Bournemouth occupies an enviable position on the South Coast to explore the surrounding areas.

Head to the east and you come across the New Forest National Park, an area of natural beauty covering over 200 square miles, known for its heathland, forest trails and native ponies.

Head to the west and you come across the incredible Jurassic Coast, England’s only natural UNESCO heritage site, which stretches just shy of 100 miles from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset. 

Read on to discover more about these surrounding areas and hear from BU students too.

The New Forest National Park

A BU student mountain biking in the New Forest The rugged terrain of the New Forest is perfect for mountain biking

The New Forest National Park is just a short train hop away from Bournemouth and offers a huge variety of things to see and do. 

If you are keen to keep active, there are lots of fantastic walking and cycle trails to discover. Plus there’s the New Forest Water Park (think Total Wipeout) and Spinnaker Sailing Club if you are a watersports pro or novice. 

Some of its other gems include Beaulieu National Motor Museum (home to World of Top Gear), Hurst Castle (Henry VIII's fortress by the sea) and Paultons Park, for those thrill-seekers among you!

There is always lots to do in the New Forest but it really does become a hub of activity in the summer months. There are loads of diverse events taking place, ranging from the Lymington Seafood Festival and Hampshire Food Festival to the New Forest & Hampshire County Show (to name just a few).

Beth Cordon, nursing student

“The New Forest is beautiful with so much open countryside. I went camping with my flatmates in the summer and had the most amazing weekend, exploring the area and making memories that I'll never forget.”

– Beth Cordon, BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing graduate

Read Beth's blog to see her favourite things to do in Bournemouth and Poole

The Jurassic Coast

Durdle Door on the Jurassic Coast Durdle Door, a natural limestone arch, is one of the Jurassic Coast's most iconic landscapes

The incredible sights of the world famous Jurassic Coast are just a short distance away from Bournemouth, easily reached by either car, bus or train.

The Jurassic Coast really does need to be seen to believed. As one of the most popular destinations in the UK and with its history dating back an outstanding 185 million years, there is bound to be something which takes your fancy.

Whether its a coastal walk along the stunning clifftops, relaxing on the pebble beaches, hunting for fossils or visiting a museum, the Jurassic Coast offers plenty of opportunities to escape everyday life.

BU blogger, Emma Brookes

“Being situated on the Jurassic Coast is a great excuse to get out and about for a bit of exploring and what better way to start than by taking a walk down to the stony beaches of Hengistbury Head? If you want to go a bit further along the Jurassic Coast, the naturally sculpted rocks of Lulworth Cove can be reached, by car, within an hour.”

– Emma Brookes, BSc (Hons) Marketing graduate

See Emma's blog to discover more about making the most of living in Dorset

More of the local area