The Beaches of Bournemouth
The beaches on Bournemouth's seafront, especially the stretch of beach around the pier, are some of the best and busiest resort beaches in the country. They are also some of the cleanest and safest beaches around. Recently, eight beaches on Bournemouth and Poole's 12-mile coast received the prestigious Blue Flag beach awards, which are handed out every year to the beaches with the cleanest swimming waters and litter-free sand, based on a 28-point criteria covering water quality, beach services, environmental management and safety, and environmental education. The beaches that received the Blue Flag award include Alum Chine, Durley Chine, Southbourne and Fisherman's Walk, Branksome Chine, Canford Cliffs Chine, Sandbanks Peninsular and Shore Road. The quality of the environment is only one of the two key features that make the beaches of Bournemouth a favourite holiday spot for both locals and visitors alike. The other key feature is that the beaches have so many other attractions in the area. Great environment and great fun - these are the secrets of Bournemouth beaches' success. During peak season, thousands of visitors a day visit the beaches, simply to lounge or to enjoy popular activities such as surfing, wind surfing and kite surfing. These water sports are available throughout the year, depending on wind and wave conditions. The seafront is clearly the central hub of the many exciting events of summer, such as weekly firework displays. It is in close proximity to many shops, dining places and entertainment venues. Within the Waterfront complex, you will find a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet, the Wacky Warehouse, a Big Steak Pub and the Exchange Bar and Grill. Right next door is a popular seafront restaurant and cafe called West Beach that was honoured as the AA's Best Seafood Restaurant for 2005-06. There is also a surf restaurant called Hot Rock's and Harry Ramden's. After a short stroll, you are faced with an entirely new set of many other entertainment options at Pier Approach and its surrounding areas. Walking along the pier and the Pier Approach, you will find a theatre, a host of amusement arcades, snack places and ice cream parlours. There are also a lot of traditional beach attractions, including deck chairs, beach huts and lifts. You can rent the huts for an entire day or even for a week. The beaches of Bournemouth are great for kids as well, particularly since a lot of fun events are lined up every summer. Since Bournemouth was the first town to have a Kidzone on its beaches, the safety of children or losing them in crowds isn't something you have to worry about as much as when you are on some other beach. The Kidzone involves giving children a colour-coded armbands that conforms to each stretch of the beach. If your kids do stray away, they won't stay lost for too long, even when the crowds are huge. If you have a pet, you can only bring it to the beach during off season and must always keep it on a leach. During the May to September peak period, dogs are not allowed on the beach. Local authorities strictly enforce this rule. Anglers can fish on the beach all year round from a designated platform on the pier. Smoking is prohibited in the section between Bournemouth and Boscombe piers. Surfers everywhere are dying in anticipation of the artificial surf reef that will soon be completed at Boscombe Seafront. As the first artificial surf reef in Europe, it is expected to greatly revitalise the area and add fuel to Bournemouth's growing reputation as the best surfing spot in the UK. Not only will the reef bestow on the Boscombe beach its own identity, it will surely entice even more visitors to visit Bournemouth every year. To get to the beach, start at the town centre and follow the directional signs leading from A35 Wessex Way and the A338 road. It's also a short walk through the Central and Lower Gardens. With so many car parks in the area, visitors don't have to worry about parking. The closest car park is on Bath South and, from there, you won't have to cross a road to get to the beach. Other parking places include Bath Road North, Priory Road, the BIC and the Central car park in Hinton Road. If you're heading to the beach via public transport, the nearest bus stop is by the BIC on Exeter Road, a short walk to the beach. You can take a Yellow Bus from most points in Bournemouth and Christchurch. There are also bus links from the Square and the Triangle.