Things To Do



Bournemouth offers many activities and attractions for all ages. With loads of history, heritage and culture, including historic castles, fantastic art collections, stately homes and museums there’s plenty to see and do in and around Bournemouth.

Check out these suburbs if you fancy a short trip:Westbourne, Southbourne, and Winton, or visit Poole by bus and head down to the historic quayside with everything from Sunseeker boat building to visiting yachts with many boat trips available year round. If you want to venture further from town, there are tours that will take you to Stonehenge, the New Forest, deepest Dorset and lots more! 

Check out the Tourist Information Site for up to date information or drop down to the office up in Westover Gardens 10 minutes walk from The Hedley.

Phone: 01202 451 734 Website:

Explore The Area

Explore The Area

Explore beyond Bournemouth and discover beautiful countryside and picturesque villages steeped in history. Dorset and the surrounding area offers natural beauty providing some of the most stunning scenery in the country. Home to rolling hills, rugged coastline, lush forest and of course, mile after mile of fantastic golden sandy beaches, the county is easily accessible and tailor-made for exploring by car, foot or bike.

The seaport town of Poole is home to the second largest natural harbour in the world. The historic Quay area offers many types of boat trips along this magnificent stretch of coastline and don’t forget to hop over to Brownsea Island, a wonderful nature reserve owned by the National Trust.

The New Forest, created as the hunting ground of William the Conqueror, is ideal for the cyclist, walker or horse rider. Ponies, donkeys and cattle all roam freely through the Forest’s picturesque villages, like Burley and Brockenhurst.

Wimborne is a quaint market town with a lovely Square and the beautiful 12th century Wimborne Minster. The town has a lively three-day folk festival in early June.

Weymouth, located to the west of Dorset, is a busy harbour town, with Fleet Lagoon nature reserve located nearby.

The Jurassic Coast is a stunning World Heritage site, recording 185 million years of history in its rugged cliffs. Take in Durleston Head, Dancing Ledge, Lulworth Cove and don’t miss Durdle Doors’famous rock archway. A camera is a must!

The small village of Studland on the Isle of Purbeck is known for its National Trust beach and nature reserve, which is home to all six types of British reptile. Studland Bay, protected by Old Harry Rocks, has great views of the Isle of Wight and Studland itself served as Enid Blyton’s inspiration for her classic Noddy books.

Just inside the Wiltshire border is Salisbury, whose cathedral has the tallest spire in the UK. The cathedral also has the best-preserved copy of the original Magna Carta. Salisbury also boasts one of Britain’s best historic sites –Stonehenge, bus tours available from the town centre.

Corfe Castle is an iconic survivor of the English Civil War, with over 1,000 years of history packed in its dramatic ruins. The castle site has great panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, overlooking the delightful village.

In the most easterly borough of Dorset is Christchurch, whose harbour is the meeting point for the rivers Avon and Stour. The impressive Priory, which gives the town its name, dates from the 11th century while the ruins of Christchurch Castle pre-date the Norman Conquest. The town holds a weekly market or take a boat trip across to Mudeford Quay or Hengistbury Head, several boat tours operate from Christchurch Quay.

Bournemouth Guided Walking Tours - Why not take an early spring meander around central Bournemouth. An experienced guide will give you information on its fascinating early history. Tours depart Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11 AM outside the Tourist Information Centre from May to the end of November.

Phone:01202 709965

City Sightseeing Bournemouth is a fantastic way for visitors to get their bearings in the area, experience our beautiful, dramatic coastline while learning some fascinating facts about this part of the South Coast via open top bus.

Tickets are valid for 24 hours, so you can hop on and off. Bus and boat combination tickets are also available, connecting the vintage ferry service serving Christchurch Harbour. Tickets can be purchased directly from the driver or in advance from the Tourist Information Centre.

Explore Dorset Minibus Tours is a small, family run business giving people the opportunity to see more of the beautiful county of Dorset throughout the summer months. From the comfort of our minibus, we can show you the well-known and lesser known wonders! Dorset offers miles of stunning coastline, castles, caves, tunnels, lighthouses, steam-trains and even our own giant! Pickups can be arranged within the Bournemouth/Poole area. Children are very welcome, although the tours may not be suitable for those under 8 years old.

