With just shy of eight hours of summer sunshine a day and some of the best beaches in the world, it’s not hard to see why Bournemouth attracts 3.5 million visitors every summer.

Bournemouth offers something for everyone – incredible beaches, a lively town centre, a state-of-the-art leisure complex and stunning green spaces.

Discover more about the town and what makes it such a special place to live and study.

Award-winning beaches

Bournemouth beach’s PierZip, the first pier to shore zip wire in the world

Everyone knows Bournemouth for its fine, golden sands.

From Hengistbury Head in the east through to Sandbanks in the west, in total Bournemouth and Poole offer 10 miles of stunning beaches, twelve of which hold the international Blue Flag award.

Whether you’re seeking out some much-needed chill-out time or you’re keen to try your hand at a selection of water sports (surfing, sailing, paddleboarding, kayaking, jet skiing – the list goes on), our coastal location really does have heaps to offer. 

What’s more, the beaches play host to a number of free events each summer, rounded off by the UK’s biggest air festival, while the weekly Friday night fireworks really are a must-watch.

Bustling town centre

South Coast Roast in Bournemouth South Coast Roast, a popular coffee shop in the Bournemouth town centre

Bournemouth boasts a lively, diverse and multifaceted town centre, with loads of choice when it comes to coffee shops, pubs, bars, clubs, music venues, theatres and restaurants.

The shops in town offer a good mix of high street brands, department stores and independent boutiques, while Bournemouth Square, the heart of the town centre, comes to life throughout the year, with a range of events taking place.

During July and August, the Square plays host to Summer Live, with live music, live art demonstrations, an outdoor garden bar, and much more.

As the seasons change, the Square and Lower Gardens are transformed into a winter wonderland. From the Alpine Lodge Bar to the dazzling Christmas Tree Wonderland, the Alpine Market to the Snowdomes, you'll soon have that festive feeling. 

“Bournemouth town centre has always been one of my favourite places. The best thing about the town centre is that although it's busy, there is always music playing in some corner.”

– BU international student Chandreyee

Hear from other BU students on what makes Bournemouth their home from home

Bh2 – state-of-the-art entertainment

Students in the cinema The Odeon cinema inside Bh2

Conveniently located just a short walk away from the Square stands Bh2 Leisure. Opened in 2017, this £50 million complex is Bournemouth’s very own one-stop shop for entertainment and eating out.

Home to a wide variety of restaurants (the likes of Brewdog, Nando’s, Prezzo, Slim Chickens, Five Guys and The Real Greek, to name a few), a 10-screen multiplex cinema, VR gaming and glow-in-the-dark golf, there is bound to be something that takes your fancy.

You can benefit from a variety of student discounts here too. 

The beautiful Lower Gardens – a place to relax

Bournemouths relaxing Lower Gardens Bournemouth’s Lower Gardens are perfectly located between the town centre and the beach

If you fancy a break from the golden sands between your toes, Bournemouth’s Lower Gardens are a great alternative to the beach.

Just a five-minute walk from the town’s main shopping centre, the beach and the pier, the Lower Gardens are the perfect place to while away time with friends and family, doing as little, or as much, as takes your fancy.

From music concerts in the Pine Walk bandstand to outdoor yoga, candlelight nights to art exhibitions, pop-up food outlets to mini-golf, or even a simple picnic, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Talya, student ambassador

“The Lower Gardens are amazing meeting spots to spend quality time with your friends whilst enjoying the summer sun.”

– BU student Talya, MsC Foundations of Clinical Psychology

Read Talya’s top 10 for things to do in Bournemouth

More of the local area