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Bournemouth City Guide

Bournemouth Guide For Students

Bournemouth, in the county of Dorset, is a long-established tourist destination and as Britain's premier seaside holiday resort, attracts visitors from all over the UK and beyond.

The one time sleepy town with a reputation as a genteel place to retire next to the sea is now one of Britain’s most vibrant cosmopolitan coastal spots and has been billed as “Britain's coolest city” by Harpers & Queen and The Times described Bournemouth as ‘one of the liveliest places in Britain’.

Bournemouth is situated on the south coast of England and is less than two hours from London. With a population of just over 163,000, it is large enough to have all the facilities of a big town but small enough that you never feel lost, and with over 15,000 students enrolled at Bournemouth uni, you'll have lots of like minded new friends to make.


Bournemouth’s seven miles of safe, sun-kissed beaches are perfect if you dream about long, lazy days by the sea.  It has some of the best beaches in the UK and has won numerous prestigious awards including the European Blue Flag Awards. On some beaches you can enjoy different water sports or maybe a game of volleyball in one of the Game Zones.


With 2,000 acres of award-winning parks and gardens, you can always find somewhere to sit and read a book or newspaper, or even study. In the town gardens, you can take a flight on the Bournemouth Eye tethered balloon, which on a clear day gives you views of the English Channel and surrounding area for up to 35 kilometres. As well as the traditional English pier, there is also an Oceanarium and a funfair.


Bournemouth is on the tour circuit for many top bands and international DJ’s and with a late night capacity of over 20,000, the numerous clubs and bars cater for every musical taste from jazz to R’n’B. There are pubs and bars galore in Bournemouth - so you won't be disappointed.


If you are more of a culture fan, the Russell Cotes Art Gallery and Museum has a vast collection of artefacts and paintings and also has stunning sea views.


The Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) is one of the most prestigious venues for entertainment and leisure activities.  They offer such diverse shows and artists from

Madame Butterfly, The Sleeping Beauty ballet to Missy Elliott, Pink and Kasabian. Culture both classic and new!


In nearby Poole, the Lighthouse, one of the largest Arts complexes outside London, is famous for its wide variety of shows, concerts, films and exhibitions.


The shopper is also well catered for in Bournemouth. High street favourites exist alongside independent stores and cute boutiques. There is also a large shopping centre called Castlepoint, just outside the town that offers a wide range of retail experiences including the biggest Marks and Spencer’s and Next in the region.


Fast Facts


  • On a hot sunny Sunday – Bournemouth can have up to 100,000 people on the beaches and in the town and 90,000 ice creams are on sale on the warmest days.
  • Bournemouth has 5.2 million visitors a year and tourism generates around £370 million annually.
  • The simulator ride on the seafront notched up 600 performances during a busy weekend. 
  • Special events include the Bournemouth Live! Music Festival, Rallye Sunseeker Car Rally along the seafront and through the town
  • The wild and desolate heathland between Poole and Christchurch was once rife with smuggling, and local stories tell of forgotten hiding places, bribery and contraband.
  • Mary Shelley – authoress of Frankenstein is buried in St. Peters Church in the heart of Bournemouth.
  • Nightclub Elements and Circo –was allegedly the place which inspired Craig David's '7 days' – (when the club used to be called Zoo and Cage).

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