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 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?

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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