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Loads of free events happening in Bournemouth in 2016

Voted the UK’s best coastal resort, Bournemouth, with seven miles of golden sands and frequently warmer than average temperatures, the vibrant, cosmopolitan town of Bournemouth has it all. As well as a vast array of shops, restaurants, cliff-top hotels, bed and breakfast accommodation, the UK’s premier destination boasts historic gardens, an award-winning seafront and a buzzing nightlife.

Bournemouth’s excellent transport links, including an airport and trains direct from London Waterloo, make it the perfect base for exploring the history, heritage and picture-perfect scenery of Dorset.

Surrounded by rolling countryside, Bournemouth also enjoys 2,000 acres of parks and gardens located in the centre of the resort. The Lower, Central and Upper Gardens are Grade II listed and date back to the Victorian era.

Meanwhile, Bournemouth seafront features four Blue Flag beaches, two iconic piers and almost 2,000 beach huts, as well as the resort’s distinctive land trains and cliff lifts. The Fisherman’s Walk Cliff Lift has made it into the 2015 Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s shortest funicular!

Bournemouth is now known worldwide for its programme of free festivals and events all year round.

  • Festival and Event Dates for 2016:
  • Wheels Festival - 3rd-5th June
  • Bournemouth Food & Drink Festival – 17th-25th June
  • Bourne Free - 8th-10th July
  • Pier to Pier Swim - 10th July
  • Bournemouth Beach Soccer – 28th-31st July
  • Air Festival – 18th-21st August
  • Bournemouth Marathon - 1st-2nd October

Check it out

To find hotels and attractions in Bournemouth and save up to 80% on your hotel deal !! 

The Wheels Festival

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In spring, Bournemouth Wheels Festival roars into action with displays and demonstrations featuring monster trucks, supercars and stunt bikes. Over a quarter of a million people flocked to Bournemouth Wheels Festival this year as the high energy motorsport and freewheel action event – the biggest of its kind in the UK – returned to the resort for a second year, with a thrilling cliff top display from one of the country’s most renowned stunt drivers.


Attracting an estimated  310,000 people over three days of weather extremes, the second Bournemouth Wheels Festival featured non-stop, high speed action along the Demonstration Straight, monster truck metal crushing, gravity defying quad bike jumps and breath taking BMX and skateboard tricks. There was also a seemingly impossible stunt along East Overcliff Drive on the biggest day, dubbed Super Saturday.

Air Festival

August welcomes the internationally-renowned annual Bournemouth Air Festival, when the skies come alive with four days of day and night air displays as well as on-the-ground entertainment.

With a record-breaking 1300 boats in the bay on Saturday alone and total numbers topping 3/4 million, the award-winning Bournemouth Air Festival, supported by Kier, enjoyed its eighth year (20-23 August) in spite of weather extremes – welcoming new displays from the MiG 15 and Hawk T2 Role Demo Team as well as an emotional farewell from festival favourite, the Vulcan against a backdrop of a flotilla of Royal Navy ships.

Two glorious days on Friday and Saturday and unexpectedly clear skies on Sunday attracted wide eyed visitors to the UK’s largest free festival, to enjoy displays from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, Chinook, Tutor, Black Cats, Twister Duo, Tigers Parachute Display Team, Eurofighter Typhoon, B-17 Flying Fortress, Blades Aerobatic Display Team and Sea Vixen. While the world-renowned Red Arrows stole the show as usual performing on all four days, 2015 also saw the welcome return of the Matadors Display Team and Patrouille Reva. The keenly awaited Vulcan XH558 gave two star turns in her spectacular final farewell to mixed emotions from South Coast fans on both Saturday and Sunday.

Bournemouth’s excellent transport links, including an airport and trains direct from London Waterloo, make it the perfect base for exploring the history, heritage and picture-perfect scenery of Dorset.

Bournemouth’s excellent transport links, including an airport and trains direct from London Waterloo, make it the perfect base for exploring the history, heritage and picture-perfect scenery of Dorset.

To top off the season, Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival takes place in October, showcasing cultural delights from the world of music, film, dance, arts and performance. Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival is a fantastic fusion of dance, music, poetry, cinema, theatre, art, literature, family and outdoor events – taking place at venues, both familiar and unusual across the UK’s leading resort. 

Arts Bournemouth works all year round with local artists, arts and educational organisations and national arts agencies to bring together the annual festival. Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival is jointly funded by the Arts Council and Bournemouth Borough Council.

While in Bournemouth, holidaymakers and residents alike have a wide range of attractions on their doorstep.

Now a well-established world-class venue, the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) hosts pop concerts, conferences and exhibitions throughout the year, while the Pavilion Theatre hosts West End shows, dance performances and pantomimes.

There is also plenty to keep ‘outdoorsy’ types amused from paddle-boarding and sea kayaking at the UK’s first Coastal Activity Park to more leisurely pursuits on the area’s scenic golf courses and lush bowling greens.

A sublime mix of evocative Victorian history alongside modern living, Bournemouth is a bustling yet picturesque destination with a wealth of accommodation and activities to suit all tastes and budgets.

How to get there

Bournemouth’s excellent transport links, including an airport and trains direct from London Waterloo, make it the perfect base for exploring the history, heritage and picture-perfect scenery of Dorset.

Where to stay

Bournemouth has a vast array of accommodation from 4 star hotels to cosy B / B´s, Holiday Parks and camping to self-catering accommodation, Bournemouth has it all. For more information visit:

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What to do and Where to Go

Gardens Bournemouth offers 2,000 acres of glorious gardens and parks just waiting to be explored all year round.

Resized familyBeach Seven miles of award-winning beaches! Nestled beneath a magnificent cliff line, the bay enjoys its own micro-climate, some of the warmest sea temperatures in the UK and stunning views of the Isle of Wight and the Purbecks. Whatever you want from a day at the beach, you’ll find it all here.




Cycling  Whether it’s ambling along taking in the beautiful scenery, a sunset cycle along the promenade or an off-road inland adventure – Bournemouth is a brilliant place for fun on two wheels. Do you love rough and exhilarating downhill rides? Or speed-racing on roads with the pals? Or simply enjoying flat and safe cycling with the family and maybe teach your youngest how to ride? Bournemouth has all the options for every age and ability. From scenic flats to strenuous hill rides, Bournemouth and the surrounding areas are a magnet for cyclists. There are also several bike hire options if you haven’t got your own, making life easy. Bike hire and cycling is great for groups and can easily be catered for if organised in advance.

Walking If you’re after an activity that is suitable for the whole family, full of inspiration that benefits both mind and body, then these walks in and around Bournemouth in Dorset are ideal. And what’s more, they don’t cost a penny.

Attractions  Bournemouth has an amazing collection of activities and attractions for all ages. Dorset has plenty of history, heritage and culture, including historic castles, fantastic art collections, stately homes and museums displaying everything from classic motors to terracotta warriors. Learn even more about Dorset’s history and visit one of the many churches, chapels or castles around the local area.

Shopping In the event that you might need a break from lazing on the beach or splashing in the sea, then why not release your inner shopaholic and explore Bournemouth’s fabulous selection of shopping? Independent boutiques, designer brands and your high street favourites all come together in a celebrated assortment for the consummate consumer. For shipshape shops, bold brands and quirky curiosities come to Bournemouth and shop ’til you drop!

Exploring Beyond Bournemouth  Explore beyond Bournemouth and discover beautiful countryside and picturesque villages steeped in history and just waiting to be discovered. Whether you venture north, east or west of Bournemouth, you’ll be sure to find something to delight you.

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