Phone:01202 882172

Let Discover Dorset Tours help you to discover the local area with ease. A range of tour options available including Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door, Stonehenge, Salisbury and the New Forest;all with fully trained friendly local guides. Pick-ups direct from hotels or central pick-up-points. Advance booking only. Check website for full range of tours including "half-day get to know the area".

Phone:01202 557007

The Pinewalk Art Exhibition in Bournemouth’s Lower Gardens is open from the 24th May until the 6th September 2015. Established over 50 years ago and is one of the largest, and longest running, open air art displays in the country. Located opposite Westover Gardens adjacent to The Pavilion.

Historical Places of Interest

Bucklers' Hard Maritime Museum and Waterway –On the tranquil banks of the Beaulieu River, Buckler’s Hard was once a hive of shipbuilding activity, providing ships for Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar.

In the Maritime Museum, you will discover the fascinating story of the village and the ships it built. Listen in on conversations between villagers of the past in the 18th Century New Inn and follow the stories of the 19th and 20th Century residents in an exhibition about village life.

Step through the doors of a worker’s cottage and back in time to the 18th Century to find out about the home life of the villagers and their families in our historic cottage displays.

Between Easter and October, take a cruise on the Beaulieu River that further reveals the history and wildlife that inhabits its banks.

Phone:01590 616203/01590 614777 (24 hrs.)

Kingston Lacy is a National Trust attraction with an elegant country mansion set in attractive formal gardens. With plenty to see, from grand, beautifully detailed carvings, to intimate family souvenirs the house is an art lover’s dream. Take a look at rooms teeming with paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, Titian and Brueghel and in the Egyptian Room, discover the largest private collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts in the UK.

Enjoy a summer picnic on the south lawn or let the children run wild in the nearby play areas. Have a wander around the Japanese Garden, complete with authentic tea house or take a sheltered walk through the surrounding woodland. Restaurant on site.

Poole Museum &Scaplen´s Court in Old Poole offers interesting displays from around the area on archaeology to art, from pirates to potteries. Nearby is the Local History Centre, where residents and visitors can delve deeper into archives and resources covering the history of Poole and its people.

Phone:01202 262600

The Russell Cotes Museum is an art gallery and museum in Bournemouth, England. A Grade II* listed building originally known as East Cliff Hall, it is located next to the Royal Bath Hotel. Fabulous exhibitions and a busy event calendar makes this a truly special place to visit. Caféon site.

Phone:01202 451800

Wimborne Minster, Wimborne For over 1300 years the Minster has been a living centre for pilgrimage, prayer, mission and worship. Today that work continues, as its community extends a warm and inclusive welcome to all who come through its doors. The Minster is not a museum, although we have inherited some wonderful treasures from the past.


Bournemouth offers 2,000 acres of glorious gardens and parks just waiting to be explored. The gardens are split into three areas of Victorian beauty- starting with the Lower Gardens, adjacent to the sea and leading to the Central Gardens in the town centre, and then the Upper Gardens. The Upper, Central and Lower Gardens are maybe the most famous and retain much of their Victorian character and are Listed Grade II. You can take a walk from the seafront through these gardens for 1.5 miles and take in the many trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials from around the world, planted to provide interest throughout the year.

The Lower Gardens are renowned for their floral bedding displays throughout the year, designed to bring together brilliant colours, subtle textures, height variations and scent. The Lower Gardens play host to many events and attractions during the summer months including concerts at the Pine Walk Bandstand, the Aviary and the Pinewalk Art Exhibition. Pinewalk in the Lower Gardens was originally referred to as ‘Invalid’s Walk’by the Victorians when the aroma from the pine trees was considered beneficial for chest complaints.

Alum Chine boasts an award-winning tropical garden that was laid out with paths, borders and dry stonewalls in the 1920s to create a terrace garden overlooking the bay. There are now many unusual exotic plants in the gardens for people to discover and they also offer a viewing point for fabulous views of the Bay.

