There’s been quite a lot of Bournemouth related content on my blog recently, inspired by my move here three years ago for University. It’s a beautiful city, offering so much in the way of outdoor activities, restaurants and fancy cocktail bars (the latter of which may – or may not be – my favourite aspect) and I am very keen to talk about it more while I spend my final year here. I think of my blog as a document of my life – and it’s always lovely to look back and see where you’ve been, what you’ve been doing and what your thoughts were at that period in time (I’m forever looking back – albeit while cringing – at old posts).
So, in aid of this and as part of a collaboration with Travelodge, I thought I’d put together a list of ‘insider’ tips. All those secret, off-the-beaten-track places and activities that you only really discover once you’ve lived here a little while. Whether you’re planning a visit yourself or know someone who lives nearby, they might be insightful in some way…
- Although the Christmas markets are a focal point during the festive season, there’s also a completely free ‘festival of lights’ showcase in the lower Gardens, which makes for a fab photo shoot background in the evening (forever thinking like a blogger) or simply a really pretty (and romantic) walk.
- If you fancy yourself as a bit of an adrenaline junkie, Bournemouth actually features the world’s first pier to shore zipline – which I’m sure makes for some spectacular views. You’ll start on the tip of the pier, before ‘lining’ all the way to the beachfront.
- Bournemouth also hosts the UK’s first 6D cinema. I can’t say I’ve ever been (although I’ve always been intrigued) but if you’re in the city during a rainy weekend, it would make for a rather unique experience!
- Team a visit to Aruba (review here) or West Beach (review here) with one of Bournemouth’s many air shows or festivals – and experience a free sea-front firework display. I’ve managed to do this a couple of times and it rounds off an evening with friends (or a date) perfectly, watching from the warmth (with a cocktail in hand).
- If you fancy an evening of comedy – or watching some new and upcoming bands, you don’t have to opt for the expensive shows at the BIC (Bournemouth International Centre). The Student Union’s ‘Fire Station’ (in Landsdowne) offers a whole host of evening activities and shows every day of the week – and the tickets are £5 as a maximum.
- Ice skating whizzes have two exciting choices at Christmas time, with a large rink at the BIC and a cute outdoor rink in the Lower Gardens. Both places are very affordable and make for a great (if not tiring) day out with friends or a unique first date!
- The Oceanarium has had a re-vamp in recent months, with the new additions – such as penguins, making for a lovely family-friendly day out. If you fancy getting up close and personal with a Great White Shark (without all the danger), the interactive diving cage is a really fun and informative experience!
- The Arts By The Sea Festival runs throughout the beginning of October, offering free dance performances, art installations and music for visitors. It’s worth a visit if you’re in the city and fancy something cheap (but exciting) to get involved with.
- For something unusual, the nearby Corfe Castle hosts an assortment of unique events throughout the year. I’ve previously been to their highland gathering (while filming for a documentary), hosted by the Viking Society – featuring live displays and an area where those partaking sleep, live and eat authentically for the duration. The Lantern Display is also rather unusual (but pretty) as the castle is illuminated by thousands of intricately designed and modern lights.
Have you ever visited Bournemouth before? Do you have any ‘insider’ tips on where you live?