The Appeal and Popularity of the Bournemouth Beach

Bournemouth ranks as one of the most popular resorts on the south coast of England. It has much to offer any holiday-maker, as the town can boast a range of attractions and facilities to cater for nearly every taste. Bournemouth also possesses some beautiful beaches, with golden sands and safe bathing which are frequently backed by majestic cliffs and a promenade.

The main features

The core feature of the Beach is of course the Sea with its seven miles of golden sand.

Bournemouth beach has a high standard of bathing safety, as there are ‘KidZone’ areas and emergency lifesaving Perry buoys at regular intervals. RNLI Beach Rescue provides 7 day a week lifeguard service from Southbourne to Sandbanks between May and September, which is augmented by 5 voluntary lifesaving clubs at weekends and public holidays. The beach is patrolled by beach wardens over the summer and by full time, first aid trained inspectors throughout the year.

During the bathing season 2003 the Environment Agency was monitoring bathing water quality all along the coast on a weekly basis; the Partnership’s main interest, of course, is the quality of the bathing water at Bournemouth Pier.

The beach is cleaned daily during the summer, weekly out of season. Areas of the beach have been designated glass free and can-recycling bins are provided. Dogs are allowed on parts throughout the year though they are banned from certain areas from May to September.

The secondary features

Beach Facilities

There are many excellent facilities available along Bournemouth’s beaches. These include toilets with access for disabled visitors, first aid posts, lost children centres and information offices. Catering facilities like “Harry Ramsden’s World Famous Fish and Chips” (Restaurant and Takeaway), “KFC” and “Hot Rocks” serve drinks, hot and cold snacks and meals.

Other entertainment features include the Amusements Arcade, where you can find all sorts of gambling and computer games.

Thrill seekers can hop on the Simulator ride by the Pier. The leisure simulator uses the sophisticated technology previously developed for the training simulators used by tank drivers and astronauts to provide a new form of entertainment, which is enjoyable, exciting and yet completely safe.

The Oceanarium is a fully interactive experience with touch screen games, feeding demonstrations and talks, plasma screen documentaries, walk-through underwater tunnel and exhibits to help you discover more about this fascinating underwater world. It brings you face to face with marine life from the furthest reaches of the globe.

The IMAX offers the most advanced and compelling film experience in the world.

Seeing a film at an IMAX theatre is the perfect group event – whether it is a birthday party, corporate outing or school trip. Every year more than 70 million people visit an IMAX theatre to see a film and over 96% would recommend it to their friends and family.

The Pier Theatre, Bournemouth is a purpose built proscenium theatre completed in 1960. The foyer houses a small confectionery kiosk, box-office and public toilets.

Disabled access is possible by arrangement through the box office. A Deaf Loop (induction) System is in operation. A unisex disabled toilet is available. Disabled Parking is available by arrangement with the manager. The Pier Bar is adjoining the Theatre and is operated by Bournemouth Services.

One of the most popular and certainly most distinctive features of the Seafront is the land train, which carries more than 260,000 passengers a year.

Six Zigzag paths connect the beach to the service road above.

Three pairs of Cliff lifts run up and down the cliff all day long throughout the season. Visible from literally miles away, there are exciting opportunities to brand the lifts – and the lift stations.

With 2100 Deckchairs, you have an exceptional opportunity to improve the bottom line, with advertising that can’t fail to be noticed.

Located at intervals along the beach, there are 28 Bastions with free shower facilities.

Close to the beach are the Gardens, which are an idea haven from the bussing streets of Bournemouth. Candle light displays and lights lead you down to the seafront where in the summer months you can see the firework displays. The ‘Free spirit of Bournemouth’ balloon ascends above Bournemouth to give you a birds eye view of Bournemouth town centre and the beach. The gardens also have a pavilion where brass bands play daily to an audience in the gardens.

The Russell-Cotes-Museum is a very individualistic gallery, containing the personal collection of art formed by Sir Merton and Lady Russell-Cotes presented to the town of Bournemouth and opened to the public in 1919.

Seaside Activities

Swimming (watercraft free zones at certain beaches), sailing, fishing, surfing, canoeing, jet skiing, windsurfing, power boating, pedalo hire, beach hut hire and water skiing. Areas or the beach have been zoned as No Smoking, Kidzone, and Can-zone recycling areas. Firework displays are held on Bournemouth Pier every Friday night between July 26th and August 30th. Bournemouth Carnival and Regatta is traditionally held during the first week of August.

