18 of the Best ways to Enjoy Bournemouth on a budget

18 Budget Things to do in Bournemouth

If you’re one of those who is always ready for a beach getaway, you’ll be delighted that Bournemouth holds some salty secrets. Bournemouth enjoys an enviable position on the south coast of England, in the attractive county of Dorset, and has a reputation as one of the best places for a beach holiday or a short break.

The city rises over seven miles of uninterrupted beach and there are more beautiful coasts in both directions farther away, plus lots of activities in the water to please everyone. The best part is that the beaches are super clean, meeting all international standards for cleanliness, and they’ve got Blue Flag status.

Below the magnificent cliffs you will find award winning beaches in Bournemouth. Explore the world class catwalk, family attractions and the Casa Museum of panoramic walks and outdoor activities – as well as bars and restaurants – the Bournemouth coast is the jewel in its crown. For a warm welcome to the resort, head to the Pier Approach and visit the award-winning tourist information center where staff can help you make the most of your stay.

Looking for things to do which don’t cost a pound and a penny can be exhausting, but as a guide, we’ve selected some favourite activities to keep everyone happy all day long. It doesn’t really matter what time of year you visit Bournemouth because the resort town is always ready to put on an amazing display of events and venues for its many visitors.

Cheap Accommodation Bournemouth
Bournemouth Beach and Pier Dorset England UK
Bournemouth Beach and Pier

We look at 10 of the best ways to eat, play and relax in Bournemouth –

1. Hop-on Hop-off Tour

A good way to see the sights of this coastal resort town is to take an exciting hop-on, hop-off double-decker bus tour. You’ll sit on a double-decker bus with your ticket you’ll be seeing- and stopping at a host of places of interest. If you stay on the bus for the entire tour, you can expect to be on it for about an hour and a half.

From the top of the bus, you’ll have splendid views of the town, while listening to the audio commentary of the places you visit. You can hop on and off as often as you like during the 24- or 48-hour period ticket you bought. You can upgrade to a boat-and-bus ticket and throw in a boat cruise too. 

2. Arts by the Sea Festival

It depends on the time of year you’re visiting this coastal town, but if you’re an art lover, make sure you’re in the town during October.

The Arts by the Sea Festival is on and not only will you be able to experiment with your artistic talents, there’s dance, theatre and food to keep you totally absorbed.

3. Boscombe Chine Gardens

These lovely gardens will keep you spellbound with their beauty, and in fact, the gardens have award-winning displays of flowers. The garden is an enchanting escape for tired city dwellers with pathways that meander through the trees.

There is also an 18 hole mini golf course, nature trails and a children’s play area.

Girl playing mini or crazy golf
Mini or crazy golf

4. Mix of Shops

There’s an awesome mix of shops in Bournemouth, some of which are close to the beach and therefore surrounded by coffee shops and cafes.

There’s no need to spend a fortune here – buy cheap beach sarongs or beach sandals to wear while you’re here and spend the money you saved on a cup of coffee and lemon meringue tart.

5. Boscombe Coastal Activity Park

A brilliant activity park which stretches 1km either side of the pier at Boscombe.

There’s so much going on, from volleyball courts to gym equipment, nature classes and so much more. There is an information centre near the pier to find out about the daily activities on offer. 

6. Bournemouth Pier Fireworks

During the Summer months, each Friday night, the lights go out on the Pier and there is a spectacular fireworks display

Summer fireworks in Great Yarmouth
Summer fireworks in Great Yarmouth

7. Christchurch Road in Boscombe

If you like vintage items, go to Christchurch Road in Boscombe, which is a short walk from Bournemouth.

Dazzling China Fashionable Blazers – Explore the small antique shops to find the best retro clothes, shoes and home decorations. A must see!

8. Scones with Cream and Jam

The cream tea (scones with cream and jam) is one of the most gourmet British you can try, and one of the best places to enjoy Bournemouth is the Frieda tea room.

Conveniently located in the city center, its traditional kitsch style and delicious variety of sweets make it an ideal place to enjoy the sweet spot.

9. Seven Mile of Coastline

Bournemouth has a 7 mile coastline is perfect for exploring either on bicycle or on foot. Apart from the breathtaking views, you can enjoy many restaurants, shops and attractions along the coast. Obviously, you do not have to spend one penny on this!

Bournemouth Beach is a wonderful place just bursting with life. Put on your sunglasses and secretly watch everything going on with nobody knowing your eyes are on them. In fact, the town’s coastline is full of action all year round because it plays host to so many exciting events and festivals throughout the year.

Just for starters, in August, there’s the Air Festival which lasts for 4 days. There’s a world of entertainment to be enjoyed which includes evening entertainment, flying displays as well as lots of shopping. If you haven’t got your own deck chairs or umbrella, they can be hired along the beach. 

The beach huts are a very British tradition actually born in Bournemouth in 1908 – you can also rent the hut on the oldest beach in the world! Beach cabins and funky beach capsules are available for daily or weekly rentals and are ideal for enjoying the breathtaking views and watching the passing world.

