It was the boyfriend’s birthday so we both decided to take the day off work and go on a little adventure to Bournemouth seaside. It was a bit too cold to build sandcastles brrrr but we hopped on a train anyway. For me there’s something quite special about being by the sea. I find that the fresh air, rolling tide and sea breeze lifts my mood. Does anyone else find that? It just makes me happy.
In this blog post you’ll find my top 3 recommended activities for a day in Bournemouth rain or shine and some British seaside vegan food recommendations.
Bournemouth is a seaside resort on the south coast of England that boasts seven miles of beautiful sandy beaches. The beach is fairly wide with fine sand that moulds around your toes as you walk along. In summer I can imagine stretching out on a towel and relaxing here with a book in hand and picnic in tow. It would be perfection.
You’ll also notice a lot of Victorian and Art Deco architecture, which gives the place a quaint feel. We noticed that a number of hotels and restaurants had maintained this style alongside shops like House of Fraser.
For food there’s a real mix of independent restaurants and chains. I even noticed a number of vegan friendly restaurants including a Dosa House and a Mexican, although having looked on Google there were plenty more.
How to get to Bournemouth
You can easily get to Bournemouth by train. From London it takes roughly 2 hours. Alternatively, you can get a bus from London Victoria Station, which takes just over 2 hours and is a fraction of the price of a train ticket.
Once you’re at the station you have about a 30 minute walk to the seafront, however, you will go past the shops, restaurants and gardens on your way down making it a really pleasant walk.
Top 3 things to do in Bournemouth
If you’re visiting Bournemouth for the day, then these are the top 3 things that I’d recommend aside from eating. You have to treat yourself at the seaside right!?
- Visit Bournemouth Pier
- Go to the arcades
- Beach walk to Hengistbury Head
You can’t go to the seaside without walking along the Pier and Bournemouth Pier is lovely. You’ll need to pay an entrance fee of £1.20 per adult but you’ll get great views of the coastline making the small fee worth it. With the sea breeze whipping your hair and the sea spray dusting your face, you’ll feel completely refreshed and at ease.
OK, so I have a slight confession…some people have a gambling addiction and I have a 2p machine addiction. I like the challenge of how long you can make a £1 bag of 2ps last and I get a strange sense of satisfaction when a toy or sweet that I do not need or want drops. This time we managed 3 Chuppa Chuppa lollies. Score!
The arcades are great fun in general with basketball games, ice hockey, Mario Kart, Just Dance and all kinds of other games. You can find an arcade just before you pay the toll for Bournemouth Pier, so why not give in to your inner 2p machine demon. Just make sure you limit yourself.
Beach walk to Hengistbury Head
The walk to Hengistbury Head will take you about 1h 30mins from Bournemouth Pier. You’ll stroll alongside the beach where you’ll see cute multi-coloured beach huts, another pier at Boscombe and lots of people walking their dogs. If you don’t fancy walking then there’s a little land train that can take you three quarters of the way to Boscombe Pier.
However, Hengistbury Head is is more than a headland jutting into the English Channel, it’s also a Local Nature Reserve with the heathland forming part of the Dorset Heaths. You can either walk to the top and enjoy the views where on a clear day you can see the Isle of White, or watch the wildlife that have made their home here. It’s breathtaking.
What we ate in Bournemouth
As a Brit, there are two things that you’re obliged to eat when visiting the seaside; chips and ice cream.
For chips we went to Harry Ramsden’s world famous fish and chips shop. They had both a restaurant for a proper sit down meal and a cafe with a limited menu for fast food.
We opted for the cafe and the good news was that the chips were cooked in vegetable oil and completely separate from the fish making them vegan-friendly, yay! I had mine with baked beans (got to get your protein in) and ketchup, although I did smother mine in vinegar too. Sounds gross, but it totally works. The non-vegan boyfriend had battered cod and chips. The portion was huge and he said it was tasty.
For ice cream I had heard that Giggi’s did a range of vegan ice cream as well as sorbet and they did not disappoint. They had three sorbet options (strawberry, lemon and fruits of the forest) and four vegan ice cream flavours (chocolate, strawberry cream, coffee and stracciatella).
I chose chocolate, as it looked rich and decadent, and strawberry and cream in a tub. The chocolate reminded me slightly of Alpro’s Chocolate Non-Dairy Ice Cream although this was more chocolatey. The Strawberry Cream flavour tasted like cream with a subtle after-taste of strawberry. Both were nice and I’d recommend. It’s rare that you have so many vegan options within a Gelateria!
Although we didn’t hit the food scene as hard on this trip like we usually do, I did note a number of vegan-friendly restaurants that i’d like to try on my next visit. Notably Mad Cucumber Lounge and Coriander Restaurant (Mexican).
If you’re looking for a day trip from London at any time of year then consider Bournemouth. The beach exceeded my expectations and as it’s a university town there’s loads to do during the day and at night.
Have you been to Bournemouth? What are your favourite day trips from London?