Monday, 18 April 2011

BOURNEMOUTH

On the rare occasions when the UK experiences a summer heatwave, prompting tabloid newspapers to scream predictable headlines such as “Phew what a scorcher!”, the accompanying photograph is almost invariably of a hideously overcrowded Bournemouth beach. This is because Bournemouth is one of the UK’s premier beach resorts, combining as it does a heady mix of sandy beach, shopping, vibrant nightlife and a varied restaurant scene, with the glorious Dorset countryside as a backdrop. A couple of years ago, Bournemouth decided that these fine attributes were not enough, and in a bizarre quest to emulate surfing hotspots such as Sennen and Newquay spent 3.2 million pounds on an “artificial surf reef” with the aim of generating waves big enough to attract the tanned and bleached-hair surfing set. However, the reef has been dogged with controversy, and has now had to be closed due to safety fears after an inspection found that the reef had changed shape resulting in dangerous undercurrents.

Bournemouth for a long time had a reputation as a magnet for the “blue rinse brigade”, however several weekend visits there over the last decade suggest that this is absolutely no longer the case, if the town’s nightlife at the weekend is anything to go by. Travelling back in time, Bournemouth rears its head in the works of Thomas Hardy, featuring as Sandbourne in Tess Of The D’Urbervilles. Meanwhile, Robert Louis Stevenson arrived in Bournemouth in 1884, and while there wrote some of his most famous works, including A Child’s Garden Of Verses ,The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Kidnapped. In 1887 he swapped Dorset for Samoa. The jury’s out on whether this was a wise move or not.

Not surprisiingly, a resort such as Bournemouth has a heady array of events throughout the year. The Bournemouth International Centre has regular events and concerts including some big names. There is also entertainment available on the pier. For other events see here.

Webcam view of the pier.

Map of the area.

File:Bournemouth 07.JPG
Photo by Christophe Finto, via Wikimedia Commons


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