9 things to see in Bournemouth that aren't beaches

Everyone knows Bournemouth  for its seven mile stretch of beautiful beaches, but this seaside town has so much more to offer than just its coastline. Situated along the southern coast of England, it is home to some incredible Victorian architecture, vibrant natural wonders and a nightlife like no other. Throw out the flip-flops, leave the sunscreen at home, venture inland and get ready to have a ball with our list of the best places to visit in Bournemouth … 

1. Highcliffe Castle

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Take a day trip to visit this grade one listed cliff top mansion with stunning views over-looking the Isle of Wight. Built in 1830 by Lord Stuart de Rothesay, it is nestled on the border between Dorset and Hampshire. Board a bus in Bournemouth and spend the day exploring the castle and its gardens and stop off for a spot of tea in the Castle Kitchen before heading home. 

2. Bournemouth Central Gardens

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Extending from the town centre to the Coy pond, the Central Gardens are the perfect place to take a leisurely stroll and escape the bustle of the urban town. A development from the Victorian era, these gardens contain yards of history with most of the trees dating back 100 years. Play some tennis, follow the trails through the Rhododendron walk, leave the kids to play in the playground and visit the rose bordered war memorial. 

3. Compton Acres

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Another one that requires a small bit of travel but is well worth it, is Poole’s award winning Compton Acres. Spanning over ten acres of themed ornamental gardens, this location will blow you away with its array of exotic flora, water features and sublime statues. Hop on the Purbeck Breezer open top bus route 50 in Bournemouth and head to the Dorset heathland where you’ll be basking in the natural beauty in no time at all!

4. The Triangle


A mere five minute walk from both the beach and the town centre, The Triangle is Bournemouth’s hipster haven and the place to be. Hit up this quirky hub for food, drink, live music, nightlife, arts and culture. With endless amounts of choice, this is the spot to fulfil all your café culture fantasies. Top of the list are Flirt and Frieda’s Tearoom. Later, have a wild night out at loft bar and nightclub, Canvas. 

5. Russell – Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

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As one of the last Victorian homes to be built in England, Russell – Cotes House is now open to the public as a museum, garden and gallery. Formerly the home of two Victorian travel enthusiasts, the establishment regularly organises exhibitions displaying artefacts from the personal collection of the Russell – Cotes.  Also boasting a cliff-top garden and chic café, this attraction has been labelled one of England’s most charming houses and is definitely one to add to the list of things to see in Bournemouth!   

6. Shopaholic Central

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Let’s face it, we all like to do a spot of shopping whilst on holiday. Lucky for you Bournemouth has lots of places to splash the cash including the UK’s largest shopping park at Castlepoint. Venture into the town centre for pedestrianised outdoor shopping streets and wander over to ‘Bournemouth’s Bond Street’, Westover Road, to shop designer deals. 

7. Escape Rooms

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For some reason, Bournemouth has a real thing for escape rooms, with tons of them popping up all over the area. We’re not complaining though, as these eccentric pursuits are the perfect way to kill some time or spend a rainy day. Try out the trend with local favourite, The MacGuffin Project, where players are trapped in an old world Victorian  carnival and have to solve puzzles to uncover the mystery. With its central location, celebrate your escape by continuing the fun and plan a night out in one of the town’s lively clubs. 

8. The Gallery at the Arts University Bournemouth

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This major centre for contemporary art and design is constantly putting on exhibitions completely free of charge. Open since the 1990s, The Gallery features a range of styles from fine art to sculpture, film, photography and drawing and should definitely be added to your list of places to see in Bournemouth if you have any gaps in your schedule.  

9. The Pier

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So technically this is somewhat a beach feature, but you honestly can’t visit this seaside town without taking a trip down it’s vibrant pier. Bursting with restaurants, cafes, shops,  amusements and the one and only Pier-to-Shore zipwire, prepare for a sensory overload. Head to Pier Amusements at the entrance to the boardwalk and try your hand at the claw machine or dive into Oceanarium to play with the penguins. 

Planning a trip to the coast soon? Be sure to follow our guide of places to visit in Bournemouth and tag us in your photos using the hashtag #ryanairstories frot he chance to be featured on Ryainair’s Instagram feed.


Flights to Bournemouth


- Lucy Norris