Bournemouth, Dorset… Just the name offers up a pleasant ring of Olde England that conjures images of Victorian greenery, of delightful adventures — perhaps in search of the mouth of the Bourne as it pours into the Channel — of families and amusement centers and fish & chips and sandy beaches. Yes, as a seaside town on the southern coast of England, Bournemouth draws visitors all summer long, and as ice cream vendors ply their trade near the famous pier and bands play until late in the evenings in the Pleasure Gardens, people from all over Europe enjoy the long days and entertainment-filled nights.
But as lovely as Bournemouth is in summer, it is winter that brings out its very best. Those sandy beaches are packed wall-to-wall … or groyne-to-groyne, as the case actually is … the summer long with sun seekers, but once winter rears its chilly head and begins to blow in from the Russian Steppes those same seven miles of shore are wide open to anyone with a yearning to walk, or run, and a thought to quietly ponder life’s wonders and the beauty of nature.
Peaceful Contemplation in Bournemouth’s Central Gardens
Frosty mornings are perfect for strolling Bournemouth’s Central Gardens. The azalea and rhododendron profusion, not always in bloom but impressive in leaf no matter, give the eye a comforting wander and feet take comfortably to the groomed paths and tiny bridges. Willows and chestnut trees share space with man-made structures built to please, some from the days when Queen Victoria ruled the Empire, and scampering squirrels keep a visitor company, and amused.
Windswept and blustery, the cliffs above the coast give dramatic views out to sea and bring to mind a hundred stories from the days before traffic plied the town’s roundabouts. Romantic tales of lost love, of tragic women waiting for their men to return from sea, come to mind, inspiring no little passion in today’s visitors.
Warming stops at pubs
And what’s better after a chilly walk than a pop into a pub? There are many in Bournemouth, and in most you’ll find a fire in the grate, a hot cup of tea, or a pint of the publican’s best if you prefer. With fewer visitors in winter months, the bar is in easy reach, the wait shorter, and the barkeep more willing and able to give some local scoop on “must dos” off the normal
The Moon in the Square Pub is handy to beach strollers, and the Hog’s Head in the near village of Westbourne is a worthy destination for those who choose to explore the neighborhoods at the far end of the Central Gardens. Both serve hearty, warming meals in addition to liquid fare and are worthy destinations in their own right.
Raising the temperature in nightclubs
With many institutions of higher learning based in the town, Bournemouth retains an international flavor all year round, and where some smaller cities in England go quiet after dark in the months dark comes early, this one continues to hop to a party beat no matter what the time of year.
Very near the Town Center, the Empire Club on Holdenhurst Road and Club 176, just around the corner, are popular nightclubs. Offering something for visitors young and not so young and serving a range of musical tastes, dancing the night away is another great way to keep the chill from the bones over a cold Bournemouth winter.
Bournemouth in summer is lovely, no doubt, but a winter break there will build memories that will warm the heart for years to come.
Photo originally posted by cgt