Beach huts at Bournemouth
Beach huts at Bournemouth

10. Oceanarium: The Bournemouth Aquarium

But if sitting on a beautiful beach isn’t your thing, the town has an unusual blend of other gems that you can enjoy, and on a shoestring budget.

Take the fabulous Aquarium as an example of cheap but wonderful entertainment. It offers an enthralling, educational experience for everyone and when you’re done looking at all the amazing creatures there are, there are cafes and shops for eating and shopping.

The further in advance you buy your online tickets, the bigger the discount you get. Under 3’s also receive free entry and if you’re disabled, you can also benefit from disabled rates. 

11. Tennis Center Gardens

For just £ 10, you can play a tennis game at the Bournemouth Tennis Center Gardens.

Located next to the beautiful Bournemouth Pleasure Gardens and near the Bourne Creek, the tennis center offers indoor and outdoor tennis courts. No registration is required!

Tennis racket and ball

12. Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum

Bournemouth is home to one of the most fascinating cultural attractions in the UK – the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum is a treasure trove of paintings and artifacts from all over the world.

Admission fee is £6 per adult or senior citizen, £4 per child.

woman visiting a museum in the UK
Museum and Art Gallery

Attractions within easy reach of Bournemouth

13. Tower Park

When ones on holiday, you always want to try out different foods and Tower Park is full of affordable restaurants and entertainment. You can take in a film, eat, play bingo or bowls or even take a splash in the South’s Ultimate Waterpark.

Make your trip even more affordable and check out the discounts offered for students. Find out about the special combo tickets that allow you to leave and re-enter as many times as you like on the particular day you’re visiting. 

14. Dorset Heavy Horse Farm Park

You’ll enjoy fascinating talks and tours with regards to these magnificent animals. You can even take a free wagon ride around the park and listen to facts about how these horses work and just how intelligent they are.

Animal lovers will enjoy the other farm animals at the Dorset Heavy Horse Farm Park which also has picnic- and play areas. 

15. Take a train trip

A short train ride from Bournemouth will take you to the beautiful New Forest National Park, which is full of wildlife and home to many traditional English villages. Go for a walk, take a bicycle, or just enjoy a lunch in a pub … there’s something for everyone!

Price: train fare return to Brockenhurst – from £ 7.60.

When you buy before midnight the day before off at off peak times you can save up to 43% on fares, a great discount for budget travellers.

The average journey time between Bournemouth and Manchester Piccadilly is 4 hours and 41 minutes. 

Train travel on tracks
Train Transport England

16. Brownsea Island

Want some fresh air? Just off Poole Harbor, Brownsea Island is a gorgeous nature reserve with one of the largest natural nesting bird squirrels.

Get on the ferry (£ 11.00) and discover the British version of “deserted island”. Admission: £ 5.00.

17. Splashdown Waterpark

The British love to spend their holidays in the Mediterranean, but those who stay on the banks of the Canal in summer are also worth a splash! Splashdown Waterpark in, you can enjoy some of the wildest slides in the UK for just £ 11.50 (two hours per session).

Oh, and do not forget to wear sunscreen!

Waterpark slide with young kid

18. Corfe Castle

Partially destroyed in 1646, Corfe Castle is one of the most iconic survivors of the English Civil War. Let yourself be captured by these ruins and breathtaking views of Purbeck.

Visit this charming place and travel back in time for less than £ 10 (plus bus ticket).

A Resort Town where you set Your own Course

When planning to travel to Bournemouth, it’s great to know that you don’t need to settle on anything less because you’re on a budget. The town has gone out of its ways to ensure that visitors have everything they need at this destination. 

The largest resort in Dorset, Bournemouth has parks and gardens, as well as a wide range of shops, restaurants and accommodations for all pockets.

Kid sitting in beach chair

It’s Not only about Sea and Sand

You are sure to find a lot of things to do while exploring with lots of attractions, activities, entertainment and adventure. With great shopping and eating out experiences as well as an event program throughout the year there is something for everyone.

Enjoy the lively nightlife of Bournemouth with some of the best pubs, bars and clubs located along the southern coast. The city also has a series of cinemas, a casino, bingo halls, cabaret, open mic evenings and themed events in many of its hotels. There are plenty of things to do on a cheap budget, as well as many free attractions that offer real experience to tourists.

For a more relaxing way to enjoy the beautiful view from the coast, book a trip on a boat or rent a local private charter for a day.

Want to try a new activity or sport? Golf , go-kart, dance, indoor laser and high rope activities – you’ll be spoiled for choice! The coast of Bournemouth and Poole offers a fantastic range of water sports to try. Surfing, paddle-boarding, kayaking, sailing, jet-skiing and sailing to name a few.

Jump on one of the ground trains running along the eastward drive toward Boscombe and west to Alum Chine. Jump on one of the famous cliff lifts located on the West Cliff and Fisherman’s Walk in Southbourne.

Whatever the weather, there are a variety of activities and attractions near Bournemouth to get you entertained: historic homes, gardens, galleries, castles, museums, theaters, aquariums, indoor playgrounds, entertainment, recreation centers and water parks. The choice is infinite.

Visit Any Time – There’s ALWAYS Something to Do

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