Have a day in Bournemouth

As another of my “days out instead of a holiday” I had been planning to take the bus (using my bus pass!) to Bournemouth.  I really wanted to go before the school holidays proper started, so as things worked out it had to be the day after visiting the “dig”.  As my grandparents used to live in Southbourne (50 years ago!) I always assume that I know Bournemouth, but in fact I don’t think we often went into the town and even if we did it has changed enormously since then.

I packed a rucksack with suntan cream, sun hat, cardigan and waterproof – but in the end only needed half of those!  What a contrast in the weather – it was very hot and sunny at the dig, and though the forecast for the next day was cooler, it turned out to be damp, drizzly and misty with a cold wind – typical British summer holiday weather, in fact!

The bus down was better than a “standard” bus – the seats were more like those of a coach and more comfortable, too.  It takes about an hour and a quarter (depending on traffic and number of stops and number of passengers).  The only excitement on the way down was when the driver had to break hard as a trailer in front “lost” two portaloos!  Don’t know how he would get them back on – and they spilt chemical as they landed on their sides, of course.  We didn’t wait to see.

The Lower Gardens

The Lower Gardens

I got off at The Square and walked through the Lower Gardens to the sea-front and pier.  First stop was the Information centre to pick up and up-to-date map.  Then it was time for a coffee – but looking at the weather that changed into a hot chocolate!

Cafe for a drink - not very busy as it was a bit damp!

Cafe for a drink – not very busy as it was a bit damp and cold!

I looked at the pier and the beach.  There were some brave (mad?) people in the water, but it wasn’t very enticing.

The pier - and people in the water!

The pier and beach.

So I decided to walk along the Undercliff to the lift.  None of the beach huts along there were open – what a surprise, considering the weather.

Beach huts along the Undercliff

Beach huts along the Undercliff

When I got to the lift I had a surprise – there had been a cliff fall so the lift was closed.  One of the rails is bent and it was very obviously not up to being used.  They are checking the stability of the cliff and have matting to help and say it will be at least 2 years before it can be repaired.

Damaged East Cliff lift

Damaged East Cliff lift

Instead I walked back a bit and up the zig-zag to the top and the Overcliff.

Half way up the zig-zag

Half way up the zig-zag

I then walked back along the East Overcliff Drive to the pier, stopping to look in the gardens of the Russell-Coates gallery.  As it was lunch time and I couldn’t be bothered to go into the town, I had lunch at the Oceanarium cafe.  When I came out the land-train was there but it wasn’t due to run for nearly an hour, so I walked westwards along the promenade to the west cliff lift.  There didn’t seem to be much sign of that working, either, so as it was very damp and misty and windy with no views I walked back to the Lower Gardens……

Lower Gardens

Lower Gardens

……and strolled through them (less misty and breezy) and across the bridge back to the bus.

Lower Gardens bridge

Lower Gardens bridge

There was a short wait for the bus – which became full of foreign students – and an uneventful journey home.

So was it a good day out?  Well, I have known better, but it did help me re-orientate myself to Bournemouth.  I will have to go again as I didn’t paddle or have an ice-cream – both compulsory for the sea-side, but it really wasn’t the day for either.  I might get off the bus at Boscombe next time and walk towards Southbourne.

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