Most Instagrammable Places in Bournemouth, part 1: Upper Gardens

I have decided to prepare a series of blog posts presenting different places in Bournemouth where you can take some artistic, colourful, original and memorable photos, whether you’re a tourist, international student or local. In other words, the most Instagrammable places in Bournemouth! This first one contains some shots from the Upper Gardens. Walking from the Square in the town centre until the end of the Upper Garden takes about 30 minutes (check the map here).

If you haven’t heard the word ‘Instagrammable’, then you should know it’s used to describe places, food, and things which seem attractive enough to be captured on camera and shared on social media. The Upper Gardens is definitely one of those places, especially with the abundance of flowers.

The best season to photograph flowers in the Upper Gardens is spring or early summer when the flowers start to bloom and their colours are most intense. The photos in this post were taken in mid-August and some of the petals are a bit washed out, but still beautiful!

Upper Gardens in Bournemouth, the red bridge in the Asian sector
One of the red bridges in the Asian sector of the gardens.

The Gardens used to be private and belonged to one family(!) – the Durrants – until they were leased to Bournemouth Council and are now open to the public. They are divided into three themes: European, Asian and North American, all based on the species planted in different sectors. The Asian part is very interesting due to its adorable red bridges, which are a great backdrop for photos. In my opinion, even a wedding photo session would look great there!

Upper Gardens in Bournemouth, the red bridge in the Asian sector

Other Instagrammable photos can be taken among bamboo sticks, and you can find plenty of them in the Upper Gardens…if you hide among them, you can pretend you’re on holiday in a tropical jungle…

Bamboo trees in the Upper Gardens, Bournemouth.
Upper Gardens in Bournemouth, Wellingtonia Sequoiadendron giganteum from Sierra Nevada.

The massive trees from America in the American sector are really impressive and will make you feel tiny…the photos below present the Wellingtonia Sequoiadendron giganteum (I’ve always disliked those long Latin names!) from Sierra Nevada, and it’s the biggest species of tree in the world. It can reach a height of 300ft (92m)!

Upper Gardens in Bournemouth, Wellingtonia Sequoiadendron giganteum from Sierra Nevada.
Upper Gardens in Bournemouth, Wellingtonia Sequoiadendron giganteum from Sierra Nevada.
Look at how tiny I look standing next to the trunk of this tree…

The gardens are about 3 kilometers long, but who would mind walking 3 kilometers of pure beauty…? Our walk ended on the Coy Pond (which is already in Poole) where you can see some red fish.

Coy pond, Poole
Coy pond can be found at the end of Upper Gardens

Have you ever walked through the Upper Gardens and taken any photos with its beautiful flora? I think the Gardens are simply underrated because the main tourist focus is the beach. But give it a try, you’ll enjoy them at any time of the year!

Upper Gardens, Bournemouth.
Have I encouraged you to go there?

Amelie musical at the Pavilion

This French classic, a moving and inspiring story of an introverted girl named Amelie Poulain who derives joy from being kind to other people, can now be seen at the Pavilion. Astonishing acting, dynamic dance and sensational singing is everything you’ll experience while watching the show. Thanks to the invitation of BH Live and the Bournemouth Bloggers, I was able to see the performance on Monday evening.

The play starts with an insight into Amelie’s childhood and the upbringing she received from her overprotective mother, which somewhat explains her introverted character. The setting of the play changes from a metro station to a restaurant, where Amelie is employed as a waitress. The actors change sets by swiftly moving furniture, which introduces a lot of dynamism. Amelie also uses a flying chandelier at times to transport herself into her cosy room located above the station, which looks magical.

Amelie - UK musical. Picture by Pamela Raith Photography
The talented cast of Amelie – pic. by Pamela Raith Photography

I have to say that Audrey Brisson, a French-Canadian actress who stars in the lead role, is mesmerizing! Her beautiful voice, adorable French accent and quirky ways will make you fall in love with her immediately. My loudest applause, however, went to Danny Mac (a West End actor and finalist of Strictly Come Dancing) who plays Nino. I had goosebumps each time he sang, and the song When the Booth goes Bright became my favourite.

These two are a great couple!

Even though we watched the show on a Monday evening after a long day at work, we didn’t lose interest in the musical even for a second. All the actors who performed in the musical were fantastic! I can’t recommend it more! It will be playing at the Pavilion until the 17th of August, and you can buy tickets here .

*Ad press event- I was gifted the tickets for the musical Amelie, but the above review is my own genuine opinion.

A very green post.

