5 of the best family-friendly attractions in Bournemouth
Bournemouth is a fantastic location for seaside family holidays. Not only is it exceptionally well placed as a base to go out and enjoy the surrounding Dorset area, but the town itself also has a considerable amount to offer families. We've picked five great options, some of them free, to make your family adventure in Bournemouth unforgettable.
Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf
Winner of the Dorset Tourism Award Large Attraction of the Year in 2020, the smugglers themed 18-hole adventure crazy golf is well designed and consistently scores highly for the amazing staff. They open Sunday-Thursday 10-8, Friday and Saturday 10-9 during the summer. Times differ during the off season so make sure you check before you plan your family golf tournament. Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf is super easy to find as it's on the seafront right near the pier.
Children Under 12: £6.60
Family group (up to 2 adults, 3 children): £28
Adult group (up to 4 adults): £36
The Science Zone
Located just outside Bournemouth, near Boscombe, The Science Zone is a great hands on discovery centre designed specifically for children and families. It also includes the only permanent planetarium in Dorset, so for any galactic fanatics this is the place to be. They have an advanced 4K digital planetarium that shows the real terrain of earth and planets. Other zones include musical zone, digging for fossils, explosive experiments, coding zone and dinosaur zone.
Prices vary per zone or for workshops but start at just £2.00 per person.
Grade II listed in the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens, Bournemouth Gardens offer free admission and plenty of fun for families. Together, they form a linear park and are split into three gardens: lower, central and upper totalling approximately 3 kilometers. There are guided walks through the gardens, or leaflets are available from the Tourist Information centre that includes information on self-guided walks.
The Lower Gardens runs from the pier to the town centre and is where you will find refreshment kiosks and street food. There is an aviary, art exhibition and mini golf (can you spot the theme in Bournemouth!).
The central gardens are a formally planted area with a pretty pergola over a bridge, tennis courts and cafe are in central gardens and it’s the location of the war memorial.
The Upper Gardens is the most peaceful area with more natural gardens and wildlife. There are ornamental rockeries, a folly and a large pond.
After all that walking you can reward your children with play areas and public toilets that you can find in the lower gardens.
Bournemouth and Boscombe Piers
Bournemouth has two piers, the main Bournemouth Pier and Boscombe Pier.
Bournemouth Pier has an amusement arcade at the entrance and great rides for younger children. If you time it right you'll also come across a live music on the pier featuring tribute acts. If this isn't enough to convince you to see the pier then how about the fact that it's got a gift shop, rock shop, a pier zip wire and caving experience! The pier is open betwee 9am -11pm 7 days a week, except during adverse weather.
Children over 5 years 90p and under 5’s are free.
The Victorian Boscombe Pier has recently had a £2.4 million restoration to make sure the structure is safe and accessible for people and it has free admission, unlike Bournemouth Pier. They call it a musical pier as there are several handcrafted musical instruments along the way for people to look at and try out. There is 'fish-friendly' mini golf course on this pier and it’s a great viewpoint to watch the surf school and surfers on Boscombe beach. The pier has really cool Victorian street lights and a heritage trail along the windbreak. The pier is open from 9am-11pm 7 days a week except during adverse weather.
Bournemouth beaches are famed for miles of golden sand from Poole Harbour to Hengistbury Head. Bournemouth enjoys a micro-climate meaning it has some of the warmest sea temperatures in the UK and the sandy beaches at Bournemouth are the ultimate in family friendly seaside fun. The long golden sands are split into smaller beaches to make it easier to identify them; they are all sandy and ideal for families.
You can hire deck chairs, windbreaks, sunbeds and parasols on the main Bournemouth Beach. Some beaches are available to dog walkers in the summer months too so if your little ones aren't too keen on dogs then make sure you know which beaches allow dogs before you set off. If you're in any doubt and need some help then there are several beach offices to help you along the 7-mile stretch of beaches.
If you don’t feel like walking back to your accommodation or want to try a different beach further away, there's a Land Train to hop on and off when you don’t feel like walking. Adult prices start at £3.30 and prices depend on where you board and how many stops you travel for.
So there you have five of the best family activities in Bournemouth that are suitable for all ages. There’s plenty to see and do in Bournemouth for all families whether you are there for just a day or fancy staying longer. Have fun!