Sandy love

We're off to Bournemouth next week, squeezing in the last holiday of the season. I've been there once years ago and remember it was very clean and full of language students. Apart from that I don't know that bit of the coast at all. We'll be 44 miles away from West Bay which was where Reggie Perrin stripped off and ran into the sea. As that's my favourite TV programme of all time ever there's a chance for a personal pilgrimage. Other than that what's good to do?

For a really rather eery experience (not necessarily seaside fun, but definitely worth a visit) you need to visit Tyneham http://www.isleofpurbeck.com/tyneham.html

Thanks Andy, that looks amazing. I got a bit lost in that website - looks like there are lots of good places to go.

Check out St Catherine's chapel in Abbotsbury. It's an old pilgrimage chapel on a quirky grassy knoll right by Chesil Beach. Great walk up, and will blow the cobwebs out when you get there.

Also the Hive cafe http://www.hivebeachcafe.co.uk/ great fish and chips in a beautiful spot. It'll be busy, but definitely worth it.

Some good recommendations there, Anne - but they are rather a trek from Bournemouth. If you want something closer to hand I'd recommend catching the ferry from Sandbanks over to Studland Bay http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-studlandbeachandnaturereserve
, or Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour http://www.brownseaislandferries.com/ .

And don't miss the Russell-Cotes Museum in Bournemouth itself http://russell-cotes.bournemouth.gov.uk/

If you fancy a trip inland, you've got the whole of the New Forest - the Reptile Centre is great for children http://www.new-forest-national-park.com/new-forest-reptile-centre.html (but it's best on a sunny day, otherwise the reptiles will be hiding.) And it's the perfect time of year for mushrooming - not sure if there are any organised sessions next week, but try looking here http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-6E3GAZ

And something that's good and bracing on a blustery day is a walk along Hurst Spit to Hurst Castle http://www.hurst-castle.co.uk/ - catch the little ferry back to Keyhaven (if it's running) and that makes a grand round trip!

Enjoy it.

Swanage is rather lovely, the pier has loads of tiny plaques on it like this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fathands/2751510052/in/set-72157606654365970/

how about the tank museum at bovington?

http://www.tankmuseum.org/home

if i remember right it's about 40 minutes from studland.

Take the noddy train from Hengistbury Head to the beach huts at Mudeford Spit & then have a bracing walk back. We'll be doing it ourselves in a few weeks time!
http://www.tourism.bournemouth.com/open/id/1725/

catch the train into the New Forest- if you get off at Brockenhurst you can poke around the town and see the ponies. I used to like going to New Forest Nature Quest, which I think is now called something to do with owls or otters.

Brownsea Island rules- red squirrels live there.

Seconding the Hive Cafe over in Burton Bradstock. It's over the other side of Dorset, but West Dorset is absolutely beautiful. If you do go over there check out Bridport - the market town just inland from West Bay. I think it was described in the Sunday Times or Guardian as Notting Hill on sea or something like that. There are also some beautiful unspoilt villages further inland like Powerstock/Nettlecombe/West Milton.

I feel like I spent half my summer holidays as a kid in Bournemouth - a few anyway. I wish the shell house was still there to visit, and I don't know whether the Fortes ice-cream parlour is still on the High Street (though there might be one in Swanage), but Corfe Castle model village is nearby, if you haven't seen that already, and, as I remember, you couldn't move for thatched villages when you got out to the country. Best use the Ward radar - it'll never lead you wrong in finding the good stuff. Happy hols.

I agree that all of that Purbeck stuff is a bit of a schlep from Bournmouth. However if you do make it that far Clouds Hill, where T.E Laurence used to live is interesting and the square and compass in Worth matravers is a very special pub. Have fun!

We do sometimes overdo it but then sometimes it's worth it. Great to have so many tips. Thanks all!

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