Sunday 30 August 2015

#HiddenGems - Bournemouth and Beyond

I have written about Dorset lots on this blog recently - I might be biased but I think it's one of the most beautiful places in the UK! There is so much to do here - festivals, clean sandy beaches, amazing play areas, stunning scenery. There are hundreds of hotels to choose from - Bournemouth has 4 Travelodge's alone! What could be better than waking up with a sea view?!

You may have heard of the more famous attractions in Dorset, but here's my pick of the #hiddengems of Bournemouth and beyond...

Boscombe Chine Gardens

Located just a few minutes walk from Boscombe Pier, Boscombe Chine Gardens provides a welcome change from the hustle and bustle of the beachfront. There is a great play area for kids which includes an interactive water feature and mini golf for the budding Tiger Woods. The best part of the gardens though is The Clock Cafe - homemade cakes, fresh coffee, amazing roasts on a Sunday and best of all they are child friendly!

Bournemouth Coast Path

You may have visited the beautiful beaches in Bournemouth but I bet you didn't know that you can walk from Sandbanks in Poole right along the coast to Milford-on-Sea. At 20 miles long its more than a little stroll but there are a few pubs along the way to keep you watered!

Bournemouth Flying Club Cafe

We discovered this hidden gem a few months ago and couldn't believe it had taken us so long! The Bournemouth Flying Club is located right next to Bournemouth Airport (funny that!) and they have a lovely little cafe which overlooks the runways. The best part is there is plenty of outside seating so you can grab a slice of cake and coffee and watch the planes take off/land! Brilliant for kids as you are SO close to the runways - and even better when you see the Red Arrows take off like we did! 

Canford Cliffs Village

Located a stones throw from Sandbanks, this is one of the more affluent areas of town. There's some great places to eat and my favourite bakery Oxfords. This is the third time I've mentioned cakes in this list but they do THE BEST belgian buns!! We love to park up on the clifftop (with our belgian buns..!) and admire the stunning views. You can see all the way up to Hengisbury Head and over to the Isle of Wight and in the other direction are the rolling hills of the Purbecks. 

Alum Chine Beach

Bournemouth Beach can get really overcrowded during the Summer so it's well worth travelling a few minutes down the road to Alum Chine instead. There is plenty to do for all ages including a Treasure Island themed playground, cafes, tropical gardens, paddling pool and bowls. 


Head east from Bournemouth and you will find the busy town of Christchurch, a popular tourist destination which attracts 1.5 million visitors every year. Walk along the Quay, feed the swans (although be careful if you're the only people there - you'll get swarmed by hungry swans which isn't fun with a screaming toddler!!), take the ferry to Mudeford, get wet in Quomps Splashpark and visit the beautiful Priory. And if you like chocolate brownies then a visit to Cheese & Alfie's cafe is a must! 

Checking out the Priory....just before the swans scared him!

Moors Valley Country Park 

We love this place and I'd highly recommend a visit if you have children. Various paths stretch out across the forest and kids will love the wooden climbing frames along the play trail...look out for the snakes! You can hire bikes and segways, play a round of golf, take the Treetop trail, ride on the steam train, swing through the trees at Go-Ape and wear the kids out in the adventure playground. You might even spot the Gruffalo!

Hamworthy Park

I have been visiting this park for as long as I can remember and its now one of Elliot's favourite places to visit. Located just outside of Poole town centre, the park has a large paddling pool which is very very popular with the kids in the Summer months. The water is always freezing but they don't seem to care do they! There is a big play area including slides, swings and climbing frames for the little ones. What's great is that the play area and the paddling pool is all enclosed so it's very safe, plus no dogs are allowed. If all this wasn't enough to keep the kids occupied then there is also the beach - not a massive beach but still perfect for sandcastle building and paddling. Lots of people bring picnics and use one of the many picnic tables and benches but there is also a great little cafe which serves hot and cold food, and most importantly sells ice creams! 

Have you visited Dorset? Have you managed to visit any of these hidden gems?

*This post was written in collaboration with Travelodge
Mami 2 FiveYou Baby Me Mummy


  1. Moors Valley is great so much to do across so many ages. We normally park at Potterne and walk save on expensive parking. I love Hamworthy park too x

  2. We love Moores Valley here at Mum in the Cotswolds!! I definitely agree with you Bournemouth is one of the most beautiful places, but I suppose I'm biased too as used to live nearby when I was growing up. x

  3. We've never been to Bournemouth - it looks beautiful! Will definitely remember and call on this post if we pay it a visit!

  4. I'm heading to Bournemouth today and will be sure to use this as my guide. Couldn't have come at a better time, thanks :)

  5. I'm heading to Bournemouth today and will be sure to use this as my guide. Couldn't have come at a better time, thanks :)

  6. Aww what a lovely place and now I want to go! I always love runways so that runway cafe would be nice to visit! #TwinklyTuesday

  7. Some great ideas here. We always enjoy Moors Valley Country Park as it's closer to us and quite easy for a day trip but I'll have to check out some of your other suggestions too!

  8. I went to bournemouth years ago but I can't even remember where we went! I do love it down there though and you have featured so many beautiful places on here that look great to visit :) Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday


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