Everything you need to know when you visit Bournemouth


Bournemouth attractions

So, you want to know what to do in Bournemouth? Our expert team have put together this Bournemouth guide for you, so let’s explore!

There are many things to do in Dorset as a whole, and Bournemouth is a great choice of base if you feel like exploring a little further afield.

From rugged and fascinating walks along the Jurassic Coast to enjoying an ice cream or two along the pier, Bournemouth doesn’t disappoint, no matter what your age. Why not hire a car or even rent a bicycle and head off on your own steam for a few hours?

Choosing somewhere comfortable and cosy to rest your head after a day’s exploring is a must and you’re more than covered with the beautiful Connaught Hotel and Spa.

With tastefully decorated and comfortable rooms, an award-winning brasserie, gin bar and indoor swimming pool, our hotel is perfect for chilling out after a long day’s exploring.

Things to do in Bournemouth with kids

When you have children in tow, it’s always a good idea to look for activities which allow them to roam free and let off a little steam! This always works for a better night’s sleep for all involved and a little relaxation time for the parents. So, what things can you do in Bournemouth with kids?

Explore the beauty of the New Forest

20 minute drive from The Connaught Hotel and Spa

New Forest
The New Forest is the ideal place to go for fresh air and exploring the wonder of nature. From stunningly beautiful woodlands teeming with wildlife, including deer, donkeys, cattle and ponies, to sweeping clifftop vistas and wild moorlands.

The New Forest is one of the country’s gems, let alone one of Dorset’s! Hire a bike and head off to explore or simply walk and wander, stopping at one of the many small villages for a bite to eat. It’s the ideal family day out.


Spend a day on one of the many Bournemouth beaches

2 minute walk from The Connaught Hotel and Spa

One of the most popular Bournemouth attractions have to be the many sandy beaches around the area, and the best news is that they’re all free to visit! Ideal when you’re looking for things to do with kids while trying to keep costs down. All you need is an ice cream and a few soft drinks for a fun-filled day out.

Many beaches around the Bournemouth area have the Blue Flag award, including Alum Chine Beach, Durley Chine, Fisherman’s Walk Beach, Southbourne Beach, Branksome Chine, Canford Cliffs, Manor Steps, Shore Road, and Sandbanks.

Any one of these guarantees a fantastic day out with the kids! They’ll especially love Alum Chine Beach as there’s a pirate-themed playground here, or head to the crazy golf course at the top of Southbourne Beach.


Explore the depths at the Oceanarium

10 minute walk from The Connaught Hotel and Spa

If you’re wondering what to do in Bournemouth when the kids want to roam free, how about a day at the Oceanarium? Every child loves to explore what lies beneath the ocean’s surface and here they’ll come face to face with jellyfish, clownfish, turtles, stingrays and even crocodiles.

The adorable family of otters which live here will certainly be a hit with the kids, and probably the adults too!

The feeding talks are excellent so we recommend timing your day around them – check out the website for the times ahead of your visit. Grab a bite to eat at the on-site cafe and perhaps a few souvenirs at the gift shop.

Bournemouth kids’ attractions don’t get much better than the Oceanarium!

What to do in Bournemouth when it’s raining

If you’re looking for things to do in Bournemouth when it’s raining, there’s no need to panic as there are so many choices! There are plenty of indoor places to visit when the rain sets in, keeping you cosy and warm despite the weather.

Spend the day at The Connaught Hotel’s Spa

Bluewater Spa
If the weather takes a turn for the worse you can easily take refuge in a little slice of heaven, right underneath your nose! Our hotel’s luxury Bluewater Spa is the perfect place to forget about the rain and enjoy total rest and relaxation.

Why not treat yourself to a treatment or two? Grab some exercise in the gym or pool, or simply enjoy complete chill out time in our jacuzzi, sauna or steam room. By the time you’ve emerged you’ll be so carefree you won’t mind what the weather is doing!


Enjoy good old-fashioned seaside fun at Happyland Amusements

9 minute walk from The Connaught Hotel and Spa

Whether you’re with the kids or not, the perfect way to remember your youth and enjoy an hour or two sheltered from the rain is to head to West Cliff’s Happyland Amusements. Think slot machines, plenty of neon-lit fun, cuddly toy grabber machines, and the scent of candy floss in the air.

This is surely one of the most fun things to do in Bournemouth!

If you do have small kids with you when the weather takes a turn, this amusement park has plenty of rides for all ages, as well as games everyone can play, such as air hockey, shooting games, and one arm bandits. You might not want to leave even when the rain stops!


Learn something new in the Science Zone, Boscombe

10 minute drive from The Connaught Hotel and Spa

You don’t have to be travelling with children to have an educational hour or two, and on a rainy day, head to the Science Zone in Boscombe for a sheltered yet fun time. Packed with interactive fun, shows, experiments and even dinosaurs, anyone with a mind of curiosity will enjoy their time here.

It’s located in the Royal Arcade so you can easily have a walk around there when you’ve decided you’ve had enough science for one day!

Romantic things to do in Bournemouth

If you’re planning a romantic getaway for you and your loved one, Bournemouth is the perfect place to visit. Not only do you have plenty of evening entertainment to choose from, but you won’t be short of Bournemouth sightseeing opportunities during the day either.

