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!

South Coast Roast Café

This post is the first in a series devoted to exploring cafés in Bournemouth where you can eat tasty breakfasts and brunches and drink good quality coffee. You can trust my taste buds as I am a demanding foodie and I don’t tolerate mediocrity when it comes to food! This article is a review of the South Coast Roast Café on Richmond Hill in the town centre (address here).

We visited South Coast Roast on a Sunday morning at around 10 o’clock. When we entered the place, which has a raw industrial design and stark wooden tables, the choice of background music was more than surprising. Hearing the Prodigy’s Firestarter that early in the morning, when you rather expect smooth jazz, seemed weird at first, but it awoke our spirits and we found ourselves extremely energetic without even drinking any coffee. Seeing the enthusiastic staff preparing freshly ground coffee and cooking from local ingredients only added to the general feeling that South Coast Roast is a lively and vibrant place.

Salad, grilled tomatoes, chorizo sausage, potato hash and a fried egg
salmon, grilled tomatoes, poached eggs, an avocado toast, and home made chilli jam

The menu offers healthy and original breakfasts and brunches from local produce. The delicious dishes are for omnivores, vegetarians and vegans alike, and you can also find some gluten-free options. Whatever preference or philosophy for food you have, you’ll find something to enjoy at South Coast Roast. Our choice was a ‘Bondi Breakfast with Salmon’ and a ‘Chorizo & Potato Hash’.

Our breakfast was super tasty, fresh and fulfilling (for both me and a 2-metre tall man so yes, truly fulfilling!). We ordered coffee classics – latte and cappuccino – and were really pleased with their richness and aroma. An interesting fact is that South Coast Roast works with a local coffee roasting company called Bad Hand Coffee (link to their website here) – I’ll be sure to write more about them in the future.

Summing up, the South Coast Roast Café is a remarkable place to eat breakfast or brunch. This was definitely not my final visit! The cost of a dish is on average £7 per person and the cost of a cup of coffee is around £3. One final thing that I love is that they don’t serve take away cups and will give you 25p off every drink if you have a reusable one. Ten bonus points for being environmentally friendly!

Winchester Christmas Market

I have always said that Bournemouth is in a perfect location because it’s not far away from famous cities and tourist attractions. Winchester is one of them. It’s the former capital city of England and is located only 40 miles (approx. 64 km) away from Bournemouth. It’s famous for Winchester Cathedral (the longest Gothic Cathedral in Europe), the legendary Round Table of King Arthur, and the city’s beautiful Gothic architecture. During the winter period, it’s also famous for its Christmas Market, which is located around the charming Cathedral. Here is my photo collection from a Sunday visit to the market. I am sorry to disappoint all crafts lovers, but the photos are mainly related to food. I can’t help it, I’m a foodie and food stalls interest me the most!

Christmas decorations with Winchester Cathedral in the background
The Market is very busy at weekends. Be prepared to walk like a penguin, but don’t give up – it’s still worth going there!
A big pot of aromatic mulled wine
Italian chestnuts.
This bag cost me 3 pounds. Even though the chestnuts were a bit hard, I enjoyed them. They’re not easily available outside of the Christmas period so it’s good to eat them now!
Authentic crepes were sold by two French ladies. I chose a classic one with lemon juice and sugar. Delicious in its simplicity.
I love taking photos of food menus on a black chalkboard. It always looks amazing.
The High Street in the centre of Winchester. Not sure how to feel about this cute dog being used by the lady as a Christmas decoration…I found out that some people reported it to RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Hopefully, it’s nothing to be worried about.
Street artist
 I’m glad we stayed in Winchester until it got dark. The Christmas lights added to the Christmassy atmosphere.

I would love to know what your favourite food stall is at Christmas Markets 🙂 

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? 

New Forest – Burley

Believe it or not, there’s a magical woodland containing unicorns only around 18 miles away from Bournemouth. It’s called the New Forest.

Contrary to what the name suggests, the New Forest is anything but new. It’s actually an ancient woodland which will stun you with its beautiful landscapes and wild animals like horses, deer and pigs. It became a National Park in 2005 and is an absolute “must go”!

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The name was given to the Forest by William the Conqueror, who in the 11th century proclaimed it a royal forest and his new hunting area. He would hunt in the woods for deer and wild boar with his guests and held big feasts afterwards. I wish I could take part in one of those feasts (no offence to vegetarians and hunting opponents, of course!). An interesting fact is that William’s son was shot by an arrow while hunting and it has never been explained if it was an accident or not.

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The New Forest contains many villages. I often visit one called Burley, where you can encounter wild ponies, typical cottages, cosy restaurants…and even some witches…

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In the 1950s, a woman called Sybil Leek used to live in Burley, but the poor thing had to move to America because her interest in astrology, occultism and a long black cloak made the locals think she was a witch! Nevertheless, Sybil’s presence and legacy are still noticeable. Burley’s shops offer souvenirs related to witchcraft including magical amulets, wolves, witches on brooms, unicorns (I told you!) and fairies.

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One of the biggest attractions of the New Forest is its wild horses. There are around 5,000 of them in the Forest and they wander around lazily. Their presence in the New Forest is estimated to date back around 2,000 years! Thanks to these grass eaters, the fields of the New Forest are always clean.

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The New Forest ponies walk graciously and they look very friendly, but they can actually kick and bite. I witnessed this myself when one lady, misled by its apparently gentle nature, approached a pony from behind. Nothing serious happened to her…well, apart from landing on the ground with a thud and an expression of embarrassment across her face! But it was a great reminder that we should respect the ponies’ wildness.

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The other heroes of the New Forest are pigs. Their function is very important because apart from looking cute, they eat nuts some of which are poisonous to the horses.

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So if you want to walk on the lands where William the Conqueror used to hunt, eat a nice dinner in a homely restaurant and have a wander in the forest to see white stallions walking beside you – the choice is simple.

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Autumn walk in Bournemouth Upper Gardens

Autumn is beautiful, but autumn in Bournemouth is simply stunning. The abundance of trees with colourful leaves is unbelievable and makes you feel as if you were in a magical land rather than on the south coast of England. There are hundreds of different shades all around you.

There are many places in Bournemouth where you can admire autumn at its best but if you happen to go shopping in the town centre and want to forget about the shopping madness, have a walk in Bournemouth Upper Gardens.

Not getting too much into historical details, in the late 19th century the Upper Gardens used to be private and belonged to one family called Durrant (one family!). I am dreaming of having my little garden and they had it all… Then, the Gardens were given as a lease to the Bournemouth Council. Today the Upper Gardens are divided into three themes: European, Asian and North American.  more here  img_20181111_1316271

While walking, bear in mind that most trees in the Upper Gardens are more than 100 years old. The biggest attraction is the North American Giant Redwood which is believed to be the biggest in the UK.

When I was younger, I used to collect leaves and dry them in books. It was always a nice surprise to find them after a year or two, with preserved colours of autumn. As I grew older, I forgot about these little pleasures, but this autumn I decided to take some leaves home. Hopefully, I will discover them next year and smile to myself, remembering the Sunday walk in the Bournemouth Upper Gardens.

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The very first post…

The idea of creating this blog is simple.  I am an expat living in Bournemouth, a beautiful seaside resort in the south of England. I would like to show how I see Bournemouth and its surroundings with my ‘foreign’ eyes. Simply my life in Bournemouth