Being in Southampton puts us in a great location to visit so many seaside towns, all within a couple of hours drive. Although we adore our city very much, we’re loving the opportunity to take our boys to new places and exploring all that the UK South Coast has to offer.
Last weekend we set off for sunny Bournemouth for a day of exploring the various things you can do with kids in the town centre. We opted to do a little day trip, though we have stayed in the town a few times in the past, there are so many hotels in Bournemouth, you’re spoilt for choice.
Of course, we started off at the beach!
Don’t let these photos fool you, it was just before 10am when we arrived (we missed all the traffic from Southampton to Bournemouth so it’s definitely advisable to head out early especially when the weather promises to be good!) and although it was beautiful blue skies, it was windy and chilly. However, we were undeterred and had a lovely stroll on the beach before it got busy.
We then visited the Oceanarium, which is probably the go to place in Bournemouth if you have kids. Tickets are £12.50 for adults on the door (though if you book in advance you get £2 off each ticket) and the space is the perfect size for little explorers. Henry loved the penguins which we actually got a better view of in the cafe area. He also spent a lot of time taking photos on his camera which was super sweet. Again an early visit is great, we got in shortly after they opened and it made for a really leisurely visit. You can also go in and out as many times as you like on the day of your visit, just show them your ticket, or get a stamp to return.
As the Oceanarium is quite small we were done in there within an hour, so decided to give the boys a run/crawl around in Bournemouth’s Gardens. One of the things I love most about Southampton is the amount of parks, and Bournemouth isn’t lacking in green space either. The gardens have little rivers going through them too which I love, and the flowers are so well tended for. I think many people forget about these spaces in favour of the beach and it’s such a shame.
Before heading for lunch we headed to a local church which we found out had the grave of Mary Shelley in. If you’re a book nerd, you’ll know that Mary Shelley was the author of Frankenstein, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see her grave site and pay my respects. The church yard was also so beautiful with stone staircases set amongst headstones and lots of wild daffodils.
On our way to the church we spotted 7Bone Burger Co, and with a hankering for diner food we decided to stop by. As the restaurant is set slightly outside of the main hub of shops and food places it’s much quieter which is perfect if you want a quiet meal or are a little anxious about dining with kids.
Fortunately for us, both boys were exceptionally well behaved and because it wasn’t too busy our food arrived super fast. Dann is still talking about his burger (PB and J) and mine was pretty great too, though the wings are where my dreams are at right now. I’m actually planning on recreating them but with roasted cauliflower instead because they were so good.
To finish off our day we returned to the Oceanarium and the beach for ice creams as well as a quick walk up the pier. Of course I had to capture Dexter’s first beach experience too. I think I enjoyed it, but he was starting to get tired so wasn’t a little bit grumbly by this point.
We now have quite a lot of Bournemouth beach in our house courtesy of it coming home in everyone’s shoes, and oddly, Dexter’s belly button (which was impressive as he has three layers on) but that’s the fun of the beach right.
We’re already looking forward to our next trip to Bournemouth and maybe making it into a weekend so we can go exploring further afield.
*Post written in collaboration with Hotels.com – The spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own.