If I were forced to choose only one colour of clothes to wear for the rest of my life it would probably be green – in particular khaki. I think it’s elegant and it also intensifies the colour of my eyes. I probably have too many khaki clothes! Green is obviously the predominant colour of nature, and while looking through the pictures of Bournemouth and the surrounding area I have taken over the last 3 months, I noticed that I’d captured beautiful shades of my favourite khaki on stones, pine trees, boats and others. In this blog post you’ll see those photos containing shades of green and read about the symbolism of this colour.

Seaweed covering big stones. Mudeford in Christchurch.

I know it’s a sweeping generalisation to say that certain colours evoke characteristic emotions in people, but according to the psychology of colours, our favourite shades may say a lot about our personalities. (Check your favourite colour here).

Mudeford in Christchurch. Swans and the edge of the water covered in seaweed
Pine trees in Poole.

The colours we choose for our bedrooms and living rooms can significantly influence our mood. Colours are also extremely important in marketing campaigns (see here). Green evokes a feeling of health, peace, calm and stability. Marketers use green in branding to emphasize that they are trustworthy and reliable.

Stones covered in seaweed at Sandbanks are a beautiful backdrop for photos. Green is the colour of stability and safety. I can describe myself as someone who does not like changes and is not so keen on getting out of her comfort zone. Is that why I love green so much?
The sunset hiding behind monstrous green stones. Mudeford, Christchurch.
Green juice at Wagamama. Mine was made from kale, apple and celery – which is considered to be a super food due to its healthy properties.
Seaweed covering an abandoned boat in Poole Harbour.
A pine tree and a cloudless blue sky. Poole.
Green is also the symbol of money, greed, ambition and jealousy. I tend to be overambitious and competitive, and my perfectionism drives me crazy. I also admit to being jealous at times (my look in this picture says it all)…but I prefer to say I am ‘passionate’ 😉
A view from our living room. I consider myself lucky to be waking up to this view of green pine trees and Meyrick Park.
Finally, a picture of the book Live Green by Jen Chillingsworth, which changed my everyday life and nasty habits into better, more environmentally friendly ones. It shows easy ways of living ‘green’ and feeling good about your everyday choices, from shopping to cleaning. My blog post about buying local and loose produce in Bournemouth greengrocers was written after reading this book. You can find it here.

If you were to choose only one colour, what would it be? Does the symbolism of your favourite colour match with your personality traits?

Never go too long without watching a sunset

Why? Because watching a sunset heals the soul and mind, fills you with sensations of peace and calm, and makes you a more grateful person. I’m not making it up – it’s been proven by psychologists, as you can read here! Sunsets are beautiful no matter the scenery, but you must admit that sunsets over the sea, especially in Bournemouth and the surrounding area, are simply the prettiest!

I took this photo at the beginning of February 2019 at Hengistbury Head. What strikes me about this scene is the peace and tranquility – so desperately needed in our fast-paced lives.

Watching a sunset with someone you love is very romantic, and the upcoming Valentine’s Day celebrations inspired me to write about sunsets over Bournemouth. In today’s blog post, you’ll see some stunning shots of sunsets by Dorset photographers that I follow on Instagram. They kindly agreed to let me use their photos.

This photo with the caption ‘Surfing Bournemouth at sunset’ was taken by Andy Carr, who runs the @beachpilgrim Instagram account. Simply spectacular.

Appreciating the changing colours of the sky while the sun is slowly sinking below the horizon is one of the most beautiful ways to end your day. Do it whenever you can.


This photo presents the sunset at Sandbanks close to the Yacht Club. Vivid orange is very often the predominant colour of a sunset. The photo above was taken by Marsona Anney (@sonas_photography), who loves taking photos of nature and animals. You can visit her fun page with beautiful photos here

I’m intentionally avoiding sunrises in my post because the prospect of waking up before 6 a.m. to see the dawn is too much for me when it’s so cold outside! However, the idea of rising early is certainly not scary to the creator of the next photo, Daphne Wuenn, who is a professional photographer and takes photos of beautiful scenery around the South Coast of England.

Daphne sent me this photo of the sunset on Studland, Bramble Bush Bay.
She said it’s one of her favourite places for romantic walks and picnics along the seashore. More photos by Daphne can be found here, here and at @daphnewuennphotography

While looking for inspiration for this post, I came across this sentence: Never waste sunsets with people who will be gone by sunrise. But what if you met an interesting stranger while watching the sunset and never saw him again? It would still be meaningful, wouldn’t it?

This man is not a stranger to me… Mudeford sunset, by Gary Page.

