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Things to do in

Bournemouth

Our most recommended things to do in Bournemouth

Poole Harbor and Islands Cruise

1. Poole Harbor and Islands Cruise

Take a cruise around Europe's largest natural harbor, home to the town of Poole, the golden beaches of Sandbanks and Brownsea Island. From either open deck seating or comfortable saloon you will see stunning views of the exceptional landscape that surrounds it. Your 70 minute trip will start on charming Poole Quay with its old buildings and buzzing atmosphere.  Next you will go past Brownsea Island, home to wildlife and picturesque Brownsea Castle, built to protect against French invasions. After that comes the Sandbanks Peninsula and the luxurious houses of the ‘Golden Mile’. Then you will tour the great natural expanse of the harbor and the remaining islands: Green, Furzey, Long and Round. Fronting onto beautiful scenery it helped inspire classics like Lord of the Rings and Gulliver's Travel. 

From Bournemouth: Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door Trip

2. From Bournemouth: Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door Trip

Discover some of the most scenic coastline in southern England on a bus trip from Bournemouth. Travel along the famous Jurassic Coast, via Poole Harbour and Sandbanks, to experience the nation's only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit both Lulworth Cove and the natural limestone arch of Durdle Door and get plenty of information and maps to help you along the way. Use the time to go for a light nature walk from Durdle Door over the hill to Lulworth Cove and get magnificent views from Hambury Tout. Spend the time at Lulworth Cove if you prefer to give your legs a rest and get a beautiful view of the arch on an optional boat ride from the beach, at your own expense. Benefit from a map highlighting the main features, or feel free to follow your own nose and explore independently. Find a nice cafe or restaurant in the village of West Lulworth or avail of the small shop in the holiday park at Durdle Door.

Bournemouth: Seaside Hop-on Hop-off Tour

3. Bournemouth: Seaside Hop-on Hop-off Tour

Experience the beautiful British coastline with the Bournemouth hop-on hop-off tour. Ride an open-top double-decker tour bus on a 1.5-hour loop through the Dorset coastline to discover the beautiful seaside towns of Bournemouth and Poole. Stop at Poole Quay and explore the variety of shops, parks, restaurants, and theatres, as well as buzzing nightlife. The onboard commentary points out the main sights and attractions of each city, all accessible from the 22 conveniently located stops along the bus route. There are plenty of things to do in Bournemouth and Poole. A double-decker bus is a perfect way to explore the picturesque British seaside and the phenomenal beaches, parks, and shops of Bournemouth and Poole are all easily accessible from the tour route's wandering path down the coastline. Bournemouth Tour Stops: 1. Bournemouth Pier - Behind Hot Rocks 2. Bournemouth Square - Gervis Place Stand X 3. West Cliff Savoy Hotel 4. Westbourne - Camden 5. Branksome Chine 6. Canford Cliffs - Loch Fyne 7. Sandbanks Beach - Shore Road - Tesco 8. Sandbanks Beach - Main Car Park 9. Sandbanks Peninsular - Panorama Road 10. Sandbanks Beach - Harbour Side 11. Sandbanks Beach - Harbour Side opposite Tesco 12. Lilliput Village - Lilliput Square 13. Whitecliff - Whitecliff Recreation Ground 14. Poole Park - Opposite Civic Centre 15. Poole Quay & Old Town - Thistle Hotel 16. Poole Railway Station - Platform 2 Exit Ramp 17. Poole Park - Parkstone Road by Parade of Shops 18. Ashley Cross - Parkstone Railway Station 19. Penn Hill - Penn Hill Corner 20. Westbourne - Opposite The Porterhouse 21. The Triangle - Bournemouth Central Library 22. Bournemouth Square - Moon on the Square (drop off only)23. Bournemouth Pier - Behind Hot Rocks (drop off only)