Take the land train from Bournemouth Pier to Boscombe Chine Gardens featuring children’s water play area, mini golf and café. While you are in the area, visit the Italianate Gardens just off Boscombe Cliff Road.

Boscombe Gardens has been restored with a £2million project bringing the gardens back to the best of its Victorian past. The Italianate Gardens at Boscombe are a secret hideaway and a beautiful setting next to the sea.

Coy Pond Gardens are Grade II* listed by English Heritage offering delightful coy pond, tree lines walked and idyllic picnic spaces. Weeping willow and some alder trees dominate the banks of the stream forming an almost continuous canopied corridor from Branksome Wood Road to the railway embankment.

The pond and its gardens is a popular destination with local people and is an ideal venue to have a picnic.

Compton Acres Gardens invites you to escape to a different world in the South's finest privately owned gardens.

From the authentic Japanese garden to the grandeur of the Italian, a visit to Compton Acres promises to surprise and delight. Also on offer is the Harbour view cafe, Compton Acres Cafe Tearooms, The Ark, Compton Acres Visitor Centre/Craft Shop and a well stocked Plant Centre.

So whether you wander through at leisure enjoying the horticultural excellence or visit the shops and cafes. Or just enjoy the spectacular view across Poole Harbour and beyond, you will experience a day to remember.

Phone:01202 700778

Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway - Beautiful 200-acre woodland gardens in the heart of the New Forest. Early spring camellias, magnolias and primroses give way to bluebells, azaleas and rhododendrons for which the Gardens are world-famous. The spectacle of the Azalea Bowl in May is not to be missed!

Summer months bring shady river walks, hydrangeas and exotic herbaceous borders before autumn arrives in a blaze of colour with waterside maples, sweet gums and dogwoods.

There is a steam railway, buggy service, Tea Rooms, Gift Shop and Plant Sales.

Phone:02380 899422

Minterne House Gardens were landscaped in the manner of Capability Brown in the 18th Century. The gardens are laid out in a horseshoe below Minterne House, with a chain of small lakes, waterfalls and streams. They contain a unique collection of Himalayan Rhododendrons and Azaleas, with Spring bulbs, Cherries, Maples and many rare trees;the garden is noted for its Autumn colouring.

Open daily between 14th February to 9th November 2015, between 10 am and 6 pm. Admission is £5.00, &there is a ticket kiosk at the entrance. Children under 12 are admitted free. Some paths are uneven and steep making access for wheelchairs difficult. There is free parking and picnic facilities available. Minterne House itself is NOT open to the public.

Rainy Day Activities

Bowlplex Indoor Bowling Enjoy a game or two of bowling at Bowlplex situated just outside of Bournemouth in Branksome, and with another site at Tower Park, Bowlplex is a great family attraction.

Phone:01202 765389

Bournemouth Oceanarium is an aquarium located on the seafront in Bournemouth 10 minutes from our door. It offers visitors a journey around the waters of the world together with a new for 2015 Penguin World where you can join in daily activities.

Phone:01202 311993

Bournemouth's 6D Cinema brings you the newest technology in Virtual Reality. Instead of watching a movie, you are part of it!

You feel what you see as entire Simulator Platform moves accordingly to what is happening on the screen as you watch any movies with interactive 3D glasses. At the same time over six different special effects, kick in that makes our movie experience even more “real”and exhilarating. The short movie rides takes around 8 intense minutes. Open for walk in sessions between 9:30 am –10 pm. Suitable for all ages and great fun for the entire family! Located in Post Office Road up from Bournemouth Square opposite Argos.

Phone:01202 280860

Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) on Bournemouth seafront is one of the primary venues for conferences, exhibitions, entertainment and events in southern England.

A day out that's great for 0-8 years - have an udderly fabulous time, rain or shine at Farmer Palmers Activity Farm 4 miles from Poole.

A successful blend of exciting indoor &outdoor play areas, superb interactive animal events, tractor rides and relaxing woodland walk. Catch the unique real cow milking demo or meet the original Farmer Palmer himself!

