Things to do in Bournemouth in Autumn.

Autumn can be quite depressing – it’s the season when many people experience lowered moods. That’s why it’s so important to make the most of sunny days (whenever they appear), and go out and enjoy a stroll while watching colourful leaves fall. Going to a local farm to pick some seasonal fruits and vegetables, or mushroom picking in the forest should absolutely be on your autumnal ‘to do’ list too! In today’s blog post, I will describe some activities you can do in Bournemouth and the surrounding area that can make autumnal melancholy and gloominess a bit more bearable.

Upper Gardens, Autumn 2019
It might be cold, rainy and gloomy, but the autumn has so much to offer…

Go to the New Forest

I don’t need to introduce the New Forest to locals, but if you are a tourist or a student in Bournemouth, visiting this National Park is a must. Wild ponies, deer, pigs, and spectacular purple heathland are some of the wonders awaiting you in the New Forest. If you want to know more about one of the New Forest’s fascinating villages, Burley, I wrote about it here last autumn. The legend of the witch who used to live there will get you into the Halloween mood.

New Forest Ponies
Wild ponies in the New Forest are friendly, but don’t approach them from the rear – I witnessed one kicking a lady!
New Forest ponies
Deer in the New Forest
Seeing one deer is something special, but seeing hordes of them is an unforgettable experience.
Heather in the New Forest
Heather in the New Forest.

Another thing you can do in the New Forest is mushroom picking, but only if you are able to distinguish the edible from the poisonous! I’m not an expert, but I can definitely spot the kings of mushrooms – ceps – which are very precious ingredients for restaurant owners. If you want to learn how to collect edible mushrooms, check out the foraging course the New Forest commission organises here. Mushroom picking in the New Forest is allowed, but not for commercial purposes. It means families who go foraging can pick up to 1.5 kg.

Once you learn how to collect edible mushrooms, try making risotto. The one we made with the New Forest ceps tasted heavenly and made me grateful for the amazing fruits that autumn bears – wild mushrooms.

Ceps, New Forest
The kings of mushrooms – ceps! We were lucky to find some of them to make home-made mushroom risotto.

Go for a walk to the Gardens and take some ‘perspective’ photos with leaves

I live close to the Upper Gardens, which are in the town centre. I go there for autumn, spring and even winter strolls and I’ve written about its history and plants here and here. You can make your autumn walks unique by taking perspective photos with leaves. Using leaves is an original and creative way of capturing an autumnal atmosphere on your phone or camera. Simply grab a leaf or two and play with your imagination. I went for leaf wings and a skirt, as you will see in the photos below!

You can become an autumnal angel for a moment. This photo was taken with my Sony camera. It focused on my body and blurred the leaves creating a mysterious effect.

In order to take a perspective photo with a leaf, ask your photographer to hold a leaf in front of the camera while you move further away from them. It’s not easy to take a perfect shot, but it’s feasible if you cooperate and move according to the photographer’s instructions.

You need to find the right size of leaves in order to create the perfect illusion. Not every leaf will be good for taking a perspective photo

These are two examples of when perspective photos do not look as they should!

Go to a local farm to pick some seasonal vegetables.

There’s something satisfying about cooking dishes made from produce you picked yourself. I think it might be an inheritance from our ancestors who had to harvest according to the season to provide food for the family. It’s fun, educational and you can support local farmers. There are so many of them; we went to Sopley Farm, but you can Google other local farms in the area.

Dan's Tanners farm in Bournemouth, pumpkin
A pumpkin for Halloween anyone?

Whether you’re an autumn lover or you tend to experience some melancholy during this rainy and windy period, I hope I’ve encouraged you to take part in some of the activities that are featured in this blog post to cheer you up. Will you try them?

He just pretends to be an angel…little devil.

Most Instagrammable places in Bournemouth, part 2: Beach huts

When you visit London for the first time, taking a photo with Big Ben or the London Eye is a must. When you come to Bournemouth, you probably want to capture something which exemplifies its seasidey nature and will later on remind you of the time you spent by the sea. Well, what can be more seasidey than some colourful beach huts? Don’t get me wrong – I’m not comparing beach huts with Big Ben! I’m just saying that they are a symbol of Bournemouth and at the same time very Instagrammable!

The beach huts between Bournemouth Pier and Boscombe Pier

The most colourful beach huts are between Bournemouth Pier and Boscombe Pier. Some Instagram influencers adjust their outfits to the background of their photos and I can assure you that Bournemouth’s beach huts are painted in so many different shades that even the most colour-obsessed influencer will be satisfied.

The beach huts between Bournemouth Pier and Boscombe Pier

An interesting fact is that Bournemouth’s first beach hut, which was built in 1909, still exists, and you can find it near the Bournemouth Seafront Office. It’s easy to find, because it’s marked with a Blue Plaque.

The beach huts between Bournemouth Pier and Boscombe Pier

What can you use the beach huts for?

There are more than 250 beach huts available for hire, and you can read FAQs about hiring one of them here. People rent beach huts because it’s an easy and convenient way to spend a whole day at the beach with the possibility of cooking (gas stoves are provided) or hiding inside to avoid the wind or scorching sun. While passing by the beach huts, you’ll often see a group of friends, or families having barbecues, or people just lying on sunbeds next to their huts.

the beach huts on the way to Poole
One of the beach huts on the way to Poole
Mudeford beach huts
Mudeford beach huts

If you have a little bit more time, you can have a walk , a bike ride or take a bus to see the beach huts in Mudeford. They are much bigger so you can actually sleep there, which means you can rent them for a whole weekend. If you happen to want to purchase one of these colourful beauties, you’ll need around £250,000!

Approaching the beach huts from Hengisbury Head
Looking across the water at Mudeford beach huts
Looking across the water at Mudeford beach huts

If you think no-one sane will want to buy a beach hut which does not have a shower, toilet facilities, running water or electricity for £250,000, you’re mistaken! As a potential buyer, you would be on a waiting list of 30 people. You can read an article about it here.

One of the Mudeford beach huts
One of the Mudeford beach huts
Mudeford beach huts
The rainbow of colours

Even if I were a millionaire, I would hesitate to buy a beach hut in Mudeford. But while I was looking at the sea from a beach hut’s decking, admiring the pristine beach and the Isle of Wight in the background, I understood that the peacefulness and tranquility of this place may be priceless to some people…or at least tempt them to pay £250,000 just to wake up with this view.

The view from one of the beach huts in Mudeford
The view from one of the beach huts in Mudeford. Would you pay £250,000 to look at it on warm summer nights?

Would you agree with me that beach huts are a symbol of Bournemouth?

Mudeford beach huts

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?

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!