From Bournemouth: Jurassic Coast & Isle of Purbeck Day Tour

4. From Bournemouth: Jurassic Coast & Isle of Purbeck Day Tour

Catch the early morning ferry across to the Isle of Purbeck. View Old Harry Rocks, the starting point of the Jurassic Coast, England’s only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take in breath-taking views across Poole Harbour and towards Brownsea Island. By mid morning you will arrive at Durlston Country Park. Visit the brand new Jurassic Coast visitor center housed in the recently refurbished Durlston Castle. There’s time for a morning coffee stop overlooking the famous Great Globe and a chance to take the cliff top walk along to Tilly Whim Caves and the Anvil Point Lighthouse. For every visitor brought to Durlston Country Park, a contribution towards a bursary that helps to support their volunteer programme is made. Heading west drive through some of the tiny lanes and villages that give Purbeck its unique character. Take lunch in the village of Corfe Castle, dominated by the ruins that give it its name. Entrance to the castle itself not included (Free to NT members). After lunch take a gentle drive along the coast taking in more stunning scenery as you head for an afternoon at Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door. Walk down to Man o’ War Rocks and view the magnificent rock arch of Durdle Door, hewn from the Portland limestone beds. Finally, head down to Lulworth Cove and see the famous Lulworth Crumple rock formation in Stair Hole. Hotel pick up request: Please email us to [email protected] with your date, booking number and the name and address of your hotel. We will confirm the place and an approximiate time in a reply email, please be 10-15 minutes early and outside.

Bournemouth: Hop-on Hop-off Open-Top Bus Tour

5. Bournemouth: Hop-on Hop-off Open-Top Bus Tour

Your Bournemouth hop-on, hop-off bus ticket will ensure you get to explore the area with comfort and ease. Sit back and let your driver do the hard work as you are taken on a journey around the must-see sights of Bournemouth, Poole and the famous peninsular Sandbanks. Hop off at any one of the 24 stops on route to take a closer look at the sights around you. Check out Poole harbour, the largest natural harbour in Europe, with rich maritime history, award winning beaches and lush green gardens. Or take some time to explore the coastline of Bournemouth, and try some English delicacies in between stops. While you tour the areas, we provide on-board commentary for your entertainment and to help you discover the unique and intriguing stories behind the sights.

Isle of Wight Minibus Tour from Bournemouth

6. Isle of Wight Minibus Tour from Bournemouth

Join a full-day bus tour to explore the Isle of Wight from Bournemouth. Once on the ferry, relax and let the views unfold. The crossing takes approximately an hour to reach East Cowes. Once arrived, you will head straight to the Needles and Alum Bay. Watch the landscape along the journey, and hear stories from your driver of the area. There is a two hour stop at the Needles, where you can walk out on the head land and discover where the name came from, of you can spend time wondering Alum Bay at the Needles Park. Spend time admiring the brightly colored sand, or even catch a chair life down to walk along the beach. Next stop is Tennyson Down, by which you will pass by old villages on the way and then drive down the coast. Have a stop at Compton Bay to enjoy the views. Then travel north across the island to Osborne House. Learn about the history of Osborne House, which was Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's seaside palace. Queen Victoria said once "It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot".  If you don't want a tour at the Osborne House, feel free to wonder about Ryde, a pretty seaside resort, with small shops, cafes and pubs. This town also has passenger hovercraft, so keep your eyes peeled for those traveling around. The tour will catch the 5:30 PM ferry back to Southampton and will reach Bournemouth by roughly 7:00 PM.

Frequently asked questions about Bournemouth

What top attractions are a must-see in Bournemouth?

What are the best day trips and excursions from Bournemouth?

The best day trips and excursions from Bournemouth are:

Poole

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Other Sightseeing Options in Bournemouth

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What people are saying about Bournemouth

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 660 reviews

Really good trip. The microphone wasn't working so couldn't hear the commentary. Driver and guide very amenable. Only downfall was there was a group of students, 2 of whom were 15 minutes late when we were due to return. The teachers couldn't contact them and had no idea where they were. The coach was not running, due to local guidelines in the parking lot and emission of fumes - students were complaining about this, even though they were the cause of having to sit in a stuffy coach! Driver and guide 10/10, students 0/10!

Took the scenic route through Bournemouth and Poole, which was cool. 3-3.5 hours on-site to do self guided looking around. Area itself was quite crowded with limited access to the beach by the Durdle door and definitely not stroller or wheelchair friendly. Plenty of uphill and downhill walking, so hopefully your knees are in good shape. Excellent trip.

Brilliant trip, cannot fault it. Our guide Paul was very knowledgeable and just great!. Definitely recommend taking water, wearing appropriate footwear and your swimming stuff if walking down to durdle door. Also leave at least 40mins to go and experience the stair hole.

The tour was lovely. The Crewe were polite and talked through the sites with good local knowledge.

Lovely trip. Informative and lovely sights. Just the right length.