Things to do in Bournemouth, with a toddler
What are the best things to do in Bournemouth, with toddlers and small children? I’m talking beaches, seafront, piers and the best places to see and do.
We’re just back from a gloriously sunny weekend at my parent’s house in Bournemouth. It was supposed to be warm and for the first time in forever it actually was; proper sunbathing-on-the-beach weather. If you’re not incredibly pale like me, of course.
My parents moved down to the coast a few years ago from land-locked Shropshire, so it’s a fantastically big difference. They now live in Boscombe with a sea view, and lots of cream teas.
And of course we love to visit; it was great when Eliza was a baby but it’s getting brilliant now she’s a toddler.
Here’s some of our favourite things to do in Bournemouth with a toddler or small children
- Boscombe beach is really lovely. Eliza spent a lot of time happily paddling and running towards the waves this weekend (not a trait inherited from me, usually seen running in the other direction for fear of getting my hair wet). Apparently the local schools have sports day on the beach, how much fun would that be? There’s lifeguards, it’s safe to swim and there’s often lots of surfers wandering about, which is always a bonus
- We love walking on the pier. It’s decidedly non-seasidey and there’s just something very calm and relaxing about it (and Wayne Hemmingway said Boscombe pier was cool, so it really must be)
- If you walk left along the the seafront to Southbourne there’s a railway up the cliff, and if you go right you can walk or get the land train down to Bournemouth beach past the multi-coloured beach huts (you can read more about Southbourne on Lucy’s blog)
- Play crazy golf – for the children, of course…ahem. There’s loads of courses in the area, including one in the Chine Gardens where there’s also a play park
- Food-wise Cafe Boscanova is great, and very child-friendly, although it’s not massive so you’ll need to fold a pram. Urban Reef on the seafront is also good
- Boscombe high street could be…lots nicer – the only shop of note is the medium-sized Primarni we always have to investigate – but there are a whole load of charity shops, furniture and antiques shops in the area
- And the bonus of being at your parent’s house is babysitting, so a good thing we do when we can is go out for child-free drinks. This weekend we went to the Urban Beach Hotel and then to Reef Encounter (non-stop surfing videos, and an patio with blankets). Urban Reef is also great for drinks and a sea view; Alex and I had our wedding anniversary dinner there last year
And speaking of Alex, he stayed at home on flat painting duties – he also had two uninterrupted lie-ins and unlimited cricket, so it wasn’t all bad. We missed him! I thought the solo-parenting train journey had the potential to be a nightmare (even armed with my toddler train travel tips, we normally tag team so one of us can have a bit of a Twitter-checking relax and respite). But she napped on the way and was great on the way back, and quite happily sat with books, singing to herself.