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.

‘The Mousetrap’ by Agatha Christie at the Pavilion

*Ad press event*

I’ve always loved musicals, plays and live performances, so when I was offered the opportunity to see and review Agatha Christie’s murder mystery entitled The Mousetrap, I decided to go for it. My excitement got even bigger when my colleague told me it was the longest-running West End show, with over 25,000 performances since 1952! The Mousetrap will be playing at the Pavilion between 5th and 10th August 2019. You can book tickets here.

bhlivetickets Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre

The plot of the play revolves around eight people trapped in a guesthouse because of the heavy snow. They suddenly discover that there is a murderer amongst them. The past traumatic experiences of each character are slowly revealed and the motives make you guess who committed the crime.

The Mouse trap by Agatha Christie is a murder mystery

I obviously won’t tell you who the killer is, not only because nobody likes spoilers, but also because the audience of the play was asked to keep it a secret for the rest of our lives! The play is worth seeing not only for the mysterious atmosphere and the feeling of suspense, but also because of the black humour used throughout the play by its talented actors.

So once again, if you want to see the longest running West End show and experience the nail-biting moment when the murderer is revealed, hurry up and book it here. The Mousetrap will be playing at the Pavilion only until Saturday 10th August!

The Pavillion Theatre in th Lower Gardens.
Located in the Lower Gardens, the Pavilion Theatre is a 1930s Art Deco building where you can watch performances, plays and concerts all year round.

Cider tasting event at The Stable

*AD – press event* After their pizza making event, a cosy pub in Bournemouth called The Stable invited the Bournemouth Bloggers again. This time it was for a cider tasting run by the biggest cider expert in the area – Ross Duncan. We had the chance to taste 10 different ciders which are nominated for the Cider of the Year award. The evening was fantastic and I found out a lot of interesting and fun facts about cider.

I have to admit, and please excuse my ignorance, before the event I was convinced that cider was an alcoholic drink made only from apples. While it’s true for the majority of ciders, there are other fruits like apricots, cherries, pears and rhubarb used to make cider and I strongly encourage you to try them as they are truly delicious.

Ross guided us through ten different flavours of cider, asking us about the sensations we could feel in different parts of our mouth. I realised after a while that I had to be careful – some ciders tasted like juice so it was easy to forget I was drinking alcohol! After tasting the third cider, I started to feel a bit tipsy! We were also offered some nibbles like crackers and cheese and had a short break for some mouth-watering pizzas and salads.

A slice anyone?

Some of the the ciders were more traditional-tasting, which I would describe as sharp and bitter, and probably they would appeal more to men than women. One of the ciders actually smelt of a farm…yes, you read correctly, it smelt like the countryside, and that is apparently a sign of a good cider!

My favourite ciders were the fruitier ones, and my ultimate winner was one with rhubarb juice called No.8 from Crafty Nectar (the name sounds like Chanel No. 5…well, almost! 😉 ). I would also recommend a sparkling cider from Kent called Nightingale, which has got a light colour and is similar in taste to prosecco. You can read the description of all 10 ciders nominated for the awards here, but you should obviously go to The Stable and taste them yourself! Other bloggers chose their winning ciders too and it was interesting to see how different our taste buds are!

I really enjoyed the event thanks to the outstanding expertise in ciders of Ross Duncan, a great atmosphere, and delicious food provided by The Stable’s chefs. If you are looking for an original present for someone, or an idea of how to spend an evening with friends in a social, but also educational way, go to the Stable for a cider tasting evening. You can choose different cider experiences which you can check out on their website here. Highly recommended!

Cheers!

Crafts and Giggles

As children, we have many opportunities to do crafts. But our fast-paced adult lives make it almost impossible to find a moment to focus on some more creative activities. I have always liked crafts, so when I got an invitation from Bournemouth Bloggers to attend a flower crown making event by Crafts and Giggles, I immediately said yes.

Crafts and Giggles is an independent company run by the adorable and talented Katie, who offers different kinds of craft workshops – you can see the selection of workshops here. She studied Art at Bournemouth University and is now providing her services at hen parties, birthdays, children’s parties and even corporate events. She mainly works in Dorset, but she also gets invited to other parts of England.

Katie in her workshop in Poole

Katie, who is also a blogger, taught us how to make flower crowns by using silk flowers, metal wires and self adhesive tape. Not only was it a creative activity, but also a mindful session which helped us to concentrate. In the era of the internet and being bombarded by too much information, being able to focus on one thing is priceless and necessary.

I chose white and pink flowers for my crown from tons of other colours provided by Katie. You can see some other colourful crowns created by Bournemouth Bloggers below.
As you can see, we enjoyed crown making a lot. Don’t we all look like mysterious nymphs? 😀 Emma, Maria, Lauren, me, Emma, Alice and Ciara (if you click on their names, you’ll be redirected to their fantastic blogs).
A ray of sunshine passing through a window in Katie’s office in Poole.
With Lauren from
http://www.laurenlovesblog.co.uk/

I would really recommend Crafts and Giggles to everyone who wants to have some fun while doing meaningful and creative activities. Even though we are Bournemouth Bloggers and usually use our phones all the time during events, this time we put down our phones for over one hour and immersed ourselves in the activity of flower crown making. I can only reassure you that your children will love it and so will adults.

A glamorous photo of Bournemouth bloggers in their flower crowns on the stairs.

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!

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!