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Student City Guide To Bournemouth: Top 10 Things To Do

So, you’ve decided to go to university in Bournemouth, have you? Good – you won’t be disappointed. To give you a taste of what’s in store, we’ve made the following top ten list, which covers things like clubbing, beach-going, sandwich-eating, laser-shooting and more clubbing (to name just a few).

Sam Haysom
by Sam Haysom
Last Updated:
01 Oct 2018

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Have a read and start getting excited. That’s an order.

1) Bournemouth Balloon

Bournemouth balloons
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Good for… Getting a birds-eye view of the city.

What it is… A massive helium balloon that can regularly be seen bobbing in the sky above Bournemouth Park.
Why you should go… Ever seen the Pixar film Up? Well the Bournemouth Balloon is like a slightly less adventurous version of that; there may not be any talking dogs, but the view is still pretty impressive.


2) Bournemouth Beach

Bournemouth beach
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Good for… Trampling on the sandcastles of small children (not that we recommend this).

What it is… You can probably work that one out for yourself.
Why you should go… Well you can’t beat a nice trip to the beach. There are plenty of long, sandy beaches round Bournemouth, and although it’s never a guarantee that the sun will make an appearance, you can always take a ball down with you, have a dip in the sea or even try your hand at a spot of surfing.


3) Splashdown

Good for… Pelting down water slides at back-scrapingly high speeds.
What it is… A ridiculously fun day out, that’s what. If you like water, slides, or a fast-paced combination of the two, we just can’t recommend it enough.
Why you should go… It’s the perfect place to go with a big group. Okay, so you might find you and your friends are bringing up the average age slightly, but you’ll be far too busy hurling yourselves down water slides to care.


4) Lord Sandwich

lord sandwich
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Good for… Chomping your way through a huge selection of doughy goodness.

What it is… The KING of sandwich shops in Bournemouth. And that’s a fact.
Why you should go… Everyone likes a good sandwich, and they don’t come much better than the ones served in Lord Sandwich. The sandwich shop is also just round the corner from the local Shakeaway, so you can wash down your ham and cheese baguette with a cream egg flavoured milkshake.


5) Aruba

Good for… Top quality seaside partying.
What it is… A bar and restaurant by the beach, and a great place to go for a night out.
Why you should go… Not only is Aruba a lovely spot for a bite to eat, but it also plays host to some top-quality DJs at night. If you feel like heading into town for a bit of a dance and some cocktails, you could do a lot worse.


6) BIC Ice Skating Rink

Bournemouth ice rink
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Good for… Clinging shakily to the side rails, falling flat on your face and knocking over pensioners.

What it is… An ice skating rink that makes an appearance at Bournemouth International Centre every year.
Why you should go… Whether you can ice skate like or pro or you’ve never done it before, you’re still GUARANTEED to have fun. If you’re feeling confident, you can even try doing a 360 degree spin, or skating at a crouch between someone’s legs (not a trick we’d recommend doing to strangers).


7) Bonsai Lounge

Good for… A weekend night on the town (with a Japanese flavour).
What it is… A smart club in Bournemouth that’s a popular choice among students.
Why you should go… Have you ever had the urge to eat Japanese food and sip cocktails in a Geisha Garden? Well, now you can (sort of). Bonsai Lounge combines a swanky drinks menu with tasty Japanese cuisine, and also allows you to book a variety of VIP areas (one of which is the Geisha Garden - a kind of booth by the DJ that overlooks the dance floor).


8) Cycling Along the Coast

Good for… Exploring the beaches that surround Bournemouth and getting a good bit of exercise into the bargain.
What it is… It’s all in the name, really. The link will take you to a bike hire shop called Front Bike Hire, handily located by Bournemouth pier (where you can start your ride).
Why you should go… Hiring some bikes and going for a ride with a group of friends is a great way to spend the afternoon, especially when you’re surrounded by miles of beautiful coastline. You can even try cycling all the way from Bournemouth Pier to Hengistbury Head and back, if you’re feeling up to it (and there’s a café at Hengistbury Head you can stop off at for a rest half way).


9) Laser Quest

Good for… Feeling like Rambo (but without the fear of injury or death).
What it is… A series of games in which you shoot your friends with lasers in an indoor arena.
Why you should go… If anyone’s had a look at the website and thinks it looks suspiciously like it’s aimed primarily at young children, then you’ve got a point. But they have adult games too! And trust us, it’s addictive.


10) Go Ape

go ape
image via

Good for… Getting the old adrenaline going.

What it is… It’s basically a treetop course complete with zip wires, ropes, obstacles, ladders, etc. (don’t worry, you’ll have a harness).
Why you should go… If you fancy doing something a bit different with your weekend, Go Ape is only a short drive from Bournemouth. Oh, and in case you don’t feel like taking to the trees, they also have Forest Segways. That’s right, off-road Segways (and don’t pretend you’ve never had the urge to go on one, because everyone loves Segways).


Key info about Bournemouth

A global tourist destination, Bournemouth attracts more than five million visitors a year to its sandy beaches, parks and gardens.  With Victorian architecture and several Grade I listed buildings, Bournemouth has all the trappings of a traditional seaside resort, as well as boasting a modern town centre which is known for its nightlife.  Bournemouth is right next door to Poole, home to the largest natural harbour in Europe, and is only a short drive from the countryside and the New Forest.


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