A Visitor's Guide To Bournemouth

With miles of sandy beaches, more Blue Flag awards than any other resort in the United Kingdom and plenty of activities for all of the family, it is no surprise that Bournemouth is one of Britain’s most popular tourist destinations.

England’s Most Popular Seaside Resort, Just 23 Miles (45 Minutes) From The Castle Inn

If you’re looking for the perfect base from which to explore this stunning part of the world, The Castle Inn is a cosy, welcoming pub that is near to many of the sights and landmarks that Bournemouth has to offer. We have 12 stylish boutique bedrooms with super comfy beds and stunning bathrooms, as well as fresh, seasonal produce and delicious Butcombe beer on tap.

History Of Bournemouth

Although it is now one of the most popular coastal resorts in the United Kingdom, the town of Bournemouth as we know it was made up of uninhabited heathland just 200 years ago. Primarily used by cattle for grazing, the remote land was also frequented by smugglers who were able to bring illegal items from the continent without alerting the authorities.

When Lewis Tregonwell built Bournemouth’s first dwellings in 1810, little did he know that, less than 100 years later, the population of the town would have increased to more than 60,000! Fast forward to today and Bournemouth boasts a population of more than 200,000 people and a thriving economy made up of tourism, hospitality and financial services.

Bournemouth Beaches

Blessed with more than 7 miles of sandy beaches, Bournemouth is one the most popular destinations for visitors who want a day out by the seaside.

Many of the beaches in the area are regularly awarded the prestigious Blue Flag award from Keep Britain Tidy, so it is no wonder that people flock from all over the country to experience the cleanliness and water quality that Bournemouth has become famous for.

In total, there are 14 beaches that span the distance from Hengistbury Head to Studland Bay, with 9 of them boasting Blue Flag status.

Bournemouth Pier

Bournemouth Pier was opened in the summer of 1880 by the Lord Mayor of London. Since then, this marvellous victorian pier has welcomed millions of visitors and been the subject of countless photographs.

There is a small fee to enter the pier during peak season, but it remains valid for 12 months from the time of purchase. As you walk onto the pier, you will be greeted by the sights of the Isle of Wight to your left and the looming hills of the Isle of Purbeck to your right.

As you would expect from a visit to a pier, there is an abundance of arcade games and attractions to enjoy, along with plenty of opportunities for refreshments such as ice cream, soft drinks, snacks and light meals.

Bournemouth For Thrill-Seekers

For thrill-seekers who visit Bournemouth in search of an adrenaline rush, there are two main attractions in close proximity to each other.

First up is the Bournemouth Big Wheel, which stands at over 100 feet tall and offers panoramic views of Bournemouth, its beach and pier to those who are brave enough to climb aboard. The capsules ensure that riders are protected from the elements at all times, ensuring that the Big Wheel can remain operational, whatever the weather. Top tip: Sunset is a particularly popular time, so make sure you arrive in advance to avoid disappointment.

Although operated from Bournemouth Pier, we felt that RockReef’s “PierZip” deserved its own mention. It was the first zip line in the world to travel from pier to shore, and with 2 zip lines adjacent to each other, daredevils can compete against one another in an effort to reach the beach in first place. The starting platform stands more than 80 feet above the waves, with riders travelling for 250 metres before coming to rest.


Sandbanks is an exclusive peninsula that looks out over Poole bay. It is the most expensive coastal location in the United Kingdom, with average asking prices being in excess of £1,000,000.

Predominantly a residential area, the beach at Sandbanks has been awarded the Blue Flag award more than any other beach in the United Kingdom, making it popular with visitors and locals alike.

With lifeguards on duty during peak season (April-September), public toilets, showers and several food & drink outlets available, Sandbanks is a must-see when visiting Bournemouth.

Bournemouth Oceanarium

Located near to the seafront and boasting more than 150 different species of fish is the family-friendly Bournemouth Oceanarium.

Alongside the look-a-likes of Nemo and Dory are many other water-based creatures. Among the favourites are the Humboldt penguins, who can be watched from the sides, or from the on-site cafe. The otters, crocodiles and turtles are also popular, but are overshadowed by the sharks which reside in the Great Barrier Reef tank!

Bournemouth Oceanarium also has a play area which is aimed at children under the age of 10, while the adults can spend some time relaxing in either of the two on-site cafes, or exploring the shop for some keepsakes.

Russell-Cotes Museum

The Russell-Cotes Museum is located in a Grade II listed building that was previously known as East Cliff Hall.

What was originally a birthday present for his wife, Merton Russell-Cotes eventually donated East Cliff Hall and its entire contents to the town of Bournemouth on the understanding that it would be used as a museum. It was officially opened in 1919 and has displayed the wonderful collections of artefacts, souvenirs and art that were amassed by Mr & Mrs Russell-Cotes during their extensive international travel ever since.

With treasures from as far afield as Russia, China, Japan and India, visitors can explore the cultural wonders of that era before taking a breather in the well-stocked Museum Cafe.

Bournemouth Gardens

There are around 500 acres of gardens in Bournemouth, with three of the most spectacular located in close proximity to the town centre.

Just 5 minutes walk from the beach are the wonderful floral displays of the Lower Gardens. These Grade II listed gardens are extremely popular with visitors (especially during the summer months), all vying for the perfect spot to relax and enjoy a picnic. With seasonal exhibitions, there is always something to keep people entertained throughout the year.

Continuing from the Lower Gardens are the Central Gardens. Developed in the 1870s, these gardens maintain Bournemouth’s wonderful display of different flower types, as well as offering a children’s play area, tennis courts and war memorial that celebrates the local heroes.

The final of these three magnificent gardens are the Upper Gardens. The focal point here are the three separate garden sections, each displaying species of plants from different continents. With European, Asian and North American segments, visitors can really see the difference as they pass through each area. As mesmerising as the plants are, don’t forget to take some time to admire the trees – some of which are in excess of 100 years old!

The Castle Inn

Located in beautiful West Lulworth, The Castle Inn is a traditional pub and hotel that boasts 12 sumptuous bedrooms and a history dating back to 1660 – making it one of the oldest inns in Dorset.

Rustic and cosy, The Castle is the ideal base for exploring Dorset’s stunning Jurassic coastline and the beautiful seaside resort of Bournemouth. It is within walking distance of must-see Dorset attractions like Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door.

On the menu, our focus is seasonal ingredients, locally sourced produce and exciting pub classics, with award-winning Butcombe beer, local cider, wine and classic cocktails behind the bar.