"Bournemouth - where Tolkien holidayed!" Top 5 Page for this destination Bournemouth by ettiewyn

Bournemouth Travel Guide: 214 reviews and 485 photos

I had wanted to go to Bournemouth for a long time, mainly because it was the place where famous writer J.R.R. Tolkien, my all time favourite author, had holidayed for many years and even lived for three years. I wanted to see the town that had attracted him and his wife so much!
When my big UK trip crystallized into actual plans, I decided that I wanted to spend about a week in the area and to explore some places in Dorset and Hampshire. I was looking for a place where I could make a base and reach all the places I wanted to see by public transport, and in the end I decided for Bournemouth - not only because of Tolkien, but because it provided good train connections, because there was a company offering guided tours to some of the more remote places in Dorset, because I found a nice b&b, and because I thought it would be nice to spend some time on the beach.
However, I was not sure what to expect of Bournemouth. Most reports of my friends and on VT were not that favorable and I imagined a boring party town that does not have much else on offer.
But how wrong I was - I absolutely loved Bournemouth!!!

I stayed for nine nights and spent three days in the town itself, doing day trips to other places on the remaining days. Yes, it is true - the town centre of Bournemouth is not particularly pretty, but rather quite boring. And there certainly are many elderly people as well as many young party people.
Maybe it was because it was not yet high season, and so it was not nearly as crowded as it must be in summer, but I found nothing of it disturbing. I also saw many young families, and many locals, and I just found the atmosphere quite pleasant. I visited the beautiful gardens, the fantastic art museum, discovered more Tolkien remembrances than I had expected, and enjoyed a long walk on the beach. Using the train was fantastic, as my b&b was very close to the station, and so I had a really enjoyable stay in Bournemouth.
I especially liked the incredibly good weather - I was so lucky on this trip! - and that the town is so green. So many green bushes and trees, the birds singing and the sun shining, the fantastic beach and very friendly locals... I couldn't have wished for more!

Bournemouth itself is one of the younger towns in the UK, it was only founded in 1810 and over the following decades became a very fashionable resort famous for its good weather and its hospitals. In the Victorian age, many people came here to be treated for consumption and chest infections. Made famous by very good doctors and its mild climate, Bournemouth was one of the most popular resorts in the UK, and many rich and famous people came here to enjoy its amenities. After this period was over, it still remained to be a favourite place for retired people, and now a mecca for language and summer schools as well as stag and hen parties - quite an odd mixture maybe, but coming here off season I did not see the effects so much.
It is still possible to see remainders of the glorious past, and I was simply happy to visit some places connected to Tolkien - you can read about it in my tips.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A great beach, beautiful gardens, interesting literary connections, a good base for discovering the south of England
  • Cons:I think that it must be very, very crowded in high season
  • In a nutshell:There is so much more to it than I expected!
  • Last visit to Bournemouth: Mar 2012
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (24)

Comments (8)

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Jun 29, 2012 at 4:12 AM

    One of my bestfriends who I moved in with, actually shed been living at the apartment at Wandsworth in my HP when I moved into it, moved down to Bournemouth with her family and I travelled down to visit her there quite a number of times...didnt know Tolkien was here though! shame we didnt link up with your visit to this part of England but youve got a lovely page here!...thats amazing - Tolkiens house was allowed to be torn down yet most councils wont even as much allow property owners to cut their trees down!

  • vichatherly's Profile Photo
    Jun 28, 2012 at 4:46 AM

    Great pages. Loved the Tolkien house story. Also lovely clouds on Bournemouth beach. In my younger days I used to camp in and around Poole and Swanage. Slept in Poole park for a couple of nights, unofficially of course.

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Jun 25, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    Mirjam, another fantastic page about your adventures in England. Your B&B really seems to have been a very good find. I also like your report about the guided tour along the Jurassic Coast. Even better that you got inspired by VT to explore this part of England. Well done.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jun 17, 2012 at 3:50 AM

    Hi Mirjam, it seems to me I have read some of these tips before, but evidently I neglected to leave a comment. Anyway, I like your writing and photos (and the quotes from Tolkien’s letters). I look forward to meeting you next Wednesday at the VT meeting in Bonn.

  • Redang's Profile Photo
    Jun 15, 2012 at 3:19 AM

    So many times in the UK, but never in the south (nor Wales)

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Jun 4, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    I have never been to Bournemouth, but think it is a good idea to visit off season. Walking along that long sandy beach sounds to be very nice.

  • Britannia2's Profile Photo
    Jun 4, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    I think I shall have to go back in the quiet part of the year - as always so well written and photographed. I enjoyed this very much.

  • iaint's Profile Photo
    Jun 3, 2012 at 3:55 AM

    Like the pages. I was there in April, and also liked it more than expected.


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