What to experience in Bournemouth
Bournemouth Hotels offer a great base from which to explore the full delights of Dorset & Hampshire. The Riviera Hotel is ideally situated centrally between Bournemouth and Poole so you can get the most from your Bournemouth Holiday.
If you are planning a full day out, why not ask for one of Chef’s picnic baskets to add to the fun.
First, see our own Local Delights page to download our ideas for walkable fun around Alum Chine & Westbourne – but if you want to use your car for a day out, we have listed here a selection of the most popular activities for children (of all ages) in our area. For up-to-the-minute details of the many special events/activities which are organised year-round, visit www.bournemouth.co.uk and www.pooletourism.com – these are updated daily with details of e.g. family fun festivals of games, puppet shows, clowns, have-a-go workshops, beach sports and BBQs, spectacular fireworks displays – and the great live shows in Bournemouth and Poole’s theaters and venues.
If you have time, request leaflets from Bournemouth Tourism (0845 051 1700) their “100 great things to do and sea” and “Summer Fun” and ask Poole Tourism for their “What are you doing tomorrow?”. The Poole Guide (50p) contains useful discount vouchers to several attractions.
Take advantage of our nearness to Poole Harbour (just 2 miles) to try out kitesurfing, windsurfing, kayaking etc.(introductory lessons are available) – or the gentler pedalo or rowing boats available in Poole Park .
What about a glorious Jurassic Coast heritage cruise , or just stroll around the historic Poole Quay and look at every kind of boating craft from fishing boats to the super-luxury Sunseekers which are built here.
For a lovely day out a little further afield, take the ferry across the mouth of the Harbour, past the glorious beach of Studland to the magnificent and exciting ruins of Corfe Castle , perhaps taking a ride too on the historic Swanage Steam Railway through the beautiful Purbeck countryside
Below are the places that families who return to stay with us year after year say have been good fun:
Beaulieu Abbey and Motor Museum;
The New Forest hire bikes or book horse riding in this enchanting National Park – ask for one of Chef’s picnic baskets and find a shady glade to sit and watch the wild ponies and deer.
Abbotsbury Farm, Gardens and Swannery:
– Children’s Farm: A great place for the under 11’s. Bottle feed the baby goats am and pm, cuddle the guinea pigs, ride the ponies, race the toy tracors and have endless fun in the undercover soft play area.
– Sub-Tropical Gardens: Voted “Our Favouite Garden” by the readers of The Daily Telegraph in 2006. Runner-up in the peoples’ vote for the best major display garden at The Chelsea Flower Show, May 2006.
– Swannery: Previously voted Best Dorset Attraction by The Good Guide to Britain. Do not miss the mass feeding of up to 600 swans at 12 noon and 4.00pm every day.
Explore the secrets of the ocean in an adventure that will take you to some of the world’s most amazing waters. The Oceanarium Bournemouth brings you face to face with marine life from the furthest reaches of the globe – more than just an aquarium, a vibrant experience through the oasis of water.
The Oceanarium is a short walk from the hotel – walk to the Prom and turn left until you reach the seafront attractions. The Oceanarium is on your left.
Bovington Tank Museum
The Tank Museum in Bovington Dorset houses the world’s largest and finest collection of Armoured Fighting Vehicles from unique World War 1 tanks to the latest main battle tank of the British Army – Challenger.
Peaceful island of woodland and heath with a wide variety of wildlife, famous for being the birthplace of Scouting and Guiding.
Dorset offers a wide variety of things to see and do for the visitor and resident alike. It is an ideal leisure location for walkers and outdoor enthusiasts all year round, as it benefits from a favourable climate. Dorset’s 88 miles of remarkable World Heritage Coastline including the mighty Chesil Beach, one of the geological wonders of Europe, and the Jurassic rocks and fossils of over 200 million years ago generate enormous interest. The coastal path is easy to explore and walkers are rewarded with dramatic seascapes and stunning landscapes. It is a photographer’s paradise, and a sea captain’s nightmare! Much of Dorset’s coastline is used for recreation, including sailing, windsurfing, fishing, diving and climbing. More informal leisure pursuits which take advantage of the scenery include horse-riding and golf.
Working farm setup specifically for children. Feed the lambs and goats, handle guinea pigs and rabbits, take a bumpy tractor ride, play in the adventure play area or hay barn. National Farm Attraction of the Year Award, Farmer Palmers beat off 27 other finalists in their category.
Gus Gorilla’s Jungle Playground
Gus Gorilla’s Jungle playground in Poole Park is open seven days a week – 10am to 6pm. There are over 60 free car parking spaces right outside the door! Here are some of our exciting attactions. Gus Gorilla’s is not just great fun for kids – there’s plenty for mum’s and dad’s too! We are now fully licensed, so you can enjoy a drink, a cappaccino, a snack or a full meal next door after your kids have worn themselves out enjoying non-stop fun action in our safe, supervised area.
There are over 200 species of animals at Marwell Zoological Park, from tiny ants to the tallest giraffe, set in 100 acres of beautiful Hampshire parkland. Discover something different, learn something amazing and help us make tomorrow’s world rich in animal life. Open daily from 10am.
Set among the woodland of Dorset lays 65 acres of sanctuary for over 150 primates. Monkey World was set up in 1987 by the late Jim Cronin and his wife Alison Cronin to provide abused Spanish beach chimps with a permanent, stable home. Today at Monkey World visitors can see more than 150 primates of 15 different species.
Moors Valley Country Park
Moors Valley covers 750 acres in the Valley of the Moors River. At the heart of the park is the Visitor Centre, an 18th century timber barn, which houses Seasons Restaurant and Coffee Barn, The Country Shop, exhibition area and hosts music evenings throughout the year.
At Moors Valley you will also find Go Ape! An extreme high wire forest adventure, not for the faint hearted. Strapped into a harness, participants traverse from tree to tree just below the canopy and negotiate rope bridges, scramble nets, tarzan swings and zip slides. Go Ape! and enjoy 2+hours of adrenaline-fuelled fun, laughter and adventure.
Paultons Park is a fun family day out theme park with rides and attractions in the New Forest, near Romsey in Hampshire. There is a wide variety of things to see and do includes thrilling and gentle rides for all ages, dinosaurs, museums, animated shows, play areas, exotic birds and other fun activities for all ages in garden setting.
Serendipity Sam’s Play and Party Centre in Christchurch is THE place for children – in fact, they’re wall-to-wall fun for the entire family! Let Sam and his friends guide you through all the information and fun that can be found in his on-line jungle!
Splashdown at Towerpark
Splashdown is the South’s Ultimate Waterpark. In winter there is a choice of 8 fantastic rides. Each one with its own twists and turns generating a real buzz for the rider and loads of laughs, thrills and spills for all. The Spacebowl, Red River Roller and have you met our Dragon? Later in the year the outside comes alive, first the Mississippi Drifer makes it way outside and into the Grand Canyon and then when summer starts, well for us anyway (May Day Bank Holiday) there are more great rides; The Screamer – yeh, it will make you scream! The Tennesee Twister and the Louisianna Leap – sorry Mum and Dad, strictly for the under12’s.
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