Phone:01202 622022

Poole is the home of the RNLI Headquarters and Training College where courageous lifesavers train for sea rescues.

This is a unique opportunity to take an RNLI Discovery Tour round this iconic building. See how the volunteer crews and lifeguards are trained with a behind-the-scenes 90minute tour - please note booking is essential.

After the tour enjoy a drink in the cafe bar or have a meal in the restaurant with great harbour views.

Phone:0870 8332000

Splashdown Water Park - Whatever the weather there is always fun to be had at Splashdown - The South's Ultimate Water Park!

Flumin' good fun for everyone! Sliders must be at least 1m tall and confident in water. Armbands may be worn. The deepest water is 2.0m.

Phone:01202 716000

The Royal Signals Museum located near Blandford just 25 minutes from Poole discover the fascinating story of how communications have evolved from waving flags to Satellite communications at The Royal Signals Museum.

Spies, Codes, Secret Agents and Electronic warfare. Experience interactive history, science and technology at the Royal Signals Museum, where heroes come to life.

Open Daily - plus weekends from February-October. Please bring ID.

Phone:01258 482248

The Tank Museum near Wool is another must do activity. The Tank Museum brings history to life, with the world's best collection of tanks, and explosive live displays.

See almost 300 vehicles as you explore the Museum's powerful exhibitions and see live displays of tanks in action. Restaurant on site. It's Tonnes of Fun at the Tank Museum!

Phone:01929 405096

The Ark - Great fun in the centre of Poole Park offering three levels of soft play with slides, tunnels and interactive zones (up to 11 yrs. old) and a dedicated toddlers' soft play area. There is an indoor ice rink for all ages and abilities together with a caféwith outdoor terrace overlooking Swan Lake.

Phone:01202 717197

Treehouse Family Play Centre - A vibrant, clean and safe children’s indoor play centre in Bournemouth. With a unique Woodland Adventure Climbing Frame to keep the active ones happy while the younger kids can use our baby indoor activities garden to explore. Parents and carers can try our delicious food and drinks while the kids learn and play.

Address:6 St Michaels Road, Bournemouth BH2 5PG
Phone:07570 990333

Tower Park Leisure Destination in Poole. One of the first complexes of its kind when opening in 1989, it still continues to attract thousands of people from throughout the area. It is home to the Empire Cinema complex, Splashdown Water Park, Bowlplex Bowling and heaps of restaurants catering for all tastes.

Leisure Activities

Adventure Wonderland Family Theme Park near Christchurch offers rides and attractions aimed at families with children up to the age of 12. Dorset’s award winning family theme park offers a full day’s fun, combining the outside park and rides with the indoor adventure play centre, Wild Thing!

Over 30 rides and attractions including new additions:Battle Boats Water Ride, Dragon’s Drop Megaslide and Cuddle Corner Farm with a new range of wonderful animals.

Phone:01202 483444

Altitude High Ropes Adventure Outdoor Aerial Adventure at Littledown Park is set at two different heights, with low ropes at 5 metres and high ropes at 10 metres for the more daring and adventurous. With additional features to try, including the Power Fan Descender, Zip Wire and Climbing Wall, there is something for all abilities whether you are 5 or 105!

Phone:01202 417600

Beaulieu National Motor Museum is an award winning day out with over 250 vehicles telling the story of motoring on our roads and racetracks. Re-live memorable challenges in World of Top Gear –and see exclusive behind-the-scenes footage featuring the stars.

Experience the Victorian splendour of Palace House as costumed guides give you a flavour of life `below stairs` or stroll through the gardens and explore the tranquil ruins of Beaulieu Abbey, which houses an exhibition on the Monks that lived and worked on this once bustling complex.

Ride the Monorail for sweeping views of the park, and uncover the secret role Beaulieu played during World War Two in the Secret Army Exhibition.

Phone:01590 612345

Bournemouth Aviation Museum is an aviation museum located next to Bournemouth International Airport. It houses some aircraft, aero engines, cockpits and a double-decker bus.

