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Best of The Beach: Where to Stay in Bournemouth

Wondering where to stay in Bournemouth? From Sandbanks to Studland Bay, we’ve got you.


Brownsea Island, Bournemouth, UK

So a holiday in Bournemouth is it? Interesting choice my friend, very interesting. It’s not all bad; the food scene is on the up, the beaches stretch for seven miles and there are a handful of cultural establishments to keep you busy. It is also pretty well placed to visit some of the UK’s most glorious spots. Plum Guide has boldly gone head of you (we know, we’re too much) and found where to stay in Bournemouth to ensure your trip is filled with nothing but great memories. Enjoy the best the town has to offer before adventuring around the Jurassic Coast (i.e getting out of Bournemouth).


Isn’t it curious that a stretch of land reaching into the sea is called a spit? Think on that for a while. The people of Bournemouth loudly shout about Sandbanks being one of Britain’s greatest beaches. Don’t get too annoyed with the raised voices. The Blue Flag has been raised here for over 30 years thanks to its perfectly kept golden sands and breathtaking views of the coast. If you’re travelling with family there is a crazy golf course and play area to distract entertain them. Sundowners don’t get much better.

Beach in Bournemouth, England UK

Beach in Bournemouth, England UK


If you’re wondering where to stay in Bournemouth you can go too far wrong with Westbourne. A thriving shopping district and a lovely spot for a quiet stroll because of its chines - the dry, wooded gorges that lead right to the beach. What could be better? Mindless consumerism followed by a trip to the beach, lovely. The quaint Victorian shopping arcade of the same name is filled with artisan shops, vintage boutiques and independent shops to tempt. It’s a hop to Michelin-starred Arbor Restaurant for dinner.


Just two miles from the centre, the suburb of Boscombe is a good choice if you’re pondering on where to stay in Bournemouth. It’s well-known for the weekly market; head there for fresh fruits and vegetables and people watching. The beach, complete with a classic pier is a top spot for snorkelling and surfer spying. Boscombe Cliff Gardens merge into the Boscombe Overcliff Local Nature Reserve and makes for a bracing walk. Head to nearby Terroir Tapas for innovative tapas and a team taking sustainability very seriously.


Okay, not strictly in Bournemouth but these two are lumped together so often they’re practically the same. Poole boasts Europe’s largest natural harbour and has long been a holiday destination for beach lovers. The Old Town is a walk through Georgian architecture and a gentle ramble of its meandering alleyways is a delight. Check out our guide to Poole for more.

Sandbanks at Poole, Dorset, England

Sandbanks at Poole, Dorset, England

The Seafront

Waking up to the sounds of gently crashing waves, wafts of salty air and screeching seagulls. Annoying birds aside, if you want the full experience of an English seaside holiday you’re not going to get much better than right next to those golden sands. The beaches in Bournemouth are award-winning and people know about it, so a place to call home right next to it, like Plum Guide home Sand To Glass, ensures you’re the early bird who gets the best spot to lay their beach towel.

Sand to Glass, Plum Guide home in Dorset

Sand to Glass, Plum Guide home in Dorset

Brownsea Island

Hiking, picnics and red squirrel spotting is the order of the day on Brownsea Island. Home to Baden Powell’s original scout camps, they practically insist you wear a neckerchief when walking around. Incredible accessories aside, Brownsea Island is a beautiful nature reserve and is a lovely place to immerse yourself in nature. Pick yourself a quiet spot and look out for deer, herons, egrets and the lesser-spotted well-dressed tourist. Don’t forget your neckerchief.


If you love nature, walking, holidays and nature walking holidays and are wondering where to stay in Bournemouth look no further than Hengistbury. A prized nature reserve and a pebbly beach that you won’t hate just because you can’t lie down. Lie down anyway! You’re on holiday and it won’t be that uncomfy. (Lies). The views from Hengistbury Head stretch across to the New Forest, Isle of Wight and the Purbecks and hundreds of plant and bird species call it home. The extremely rare natterjack toad can also be sighted here. Wow.

Hengistbury Point, Bournemouth

Hengistbury Point, Bournemouth


If the seaside, the countryside and pretty towns are your favourite things, then Christchurch is a biscuit tin with all the chocolate ones. Heritage attractions, nature reserves and beaches are at the tips of your fingers and there’s barely a commute between them all. Find two delightful quays, a priory church and a big aviation museum.

Studland Bay

In a car it’s a 54-minute drive (when traffic is on your side) but if you get the ferry it magically transforms into a four-minute journey. What luck. And you get to go on a boat for that ultimate holiday experience; it feels like you're practically going to another country. Studland Bay is the perfect spot to frolic on the beach, foolishly attempt some water sports and eat fish and chips.

There you go! Not a bad list of where to stay in Bournemouth. If you’ve still got an appetite for adventure once you’ve explored the great and good of Bournemouth, there are quite a few places to visit in Dorset too.

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