Getting To and Around Bournemouth
To get to most places in the UK, you usually take a bus, train or plane, To get to Bournemouth, a lot of people ride the ferry, especially from the continental ferry ports in nearby Poole, Portsmouth and Southampton. There are three major ferry companies: Condor, Brittany and P & O.
Condor Ferries provide a link to Bournemouth from the south coast, specifically from the ports of Poole, Weymouth and Portsmouth as well as the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey. They also have a link to the Channel ports to the west such as Cherbourg and St. Malo.
From mainland Europe, Brittany Ferries provide regular sailings to Poole, which is about a 30-minute drive by car to Bournemouth. P & O Ferries provide the same service from mainland Europe but leading to Portsmouth rather than Poole, Portsmouth is about an hour's drive to Bournemouth by car.
Bournemouth is easily accessible via the rail network. The Borough has two railway stations, the main station n Bournemouth itself and the Pokesdown station down East. Three trains have regular connections to Bournemouth: South West Trains, Virgin Trains and South Central Trains.
South West Trains boasts of a rather comprehensive train service starting from London Waterloo. Estimate time of journey to Bournemouth is one hour and seven minutes. South West Trains also has links to Southampton, Winchester and Basingstoke in the East and to Poole, Wareham, Dorchester and Weymouth in the West.
Virgin Trains has direct trains mainly serving destinations in the North and Northwest. To the North, Virgin train has links to Reading, Oxford, Birmingham and the Midlands, Manchester. To the Northwest, its links are to the Northwest, Yorkshire (Sheffield, Leeds, York), Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland.
South Central Trains serves destinations in the West-Coastway and only through changing at Southampton Central. South Central Trains also has links to Chichester, Worthing, Hove, Brighton and other Sussex Coastal towns. It also has links to Gatwick Airport and London Victoria.
For more information on railway links to Bournemouth, particularly through the full national network, you may call tel no. 8457 484950 for details.
There are two airports in Bournemouth that serve European and international travellers: the Southampton International Airport and the newly developed Bournemouth International Airports.
A host of regularly scheduled international air services as well as charter services service the Bournemouth route for both short and long haul trips.
Four of the leading international air services that have flights to Bournemouth are Flybe, Jet2.com, Ryanair and Thomsonfly.
If travelling to Bournemouth by bus, the best bet is the no-frills inter-city bus service known as MegaBus, which travels to Bournemouth from London and through Winchester.
The route to Bournemouth began in March 2004, travelling through Ringwood to London. It was part of a major development in the MegaBus line which saw the addition of an entire network of routes which included, aside from Bournemouth, routes to Brighton, Portsmouth, Southampton, Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth, Cardiff, Swansea and Birmingham.
The link to Winchester was added to the Bournemouth to London route in April 2005.
Beginning in March 2006, the London to Portsmouth route became a feeder to the London to Bournemouth service. This meant that, from London, passengers had to change buses in Winchester to get to Bournemouth.
Coach and Car
Travelling to Bournemouth by coach of car can be a fascinating experience.
To travel by coach, hop on one of the National Express Coaches that service the Bournemouth Travel Interchange, Boscombe and Westbourne. Four areas in Bournemouth serve as regular coach drop off points: Westover Road, Bath Road, Bournemouth International Centre (Exeter Road Extension) and Meyrick Park.
Parking is not a problem for either coaches or cars. Among the most accessible parking areas are Kings Park Car Park (across the Bournemouth Football Ground on Dean Park in Boscombe), Cotlands & York Road Car Parks (if after 6 p.m. and before 8 p.m., entrance is off St Swithuns Road and Holdenhurst Road) and the Queens Road Car Park (a small car park just off Wessex Way about half a mile from the town centre).
Cars may even park by the side of the beach along the seven mile stretch or sandy beaches.
Once within Bournemouth, getting around is not a problem. For most people, Bournemouth is just small enough to allow them to simply walk from one place to another. However, for those less thrilled to travel on their feet, there is a local bus centre that operates regularly in the city centre.
For a more relaxed and private means of transportation, Bournemouth has a lot of taxi services. Travelling for a short distance by taxi is still cheap, with charges starting at an initial £2. You actually get charged more if you queue for a taxi at a rank, say, at Holdenhurst, rather than when you use the phone to order for a cab.