Soar high on the Bournemouth Big Wheel

10 minute walk from The Connaught Hotel and Spa

Bournemouth Wheel
Located right next to Bournemouth Pier, the Bournemouth Big Wheel is a great way to enjoy some stunning views of the seafront.

The Bournemouth Big Wheel replaced the Bournemouth Balloon (also known as the Bournemouth Eye), which was a popular attraction in Lower Gardens. Enjoying this experience with someone special is the ultimate in romance.


Enjoy a couple’s spa day

The Connaught Hotel’s luxury spa is the ideal place to enjoy a little R&R as a couple. Why not get a couple’s massage, maybe a treatment together, or simply chill out in the swimming pool. We have several spa day packages available which will certainly cast your cares away with ease!

Afterwards why not head down to the restaurant and enjoy our famous afternoon tea with a glass of bubbly. Bliss!


Explore the magic of Bournemouth Lower Gardens

15 minute walk from The Connaught Hotel and Spa

A hand-in-hand walk through the beautiful Lower Gardens is the ideal way to spend a morning or afternoon. Part of an English Heritage listed area, the Lower Gardens are packed with idyllic flora and fauna and a chilled out feeling in the air.

If you want to up the ante in terms of fun, challenge each other on the mini golf course or try some of the street food on offer. What better way to spend your time together?

Things to do in Bournemouth at night

If you’re ready to get dressed up and hit the town, Bournemouth has some vibrant nightlife on offer! Whatever you feel like doing, you’ll find something to suit your tastes – from shows to cocktail bars, clubs to coffee shops. Here’s our top pick of things to do in Bournemouth at night.

Sample over 60 varieties of gin at our gin bar

You don’t have to venture too far for a great night out, as The Connaught Hotel and Spa Bournemouth has an on-site gin bar to tempt you! You don’t even need to be a hotel guest as we also welcome local residents or anyone just visiting Bournemouth.

We have various offers on throughout the week, so you can sample as many different types of this eclectic drink as you can handle, all within the cosy and inviting atmosphere of our hotel.

And if you’re staying at our hotel you can drink away safely in the knowledge that you only have to stagger up to your room when your night is over!


Catch a show at the Pavilion Theatre or BIC

5-10 minute walk from The Connaught Hotel and Spa

If you’re keen to watch one of the biggest names in entertainment, the Pavilion Theatre and Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) are the places to head to. Packed with different shows throughout the year, head online to check out the roster for the time you’re visiting.

To give you an idea of headliners, we’ve previously seen the likes of Jack Whitehall, Jools Holland and the West End version of Aladdin.

If you’re looking for hotels near BIC Bournemouth or the Pavilion Theatre, The Connaught Hotel and Spa is perfect as we’re just a short walk away from both venues.


Dance the night away at Madding Crowd

9 minute walk from The Connaught Hotel and Spa

The latest live music venue to hit Bournemouth is Madding Crowd, with shows from every type of musical genre you can imagine.

If you love live gigs and you have an eclectic taste in music, you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy. And there are fantastic street food menus on offer all night too, so you can really make a night of it.

Free things to do in Bournemouth

If you’re looking for things to do in Bournemouth and Poole that aren’t going to break the bank, the good news is that there is plenty to choose from. The natural beauty around the area means that walking in itself is a treat, but here’s a few more ideas of fun, free things to do in Bournemouth.

Explore the history of Wimborne Minster

30 minute drive from The Connaught Hotel and Spa

Wimborne is a small Dorset town which is one of the best things to do near Bournemouth if you want to get away to enjoy some peace and serenity. If you’re visiting on a weekend you’ll get to see the town crier in the town’s square, but exploring Wimborne Minster itself is a real treat.

Dating back to Saxon times, the church has wonderful architecture and also houses the tombs of many important figures in history such as King Ethelred and Alfred The Great’s brother.


Blow the cobwebs away on Boscombe Pier

10 minute drive from The Connaught Hotel and Spa

This is no ordinary pier! As you walk along Boscombe Pier, you’ll see countless musical instruments along the way, which you can play and make a tune with!

This musical pier is the perfect way to spend an hour without breaking the bank and you can watch the surfers or simply people-watch the day away.

If you don’t mind spending a few pounds, try the mini golf, as the balls are made of fish-friendly food so they’ll get a treat when you hit one into the sea! What a fantastic idea!


Enjoy a free walk along the Boscombe Arts Trail

10 minute drive from The Connaught Hotel and Spa

From Boscombe High Street all the way down to the seafront you can walk and enjoy the fresh air and the scenery of the Boscombe Arts Trail.

In 2010 this free walk was introduced which follows a route of works of art along the way. Check out the giant octopus or the huge marble inside a bench as you go.

Andy Kirkby, a local artist, is responsible for this quirky free activity, which will take you around half an hour to enjoy at a leisurely pace.

Where will you visit first?

As you can see, our list of the best things to do in Bournemouth is pretty long! From history to nature, free fun to nights out, you’ll certainly find something to fill your time.

At the end of those long days, returning to your temporary home in The Connaught Hotel and Spa will mean a comfortable evening and a good night’s sleep. Check out our photo gallery, then browse through our range of rooms and suites to find your perfect daily retreat.

We guarantee that that’ll you return home after your break well-rested, and with fantastic memories of Bournemouth.