If you want to do something truly romantic this Valentine’s Day, grab your loved one, tell them, “All I need is you and some sunsets,” (cheesy, I know!) go to the beach and watch the dusk draw in together. If you can’t go to the beach, just look at the spectacular photos in this post and imagine you’re there…

Purplish sunset at Sandbanks by Gary Page. Gary is super-knowledgeable about photography and tried to teach me how to take good photos. I deliberately use the word ‘tried’, because I need more practice with the complicated settings of a professional camera! Here is his website and his Instagram is @garypagez32 I chose this photo to be the last one as its light makes me think of something that is drawing to a close.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Veganuary: seasonal vegetables and vegan restaurants in Bournemouth.

Veganuary seems to be the most-used word on the internet this month. Is becoming vegetarian or vegan just a temporary fashion or a genuine trend? I truly believe it is the latter! I’m not a vegetarian and I don’t think I could ever be (well, never say never!), but I am one of those people who’s trying to eat less meat. If you have resolved to do the same, you can call yourself a flexitarian or a reducetarian. One of my New Year’s resolutions is also to buy more local, seasonal vegetables.

Some of the British seasonal veggies and fruit I bought: cabbage, beetroots, celery, swede, carrots, brussels sprouts, pears, and apples.
I’m also avoiding greens pre-packed in plastic. It’s difficult to find loose fruit, especially at big supermarkets, but it’s not impossible – if you can, do it!
Choose loose!
I hated brussels sprouts as a child, but now I love them – provided they are not overcooked!

In order to celebrate Veganuary, I decided to explore three vegan/vegetarian restaurants in Bournemouth in search of tasty, local and, ideally, seasonal vegetable dishes. My choices were the Mad Cucumber, the recently opened restaurant Twelve, and the South Coast Roast Café. The latter is not entirely vegetarian but has the ambition to become so and 80% of the menu is vegan.

Apart from a catchy name, the Mad Cucumber has got a truly environmental ethos, which is clear from their website. It says, ‘Everything is made from scratch, by hand, from mainly local, seasonal and organic ingredients.’

Mad Cucumber is entirely vegan. I can somehow imagine being vegetarian, but vegan seems to be mission impossible!
This is a photo of a burger made from lentils, oats and quinoa. The salad that was served with the burger had some seasonal vegetables like red cabbage and carrots in it. Instead of using rocket, the chef could have used kale, which is in season at the moment. Nevertheless, my veggie burger was tasty and kept me full for a couple of hours!

The South Coast Roast Café is a true hit again. I love the staff’s philosophy in creating and running this genuine place. I had the pleasure to speak with the owner, Giles, and listened to him passionately talking about using fresh and local ingredients, as well as encouraging people to change their habits and become more environmentally friendly.

My brunch: local sourdough bread, cashew nut cream cheese, caramelised onions, and smashed – seasonal – butternut squash, accompanied with fresh juice made from spinach, kale and other green things. Sorry, I can’t remember all of the ingredients, but it was mouthwatering!

While Mad Cucumber and South Coast Roast are more breakfast & brunch cafés, Twelve could be a perfect place for a romantic supper, especially since they serve organic wine and other cocktails – Valentines Day is coming, guys! The name of the restaurant Twelve is truly puzzling and made me wonder what it means. In fact, it’s not a random number, and it comes with an interesting meaning. I’m not going to reveal the secret now, as I will definitely devote one of my future posts to describing this beautiful place in more detail.

Just look at this presentation, it’s art on a plate! The left plate contains salt baked celeriac and avocado puree. The right one contains beetroots with hazelnut pralines, braised shallots, and citrus dressing. You simply discover a new, unexpected flavour with each bite. A big plus for using seasonal vegetables!
*We only ordered starters because we had previously prepared dinner, but we’ll come back for more!

These local restaurants in Bournemouth are offering vegan and vegetarian dishes not only because there is a growing demand for it. They’re selling a more conscious life philosophy to people. Eat local because it’s good for the region and the people who work here. Eat seasonally, because seasonal vegetables are at their best and simply delicious. Eat less meat because it improves your health and reduces damage to the environment.

Even though Veganuary is almost at its end, I hope my article has encouraged some of you to eat seasonal vegetables and maybe to try out Veganofebruary by eating in these restaurants. I think I’ve just coined a new word…

Things to Do in Bournemouth for Free: Pier-to-Pier Walk

It’s not a huge challenge or achievement to walk from Bournemouth Pier to Boscombe Pier. It’s only 2.1 km (1.6 miles), but on the pleasant stroll you can get a real taste of Bournemouth, seeing both piers, the beach, sea waves, seagulls and beach huts. What can be more relaxing than walking on the sand, listening to sea waves and chattering seagulls flying against the wind? If you need some Vitamin SEA, take a look at my photo story from a Sunday walk in January.

