Bournemouth is a seaside resort on the southern coast of England. It's known for having 7 miles of beaches, Victorian architecture and buzzing nightlife in areas such as the Triangle. The resort is also home to Bournemouth Pier, an activity centre with an obstacle course, a climbing wall and a zip line. The 2-mile long Bournemouth Gardens offer rock gardens, an aviary and plant species from three continents.
While on your horse riding holiday you will get a chance to get to know this area.
Things to do and see
For any non-riders in the group, there is plenty to do.
- Old Harry Rocks are a natural attraction featuring cliffside views of unique chalk formation, accessible by scenic walks. Located at Handfast Point, on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset, they mark the most easterly point of the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Brownsea Island is the largest of the islands in Poole Harbour in the county of Dorset, England. The island is owned by the National Trust. For such a little island, it has had a remarkably varied history: military stronghold, industrial site, refuge for wildlife and Edwardian society. It has also been pillaged by Viking raiders and blitzed by Nazi bombers. Hiking, picnics and wildlife viewing, especially of red squirrels, are popular at this historic spot.
- Bournemouth Pier - Victorian pier with an amusement arcade, a variety theatre, a cafe and boat trips along the coast.
- Corfe Castle - Uninterrupted views of the Isle of Purbeck and plenty of places to walk around the ruins. The first stone of Corfe Castle was laid more than 1,000 years ago. Since then it’s seen its fair share of battles, mysteries and plots. It’s been a treasury, military garrison, royal residence and family home. The Square, Corfe Castle, Wareham BH20 5EZ tel: 01929 481294
- Swanage Railway The 12 mile return trip takes you through the beautiful Purbeck countryside and includes stunning views of the iconic remains of William the Conqueror's Corfe Castle. Railway Station Approach, SWANAGE, Dorset, BH19 1HB
- Studland Bay – a vast area of sandy beaches and heathland, a fascinating mosaic of habitats from heaths and downland to wetlands and the shoreline. Run by the National Trust featuring a four-mile stretch of golden, sandy beach, with gently shelving bathing waters and views of Old Harry Rocks and the Isle of Wight. Studland Bay is ideal for water sports – with hire shops for boats and kayaks. The heathland behind the beach is a haven for native wildlife. Designated trails through the sand dunes and woodlands allow for exploration and spotting of deer, insects and bird life as well as a wealth of wild flowers. Studland, near Swanage, Dorset tel: 01929450500
- Oceanarium Bournemouth - Waterfront aquarium & feeding sessions. Explore marine ecosystems at a waterside aquarium and an underwater tunnel. Pier Approach, Bournemouth BH2 5AA tel: 01202 311993
- Sandbanks Ferry - is a vehicular chain ferry which crosses the entrance of Poole Harbour in the English county of Dorset. The route runs from Sandbanks to Studland and in doing so connects the coastal parts of the towns of Bournemouth and Poole with Swanage and the Isle of Purbeck. This avoids a 25-mile journey by road on a return trip.
Where to eat and drink
Of course, with such a breathtaking coastline many of the pubs and bars on the seafront and along the clifftops offer sea views. Many of the bars in the coastal hotels are open to the public so you can enjoy panoramic vistas over a glass of wine. There are also plenty of country pubs in the villages serving hearty food and local beers.
- The Pig on the beach a rustic-chic, eclectic hotel set in a country house offering a restaurant/bar & sea views. Manor House, Manor Rd, Studland, Swanage BH19 3AU tel: 01929 450288
- Shell Bay Seafood Restaurant Casual dining by the beach with a menu of seafood and more, plus outside tables and sea views. Ferry Rd, Studland, Swanage BH19 3BA tel: 01929 450363
- Rick Stein, Sandbanks - With views across Poole Harbour, the perfect spot for a relaxed seafood meal, family get-together or equally a romantic meal for two. Rick’s classic dishes, including Dover sole a la meunière, fruits de mer and lobsterthermidor. While here you can check out the ‘Golden Mile’ ‐ a stretch of luxurious housing along the Sandbanks Peninsula which has been described as one of the most expensive places in the world to live! 10-14 Banks Rd, Poole BH13 7QB tel: 01202 283000
- The 1859 Pier Cafe & Bistro – Casual dining with harbour views. Swanage Pier, Swanage tel: 01929 500387
How to get there
Accommodation for this trip is usually in Dorset seaside town of Swanage, journey time from London just over 2 hours.
From London, Midlands and North - Follow the major motorway routes (M1 and M40) which connect with the M25 London orbital motorway to arrive on the M3, then M27 through the New Forest and finally the A31. Alternatively follow the M40 connecting with the A34, which leads to the M3, M27 and then A31. However, there are many variations of routes and a satellite navigation system, use of Google Maps or an online route planner can be helpful to decide on the best route to meet your needs. When we send you booking information we will supply postcodes for the stables and accommodation.
From the West the M5 motorway from the west (via Bristol) and west of the country (Devon and Cornwall) joining the A37 at Yeovil or the A35 at Honiton.
Travelling by air to Bournemouth, Exeter or Southampton the transfers are under an hour
Car Hire available via Wareham U-Drive tel: 01929 553870
The nearest railway station to Swanage is Wareham. South Western Rail from Waterloo is about a 2 hour journey. Wareham is approximately 9 miles from Swanage and you will need to make arrangements to travel from Wareham to Swanage.
Swanage Associated Taxi - 01929 421122
Swanage and Purbeck Taxi - 07969 927424
Old Harry Rocks
Old Harry Rocks at Handfast Point
Sandbanks Chain Ferry