Phone:01202 473141

Everyone is welcome at Snowtrax Alpine Activity Centre from those wishing to improve their skiing skills to the outright novice looking for ski or snowboard lessons.

The family friendly centre is full of exciting activities for the kids. Try riding the Ski Bobs or spinning down the slopes in a Ringo. Your day won't be complete without a visit to the Alpine Adventure Park, full of trampolines, swings &a huge fort;it couldn't be more fun. Alpine restaurant on site.

Phone:01202 499155

Experience Bournemouth in a whole new way from the gondola of a giant balloon. Bournemouth Balloon in the Lower Gardens. Tethered by a steel cable, the Balloon will gently float 500 feet above the Lower Gardens where riders will be enchanted with a spectacular panoramic view of the English Channel and surrounding area for up to 20 miles from the highest public observation point in Bournemouth.

Children and adults alike will enjoy the breath-taking sights by day or our illuminated night time flights, which create a unique romantic atmosphere providing the perfect way to highlight your visit.

Open throughout the winter, subject to wind conditions.

Boscombe Bouldering - Free to use, these remarkable features on Boscombe Beach offer bouldering challenges with various routes to climb, up, down and traverse across.

Each boulder has been shaped to resemble stunning natural, local landmarks including Old Harry Rocks and Agglestone Rock.

Please see the health &safety guide displayed on site and ensure you have fun bouldering safely.

Go Ape Tree Top Adventure at Moors Valley Country Park - Live life more adventurously –unleash your inner Tarzan at Go Ape Moors Valley! Head into the forest and enjoy our Tree-Top Adventure or our Forest Segway safari. We also have Tree Top Junior for the junior Tarzans out there! With breath-taking scenery of the New Forest, epic challenges and hours of fun - Height and age restrictions apply.

Phone:0845 643 2035

Matchams Karting Bournemouth's Only Kart Circuit - Race on the 200cc Biz karts round the twists and turns of the fantastic Matchams Karting Circuit, long straights, fast corners and tight hairpin bends, at Matchams Karting they have it all.

This superb Karting venue is located a short 15-minute drive from Bournemouth town centre.

Phone:01425 480828

Moors Valley Country Park is situated in Ashley Heath 15 minutes from Bournemouth. Lots of play activities, cycle rides and cycle hire, visiting exhibitions and a popular forestry activity trail for all ages. Entrance by car park charge. Restaurant on site.

Phone:01425 470721

Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre - Near Wool. Enjoy a fun-filled, fascinating day out for all ages at Monkey World –Ape Rescue Centre!

The 65-acre park is home to the stars of TV’s ‘Monkey Life’and ‘Monkey Business’, and has been providing sanctuary for rescued and endangered primates from around the world since 1987! Monkey World includes a woodland walk, half-hourly keeper talks, cafes, a gift shop and several picnic and play areas.

Café’s serve good value hot and cold food or there are numerous picnic areas to be enjoyed throughout the park, plus a well-stocked gift shop. Monkey World also has excellent facilities for the physically impaired.

Phone:0800 456600

Paultons Family Theme Park is home to Peppa Pig World has over 60 wonderful rides and attractions included in the price. Peppa Pig World is a fully themed attraction with seven rides and an Indoor Play Area –it’s Peppa Pig’s very own theme park!

Offering something for all the family, the amazing variety of things to see and do at Paultons includes big rides, small rides, wet rides, gardens, birds and animals, all set within 140 acres of beautiful parkland on the edge of the beautiful New Forest National park.

Sherlock Homes is a new 4D Adventure film screens at the Show Street Cinema. Join Sherlock Holmes and his side-kick Dr Watson on a mystery comedy adventure through the misty streets of Victorian London. But remember, a range of special effects including wind, water and moving chairs will put you into the heart of the action!

Phone:023 8081 4455 (24 hour)

The PIERZIP Line on Bournemouth Pier is the world's first pier to shore zip wire experience with a launch tower towering high above the sea, giving an exhilarating “zip surf”over the waves to the beach.

