Dan's uncle Barry, his wife Jo, and their daughter, Maria, live in the coastal town of Bournemouth and on our trip, we went to have dinner with them and to see their new home. The drive took a few hours and Dan's mom was with us, so we decided that a night stop would be the best idea.
We stayed at The Applewood Hotel, a very cute, non-chain hotel where the owners were on hand to check us in. They were very welcoming and personable. Here are pictures of the property, which included a sunny breakfast room ( breakfast was included) and a big backyard with a play area. This hotel was a gem.
We had dinner plans with the family, which gave us most of the afternoon to explore the beach.
First stop? Ice cream, of course.
Here's a panorama that Dan took of the boardwalk. I noticed a trend that many of the stores and restaurants were named after tropical vacation destinations. The weather was unusually warm for a day at the English seaside, but not exactly the tropics. I appreciated their optimism.
Less optimistic was this scary bit of headline news. I took a picture because I thought it was odd to feature this at a vacation resort. It's alarming and a disconnect to read this while enjoying ice cream.
We purchased our tickets to walk on the pier and enjoyed our cones while we walked to the end.
Although the fee is very minimal, I'm not sure that it's worth the money to walk on the pier, unless you plan to eat lunch or you have small kids that would enjoy the rides. None of the restaurants caught our fancy, so we headed back to the boardwalk.
We didn't have quite enough time to enjoy the aquarium, although that would be a great activity if you plan a vacation in Bournemouth. I've been to a few beaches in England and Bournemouth looked to be the closest to what I think of as a proper vacation beach with its white sand and rentals for beachy-things. They even have a giant multi-story bouncy castle with a slide.
We ate lunch at Harry Ramsden's, which I learned is a famous restaurant chain, notable for their fish n' chips. The restaurant was absolutely packed. Luckily, the wait was short and we were able to sit on the patio with ocean views. The interior of the restaurant was victorian with intricate details. At the risk of sounding ridiculous, it reminded me of Disneyland. I'm from California, so many things get referenced to Disneyland. The fish n'chips were tasty and I was even able to get an iced tea, which is a rarity in England.
After lunch, we took a one-way train ride over to the Boscombe Pier. The ride took about fifteen minutes and was a mile or so.
Once we reached Boscombe Pier, we took a few pictures and retraced our steps back to the Bournemouth Pier.
We found a cool shed with a reflective metal ball. See us in the reflection?
Here are a few silly pictures on the walk back.
Fancy details of a light pole.
My favorite part of the beach were these little huts. There were hundreds of them. I'm not sure if people rent them for the summer or actually own them, but I love the idea of having a stylish storage area for your beach things. I also love how they are painted in a rainbow of colors. It's so cheerful and happy.
Bournemouth is a beautiful town and a worthy addition to your next England itinerary. I'd highly recommend a stay at The Applewood Hotel and a meal at Harry Ramaden's.