My Top 5 #hiddengems for Bournemouth

Travelodge got in touch this week to ask for my Bournemouth #hiddengems – and although I travel the world pretty much non-stop there really is no place like home. I live slightly outside of Bournemouth, in Poole, so was thrilled to share with you guys some ‘must see’ places for your next visit.

Being a Tourist – The Hot Air Balloon

I know this is kind of overpriced and cheesy (£12.50 adults, £9.50 students) but I really enjoyed going up in the hot air balloon in Bournemouth gardens. My boyfriend and I did it for our anniversary and you get fabulous views and a little voiceover about everything you can see. The gardens are also a lovely place to sit, have a picnic, and do some people watching. I’d highly recommend spending a sunny afternoon here and soaking up the atmosphere.

balloon grounded

Unusual Entertainment

Cyantist – If you’re anything like me you’re always looking for something a bit different to do on holiday, so this is perfect for you. The concept is called ‘Live Escape‘ and basically your team is locked in a room full of clues and you have to puzzle your way out – e.g. there’s a map hidden inside a book that tells you where the first key is etc. I’ve done one like this before in London and it’s always great fun. Ideal for mixed groups, and your team can be anything between 2 and 6 people. For this you need to book online as they open on demand, but I’d highly recommend it.

Sixty Million Postcards – If you’re around on a Sunday night I’d also recommend the Sixty Million Postcards pub quiz – this place is worth a look regardless as it’s so hipster it’ll make your beard curl, and does super tasty fried food. But… on a Sunday night they do an epic pub quiz. It’s all on your mobile so is very quick fire, and entirely cheat proof. If you don’t know the capital of Estonia, but are a wizz at recognising Beyonce songs from the first note this quiz is for you. Starts at 9pm but get there at least by 8 to bag a table and enjoy 2 for 1 desserts. Disclaimer – not for those sensitive to bad language!

Sunbathe Like a Local

As a local we NEVER sit directly on Bournemouth beach (by the Pier) – it’ll be packed with people, and sadly you’re likely to see quite a bit of litter too. Walk 100m in either direction along the beach and you’ll find yourself with blissful space and gorgeous pure sands. Be sure to look out for the pastel rainbow of painted beachhuts too – great for a selfie!

Beach Huts in Bournemouth, England - June 2011

Shopaholics Anonymous

Of course I couldn’t do a local blog post without mentioning some shopping hot spots. Bournemouth town centre has a huge selection of high street shops (Topshop, Monsoon etc) but if you want to find second hand you’ll need to go a bit further afield. Buses (specifically the M2 bus if you’re interested) go directly from Bournemouth bus rank every few minutes to Ashley Road and Poole (my favourite charity shop haunts). Bournemouth Vintage Emporium is great too if you’re looking for some authentic vintage clothing and furniture, as well as a gorgeous coffee shop. Click the links to read my detailed reviews of everywhere mentioned. Of course I’ll be happy to show you around the top thrifting spots if you’re ever in town – so just drop me an email!


The Best Food in Town

Finally, when you’re all worn out from shopping, beach selfies and a puzzle solving, you’ll need some great places to eat! Both my top tips for dinner are pizza, but man are they good! First up is Da Mario’s – this is run by an authentic Italian family so you’ll often see their daughter toddling around, and although it’s recently expanded due to popularity, you’ll still be in store for an incredible pizza. But… if they’re fully booked try Bournemouth Pizza Company which is right by the train station so very easy to get to. Also delicious, affordable, and very authentic.

After those you’ll want to head to Sprinkles (on your way back into town from BPC) for a waffle/ice cream bigger than your head, and Aruba for overpriced but tasty cocktails with a view over the ocean (right on Bournemouth pier).

Where to stay – Travelodge

Travelodge have 4 hotels in the Bournemouth area so you can access everywhere you’ll want to explore easily.

Choose from: Travelodge Bournemouth Seafront HotelTravelodge Bournemouth HotelTravelodge Bournemouth Cooper Dean Hotel and Travelodge Christchurch Hotel.

Enjoy your stay!

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    • paupertoprincess September 5, 2015 / 6:59 PM

      You must go Hannah – it’s fab! Amazing for homeward too.

  1. Sarah DiPaola November 21, 2016 / 10:27 AM

    Heading to Bournemouth in a day or so. Wanting to do some thrifting . My sister is from Chicago & I am from San Antonio Texas. We both have shops & resell vintage goods. Would love to find some treasures!!! Advice appreciated!


    • paupertoprincess November 21, 2016 / 1:28 PM

      Oh exciting! Wish I was in the country so I could host you!! Definitely check out Bournemouth Vintage Emporium (for browsing probably not buying)
      Then there are lovely charity shop in Westborne, super cheap (my fav) ones all along Ashley Road (Parkstone), and quite a few retro-y ones on Boscombe highstreet. Personally my favourites are Ashley Road, and Poole High Street because they’re the cheapest, but they take a lot more effort. Sounds like you’ll be up for that though! Do let me know how it goes 😀

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