It’s a dual line so you can “fly”with friends or family or dare we suggest “race”them to the beach?

Is it high? Yes, it is.
Is it fast? Indeed, it is.
Can you do it? Of course you can!

Golf Courses in the Bournemouth Area

Why not try out some of the many varied golf courses in and around Bournemouth. Suiting all budgets there is the prestigious Parkstone Golf Club, Meyrick Park's Championship 18 Hole Golf Course, which established in 1894, draws golfers from all over Europe due to its rich heritage and demanding test of golf, whilst the Isle of Purbeck course offers stunning views over Poole Harbour. Other courses of note include Moors Valley, Canford Magna and Highcliffe Castle.

Every one of these courses will appeal to discerning golfers and those who appreciate the spectacular countryside.

Broadstone Golf Club Set in the glorious Dorset countryside, Broadstone is one of the finest examples of an unspoilt heathland golf course in the South of England, and deservedly sits in the Top 100 golf courses in the UK, as judged by Golf World. Within 250 acres of rolling terrain, the fairways run freely and separately through superb natural heathland with its swathes of heather, pine, gorse and rhododendrons, several holes offer magnificent views.

Founded in 1898 and laid out by Tom Dunn, then redesigned in 1914 by the legendary H.S.Colt, Broadstone boasts a truly challenging layout, with a course that is a stunning and deceptively strong par 70, the quality of which continues to attract a host of top national amateur events


Canford Magna Golf Club Nestling in 350 acres of beautiful countryside, Canford Magna Golf Club is the largest golf complex in Dorset, providing 45 holes of challenging golf for the most discerning players. All three courses are built to championship specification with USGA greens. If you prefer to practice before your game the Golf Academy offers covered and outdoor practice facilities, the latest artificial practice green and computerised coaching systems.

Crane Valley Golf Club Two challenging golf courses await you at Crane Valley, set in 184 acres of beautiful countryside with the river Crane running through the centre of the course. The two golf courses offer both low and high handicappers an enjoyable and challenging round of golf. Designed by renowned golf architect Donald Steele in 1992, the open and undulating Valley course, is set across 6,412 yards with neatly placed bunkers and water hazards. Each hole is unique, offering a demanding, challenging and picturesque course.

Everyone is welcome at Dudsbury Golf Club Designed by Donald Steel, who provided the master plan for the modern St Andrews, this is a 6,904 yard par 71 championship golf course.

It has been the venue for many prestigious events, including the PGA Europro Tour as seen on Sky Sports and the BMW PGA Order of Merit Championship as well as the EGU McGregor Tournament.

The course is set in 160 acres of beautiful Dorset countryside rolling gently down to the River Stour. The greens have been constructed to USGA specification and are sand based, well drained and receptive. They are protected by large bunkers and water hazards. A feature hole is the 16th where the green is over two lakes:the more aggressive the drive the greater the reward.

Parkstone Golf Club . One of the best known and finest courses on the South Coast and ranked in the top 120 golf courses in the British Isles by Golf Monthly magazine.

A beautiful and mature heathland course with lakes, standings of mature pines and a wide variety of wildlife together with panoramic views over Poole Harbour to Brownsea Island and the coastal downs of the Isle of Purbeck. Set within a few minutes drive of Poole and Bournemouth town centres and beaches, Parkstone offers the best in both golf and hospitality. The course was designed in 1909 by Willie Park Junior, twice Open Champion in the 1880’s. The original layout was very different to the current one. In 1937 the course was substantially enlarged and redesigned by James Braid, the famous golf architect and five times Open Champion.

Purbeck Golf Club A visit here is a must for all golfers;the beginner is catered for on the 9 hole Dene course and the Purbeck Championship course proves an exciting test for even the most accomplished golfer. The Club dates back to 1892, and among the past owners, who were responsible for the extension to 27 holes, were Enid Blyton, the legendary writer of children’s books. The courses are built on heathland and are set within a nature reserve where many rare plants can be seen as well as rare birds. The restaurant has a well deserved reputation for excellent fare and very good value.