from the top. The walk down, past the exclusive beach hut real estate, and on to the popular Beach House Café for their excellent moules marinieres with fries.
8) Discover the colourful history of ancient Poole and its vast natural harbour at Poole Museum. Four floors of art, archaeology and social history and a terrace with stunning harbour views. The medieval Scaplen’s Court Museum and its tranquil herb and physic garden is a delightful surprise, offering a peaceful retreat in the centre of the old town..
9) After a leisurely pub lunch at the Castle Inn, Corfe, you can wander at leisure around the 1,000-year-old Corfe Castle – an iconic survivor of the English Civil War. Romantic ruins, with breathtaking views across Purbeck, fallen walls, secret places, and tales of treachery and treason around every corner. End the day with a quintessentially English cream tea in the National Trust tearooms.
10) Up a 600-year-old staircase in Wimborne Minister is a 17th century chained library, a relic of the Middle Ages when books were prized swag and chained to the shelves for their own protection. Most of Wimborne Minister’s architecture dates back to the 12th century, and includes a 14th century astronomical clock. Around 150 books still lie chained up in a small stone room. Including Greek, Latin and Hebrew scripts, handwritten on lambskin, and a 1343 guide on how to evade spiritual pitfalls.