From Boscombe Pier to…
…Bournemouth Pier and back to…
…Boscombe Pier.
The view from Boscombe Pier.
You can read the history of both Boscombe Pier and Bournemouth Pier while having a walk on them. One of the boards that grabbed my attention was about a whale that washed up on the shore in 1897. Its skeleton was displayed on Boscombe Pier as a tourist attraction.
Seagulls sitting in synchrony.
The ocean is calling and I must go…
The only sentence that comes to my mind when I look at this photo is a famous tongue twister: She sells seashells on the sea shore. The sea shells that she sells are seashells I’m sure!
The beach provides pure freedom for dogs to be unleashed. Even if you don’t have your own dog, just looking at them playfully running with sticks thrown by their owners is a pleasant experience.
‘Shell’ we dance?
On your way to Bournemouth Pier, you’ll see colourful huts that could be an amazing advertisement for a paint company. But who painted Bournemouth’s huts, I don’t know!
When I finally reached Bournemouth Pier I had a close encounter with some seagulls.
Trust me, having a walk by the sea makes you hungry. You can buy traditional fish & chips close to Bournemouth Pier at Harry Ramsden’s, a famous ‘chippy’ chain in England and Ireland. I’ll be honest – it was tasty, but it was definitely not the best fish & chips I’ve ever eaten. So if you’re looking for a genuine fish & chips experience, it’s not the place to go. Nevertheless, it tasted decent.

A pier-to-pier walk is an enjoyable and free activity in Bournemouth, even in January (provided it’s not raining!). The changing colours of the sky provided an amazing backdrop for my photos and the sunshine on our faces was more than desirable, especially in January. SEA YOU SOON!

The Alpine Market – Christmas Market in Bournemouth

Even though the Christmas Market had its grand opening 2 weeks ago,  I did not want to share any Christmassy images on my blog. I simply thought it was too early and I felt that during October and November we should pay tribute to a colourful autumn.  The start of December has got me into the Christmas spirit. I visit the Alpine Market almost every day, I have started buying Christmas decorations – I already have a Christmas tree with the whole deer family underneath. I am also almost ready for listening to Last Christmas and All I want for Christmas is you. Almost! 

Christmas deer at Marks and Spencer
Christmas decorations at Marks and Spencer

Like every year, Christmas Market stalls are located around The Square in the town centre between the Lower and Upper Gardens. It so happens that I live close to the Alpine market and pass by the food stalls almost every day. God help me when I smell and see all these goodies and happen to be hungry. It’s difficult to resist the temptation and as Oscar Wilde once said: “The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it”. So I eat 😉

The most popular food stall seems to be the one with German sausages called wursts. They are served in a white bun or cut into pieces and soaked in traditional curry sauce. The queue in front of this stall is always the longest!

If you want to try something typically English, you should go for Yorkshire pudding wrap. This is a baked Pudding which is almost like a cakey, crisp pancake filled with red cabbage and root vegetables like parsnip, carrots and potatoes. I cannot imagine anything more comforting on a cold day.

Yorkshire pudding wrap with cranberry sauce 

Another treat worth trying is a traditional French/ Swiss dish called Raclette. These are fried potatoes with some melted cheese and slices of beef. What is particularly satisfying to watch is a big chunk of cheese bubbling under a very hot grill before its put on the potatoes with a special knife. 

Hog Roast is a name given to the tradition of roasting a whole pig. In this food stall, crispy and tender pulled pork is put into a soft bun and served with different kinds of sauces.

Do I need to introduce churros? This Spanish/ Portuguese fried dough is served with cinnamon spices and hot chocolate and is simply a must try.


The Olde-English fudge stall offers different flavours of this candy made with a mixture of butter, milk and sugar. Fudge is very rich so eating one will satisfy your need for sweetness for the rest of the day. Perfect for a Christmas present. 


Chutneys and chilli products seem to be very popular in English food markets. The Alpine Bournemouth Market is no exception in this case and you can find here two stalls selling jars with interesting combinations of flavours. I could not resist buying some of them. They were meant to be Christmas presents, but I don’t think they’ll last.

I hope you have your local Christmas markets and are soon going to visit them, eat delicious artisan food from the local traders and drink some warming mulled wine. If so, what products do you buy at Christmas markets?