Enjoy a day out exploring the natural history or art collections housed in Bournemouth’s beautiful old mansions, perfect for wet weather entertainment. And be sure to check out the town’s frequent events for the whole family, with acrobatics both in the air and on the ground. As a charming seaside destination bustling with culture, you will never get bored in Bournemouth.
Culture in Bournemouth
Enjoy your art in beautiful surroundings at the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, less than five minutes from our Central Bournemouth hotel and boasting stunning views from East Cliff over to the ocean. The Victorian house has a heart-warming story; built in 1901 as a birthday present for Annie Russell-Cotes, it was extended over time with purpose-built galleries to house their huge personal art collection. The house and collection were then donated to the town of Bournemouth, and it remains a beautiful place to visit today, with a chocolate box selection of paintings and sculptures within the ornate Victorian mansion.
If you fancy a browse of more modern works from a range of up-and-coming artists, there are two more galleries in town. Westover Gallery proudly showcases local, national and international artists, with three floors of artwork to explore. Escape from the cold or the crowds and you’ll be welcomed with a coffee (or even a glass of fizz) whilst you peruse their exhibitions. Less than a two-minute wander from our Central hotel, there’s also Bournemouth’s branch of the national network of Whitewall Galleries. You’ll find a dazzling array of paintings, prints, sculptures and more in these chic surroundings. Check out their exhibitions and events for the chance to snap up works from emerging artists.
Russell Cotes Art Gallery
Russell Cotes Museum
Bournemouth Air Festival
If your kids are the types who enjoy delving in the mud, searching for treasure and all things creepy crawly, be sure to schedule in a visit to the Bournemouth Natural Science Society Museum whilst you’re in town. This treasure trove holds dinosaur bones, butterfly collections, an Egyptian mummy, a live insect display (complete with tarantulas to hold!) and hundreds of other items of natural history. Saturday science events will get the little ones hands-on and learning about the world around them. But the museum’s not just for the children – visitors of all ages can learn lots from the knowledgeable volunteers and while away the afternoon pond dipping or checking out the cockroaches – both dead and alive!
Another option for your little scientists is the Science Zone UK, located in the historical Royal Arcade and a handy 12-minute walk from our Boscombe hotel. Don your lab coats and get inspired. With life-size dinosaurs, fossils to dig for, explosive experiments and planetarium zone, all ages from 0–99 will be entertained by the mad professors.
Alternatively, you can enjoy a flying visit to the Bournemouth Aviation Museum in nearby Hurn and just a 15-minute drive from our Christchurch West hotel. Here the whole family can take their turn in the cockpit, pulling levers and pressing knobs without leaving the safety of the ground. Pilots of all ages can test their skills in the flight simulator and everyone will enjoy exploring the extensive collection of flying machines from when Britain ruled the skies.
For those flying fanatics, the best chance to see planes and parachutes actually in action is the annual Bournemouth Air Festival, the UK’s largest air show, offering showstopping displays and daredevil acrobatics. Or, if that’s too much adrenaline for your liking, you can celebrate by the seaside with theatre, dance and all things creative at the Arts by the Sea Festival. Transforming some of Bournemouth’s most beautiful places and parks, the late summer event brings you visual arts, creative displays and a few (very) curious acts! With over 50 events during the week – some free and some ticketed – enjoy the wonderful and wacky side of the arts world along this charming stretch of Dorset coastline.
Why not treat your taste buds across a jam-packed 10 days of food, drink, music and more food as the town square comes alive with the annual Bournemouth Food & Drink Festival. Expect cookery demos from the experts and a farmers’ market with quality local produce, as well as cook-off competitions and street food. Whether you’re searching for brunch, a late-night bite or anything in between, head to the festival to sample the best grub in town.