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What to See and Do in Bournemouth – a guide to notable attractions and landmarks

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Long considered a quiet retirement retreat, an influx of students and surfers, as well as a thriving gay community, has transformed Bournemouth into a vibrant, cosmopolitan resort. With over 7 miles of glimmering coastline, clean blue seas, and acres of pristine gardens, there will be plenty to do and see when you head to Bournemouth for a seaside break.
The Lower Gardens

 

 

Bournemouth's been considered a bit of a health resort for quite some time – even the Victorians used to head down to the coast to get the smog of the city out of their lungs. The town’s expansive Lower Gardens are an idyllic place to unwind in peace and serenity amid the colourful flower displays. You can also hire a bicycle from the seafront if you wish to go further afield, such as heading down the immense Jurassic Coast – a World Heritage Site.

 

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery

 

 

Set in a Victorian, listed building at the top of a cliff, the Russell-Cotes Gallery is one of Bournemouth’s most striking tourist attractions. Resplendent masterpieces of British art, including the swooningly ravishing paintings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Arthur Hughes and other 19th Century titans, the gallery is must see attraction that will whisk you away for an afternoon. Even the building itself is a work of architectural art, with the Victorian styling interspersed with Moorish, Japanese, and French influences.

 

Town centre shopping

 

 

Bournemouth has all manner of boutique and vintage stores as well as a number of well-known high street names where you can splash the cash. There is also the Castlepoint Shopping Park, which is a short drive away from the town centre with large department stores and international retailers all gleaming under one roof. The pedestrianised town centre, a busy hive of quaint streets, is also lined with cafes, restaurants, and bars to refuel in after a heavy day of trawling the shops.

 

The Pavilion Theatre

 

 

The Pavilion Theatre, along with its twin venue The Bournemouth International Centre, are the entertainment hubs of the town. With West End shows, pop concerts, and theatre productions running throughout the year, it is worth checking what's on before you depart or book your tickets. Afterwards, you can head to the array of nearby bars and restaurants and carry on your night, or head down to the seafront for an evening walk with the sound of the waves as your backing track.