Playing in Bournemouth
For us, Bournemouth is easily a day trip at only an hour and half away. In fact, we will often get up on a nice day and decide last minute to drive down to the beach there. I had thought about spending a night or two there this summer because I love being by the ocean but I may never have done it if it wasn’t for my daughter. Leandra enrolled in a makeup artistry course that was only offered in cities that were not Swindon and the soonest one she could get into was in Bournemouth. After paying for the course she was worried about paying for her accommodations for the week as well and so we took pity on her and decided to turn it into a family getaway of sorts also. And so we found ourselves in the sea side city with days to kill and not the best weather to just lay by the water all week. It did give us the opportunity to explore the area in a way that we hadn’t done before and find out what you do there when it is pouring rain.
This was possibly the day we had the nicest weather and we didn’t want to waste it so pretty much as soon as we dropped my daughter off we headed to the sea. We spent a good portion of the day wandering through the parks of the city as well which were lush, filled with flowers, and stretched for a long while through the area. I am a tiny bit embarrassed to admit that despite having been to Bournemouth many times we had never explored any of the parks it offers and there are several. Of course we also fell into the totally touristy areas around the pier as well and this is also where we stopped at the tourist information centre to collect ideas of things to do later in the week. My son was anxious to get into the water as well. It was pretty cold if I am being honest but he happily waded for much longer then I lasted. The ocean is completely my calm happy place so even if the water is too chilly to swim in I can waste many many hours watching the tide and listening to the music it makes as it burbles in and out. If there is warm sun and soft sand you may never get me off the beach. In fact after we picked my daughter up I insisted we come back to the ocean and have a picnic. The great thing about being here on a weekday as apposed to a Saturday is that we did not have to fight crowds and always found a spot to ourselves.
We had another mostly sunny day and decided that it would be a good chance to explore a little further away. We took a four minute ferry (No joke, four minutes. It took longer to load the cars than the trip across) to the Swanage area. We started by first heading up to Corfe castle. Parking can be a bit of a challenge right by the castle so we opted to park further out and walk in to the castle and surrounding village. In the end we decided not to pay to go into the castle as we had seen a lot of it on our walk up and there was plenty to explore on the walk to and from the car. On our way back to Swanage, where we would catch the return ferry, we stopped into Durlston Country Park and I have to say the view alone was worth the visit. I highly recommend it if you happen to be near by. There are multiple trails to hike all along the ocean front as well as a lighthouse to tour and a ocean view cafe to take a break at. Honestly the coastal view took my breath away.
There is a haunting beauty to the ocean in stormy weather and it is lucky that I can see it that way because it was very stormy on this day of our holiday. I mean, it poured from early in the day until long after we had gone to bed. Outdoor activities were out of the question so we headed to the Russel-Cotes museum in Bournemouth. The impressive home turned gallery sits right on the cliffs overlooking the sea and the ornate details inside will not fail to astound. The opulence of the place is likely to leave you feeling a little humble but with its many rooms of art and history it is actually well worth the trip. By the time we left the museum the rain was so heavy that even the short walk back to the car left us drenched, which to me obviously meant an afternoon at the mall.
When we woke on this day it seemed like the worst of the rain had passed and we took a chance with the greyish skies and went to check out the farmers market I had found some information on. It has apparently run for years, the longest running market in Bournemouth, every Thursday and Saturday but I honestly don’t know how. We agreed it had to be the world’s worst farmers market in the most run down shopping district of Bournemouth. We couldn’t even find a place to grab lunch in the area. The skies took a turn again and we found ourselves hunting for more indoor activities and we came across the Oasis centre that offers bowling, mini golf, arcade games and an American styled diner. We were not the only people that had this idea unfortunately and we would have had to wait hours to bowl and so we opted to golf instead. I am possibly worse at mini golf than I am at bowling and I don’t think I have laughed that hard in months. My son wanted to try some of the arcade games and so I followed my husband and him around as they tried their hands at the various games. Once they discovered a Deal or no Deal arcade game though they really started to collect the tickets. When I finally convinced them I was ready to go they had accumulated 575 tickets which I think was the best my son had ever done at one of these places. He used every one of them to get himself a slinky, a rubber ball, some erasers, and three little packs of jelly beans. I didn’t bother pointing out too much that we could have gone to an ASDA and got all these things for a fraction of the cost of plugging coins into the arcade games.
The last morning we were here I had the privilege of being my daughter’s model for her final project. I was blown away by how amazing she is and wasn’t even that bothered by the fact that it was another gorgeous day and my husband and son got to go back to the beach to play.
Even with all the extra time we had exploring the area I still feel like I had more things on my list to see so maybe I’ll plan another getaway there soon. I would love to hear about your favourite trip, I am always on the hunt for new ideas.