Wildlife and Walks

A three-kilometre undercliff walk leads from Fisherman’s Walk east to Hengistbury Head. The seafront promenade is 10km long stretching from Southbourne to Alum Chine and then on to Sandbanks. A cycle route has been introduced along the promenade. Pedestrians always have right of way and from June to September and cycling is only permitted between 7pm and 10am. The Bournemouth cliffs provide an ideal habitat for the nationally rare sand lizard and smooth snake, as well as many plant species.


Roadside parking along the overcliff drive. Various pay and display carparks, including the Undercliff Car Park on the beach with access at Boscombe Pier.

Public Transport

Bournemouth coach and train station is linked to the town centre and all of the beaches by yellow buses. Once at the seafront a land train service operates along the promenade between Hengistbury Head and Alum Chine, stopping at all beaches and also the cliff lifts.

Visitor numbers and Types of visits:

“Bournemouth Seafront is, and has always been, a major tourism attraction. Bournemouth as a resort attracts around four million visitors each year (2.3 million day visitors; 1.7 million staying visitors). It is estimated that over 20,000 people are directly employed in tourism related businesses and that tourism is worth �350 million a year to Bournemouth’s economy.”

“The main tourist season begins with the Spring Bank Holiday and peaks during the school summer holiday period of mid July to early September. All other public and school holidays, such as Easter, are also busy tourist periods on the Seafront.”

Types of visitors:

At present, 70% of seaside visitors are elderly and less affluent, which means that they spend very little money during their stay, so Bournemouth had to attract a different type of customer.

Many small attractions were opened, in order to serve different types of tourists, in particular children, as they brought together people from all different backgrounds, so places such as Putlake Adventure farm and the Oceanarium were opened. Bournemouth also has 2,000 acres of formal gardens, which are frequently judged as the best in Britain, and serve as an attraction for the older generation of visitors. The present pier, which was built in 1880, incorporates a theatre, restaurants, a disco and amusement arcades, which together form Bournemouth’s most popular attraction.

Bournemouth has relied upon its reputation to bring in the tourists and therefore it has a very good record: In 1996 it was named as “The World’s Cleanest and Greenest City. It has also received Blue Flag Beach Awards every year since 1990 and since 1999 has been awarded the Green Flag Award. Three times since 1991, it has been the winner of Britain in Bloom and was Europe’s Floral Champion in 1995.

With the building of the Bournemouth International Conference Centre, many important conferences have brought attention to the town, these include several political party conferences, and brings in lots of business for the hotels and shops. The main problem with seaside resorts is the fact that their custom is seasonal, this can be seen in the newspapers where there are advertisements for cheap rates in the hotels, for example Sun Court Hotel offers �30 per person per night at the moment, as it is the end of the season.

The way this is combated is by the use of the conference centre, which tries to bring business in almost all year round, for example, the Conservative party conference is always held at the end of the season, as the season is then extended for an extra week.

Poole relies on recreation in its harbour for its business. 60,000 new houses are to be built in the area by 2010, as it is doing so well. Lots of visitors go across on the sandbanks ferry to Studland where 95% of visitors go to beach. In Poole Harbour, sailing and windsurfing take place, while conservation also takes place with SSSI’s for the dunes, mudflats and mines, which bats have inhabited.

Swanage has also suffered a decrease in its custom since the 1970’s: a total of 3,200 beds in hotels and guesthouses have now been reduced to a total of 1,900. With a population of 9,170, there are a total of 9355 beds available for visitors, with a quarter of a million visitors capable of being accommodated in the whole year, although the main season is 26 weeks long. Despite a large number of visitors, although decreasing, the average day visitor spends �9, which is not enough to keep a community running. Therefore, the total number of beds is still set to decrease, as the only real attractions are the Swanage railway, which is now being used for park and ride to Corfe castle, and Durlston Country Park, which receives 150,000 visitors.

Despite not being a National Park and a decreasing popularity of seaside resorts, except among the retired population, Dorset seems to be surviving. Some areas do seem to be “thriving”, although a question of their future does hang over areas such as Swanage. Dorset has a number of attractions that keep it a popular location for visitors, however, whether it is thriving or not is a big question, as whereas places such as Bournemouth are doing very well, others are not doing so well.

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