Bournemouth sits on the Dorset coast and is a popular seaside destination and famous for its seven miles of golden beaches. Two piers offer unique entertainment, including a zip wire and mini golf course that feeds the fishes! Check out our guide to the best beaches on offer in the area, providing plenty of space to explore and enjoy no matter the English weather.
As the main beach in town, this sandy stretch of the coast is home to the Bournemouth Pier – complete with zip wire – and Bournemouth’s Oceanarium. The pier offers both indoor and outdoor activities for the whole family – RockReef climbing walls and high ropes for the adventurous, a family entertainment centre and the popular Key West Bar & Grill. Check out the beach for spacious stretches of golden sands, which have even been awarded the Blue Flag for safety and cleanliness, as well as many cafés, bars, restaurants and attractions nearby.
Durley Chine Beach
Southbourne Beach can be a quieter option than Bournemouth’s main stretch, still offering Blue Flag status and golden sands. With everything you’d need for a family day out – food and drink, toilets, lifeguards and of course, plenty of ice cream – there’s miles of beach to play with and handy parking nearby. A zig-zag path leads up and down the cliffs, but there’s a clifftop lift if you don’t fancy the trek!
Alum Chine Beach
Alum Chine Beach is a picture perfect setting just to the west of Bournemouth town. Enjoy a long stroll along the beach and visit the nearby Westbourne for great shops and cafés. The kids will have plenty of space, with both sandy and shingle sections, as well as a pirate themed children's play area and beach huts to hire all year round.
Durley Chine Beach
Also west of Bournemouth’s main sands and not far from the town centre is Durley Chine Beach – a pretty setting of golden dunes backed by woodland areas. It’s easy to access, with a spacious car park taking over the slope down to the beach. With a pub, café and the obligatory ice cream stops, there’s all of the facilities you need for a full day in the sunshine. There are also boat hiring facilities if you’re looking to test your sea legs!
Boscombe Beach is the centre of Bournemouth’s surfing scene and sits to the east of Bournemouth itself. Real explorers can zigzag down from the clifftop, or you can take the Art Deco lift for a more leisurely appreciation of the sea views. The Boscombe Pier is a great spot for a stroll – it’s recently undergone a £2.4 million refurbishment and is the perfect viewpoint to catch the surfers or watch the fishermen at the end. There’s even a fish-friendly mini golf course stretching along the pier. Battle it out with your putting skills along the course and then feed the fish with your tasty golf ball through the bottomless 18th hole!
Hengistbury Head is a beautiful spot, less than half an hour along the coast from Bournemouth. It offers views to the Isle of Wight, back towards Bournemouth and also across the lagoon towards Christchurch. If you want to buy your own slice of the English coastline, check out the top-of-the-range beach huts selling for over £300k! If that’s not quite within your budget, you can enjoy a peaceful walk along the spit, past the beach huts, then take a short ferry across to Mudeford Quay. Two cafés, a Noddy train, visitor centre for the nature reserve, spots for bird watching and large areas of beach will definitely give you plenty of things to do in the area.
Studland Beach and Nature Reserve
Enjoy the trip to Studland Beach whilst staying in Bournemouth by catching the ferry across to the bay from Sandbanks Beach. This four-mile stretch of golden sands offers charming views towards the Isle of Wight and Old Harry Rocks, with perfect sheltered bathing waters and the UK’s most popular nudist beach if you fancy a dip sans costume! The coastline is ideal for water sports and there are trails to explore through the sand dunes and nature reserve in this unspoilt piece of paradise.