A walk from Bournemouth to Westbourne

Continuing my series of walks in and around Bournemouth, we recently took a 3.5 mile looped walk along the promenade, through Alum Chine to Westbourne and then returning through the Central and Lower Gardens.  The scenery is varied and there are some lovely cafes along the way to stop off for a bite to eat and to enjoy a little rest.

Bournemouth Pier
Bournemouth Pier

Our walk started at Pier Approach which is the gateway to Bournemouth’s seafront and connects the town centre to the beach via the pretty Lower Gardens.  Bournemouth pier takes pride of place jutting out into the English Channel costing £1.30 to enter but free after 6.00 p.m. and during the winter months.  An amusement arcade sits at its entrance with all the usual slot machines and arcade games associated with the seaside.  A more recent addition is PierZip, a thrill seekers zip wire attraction taking riders 250 metres between the end of the pier and the beach.

Pier Approach, Bournemouth
Pier Approach, Bournemouth

Having set the scene for the start of our walk, we set off along the lower promenade to the west of the pier next to the Oceanarium.  Being close to the pier, this stretch of beach is always busy and is lined with seaside amusement arcades, ice cream kiosks and the upscale West Beach seafood restaurant with its large outdoor beachside terrace.

Bournemouth Beach Huts
Colourful beach huts along the seafront

Colourful beach huts are to be found all the way along the lower promenade and many of them can be rented by the day, week or for a longer period.  With their uninterrupted views they are perfect for relaxing and watching the waves gently lap the shore.  Bournemouth actually invented the modern day beach hut over 100 years ago and boasts some of the oldest surviving ones in the country.  The first of the town’s beach huts was built in 1909 and has been marked with a Blue Plaque.

Chineside Cafe, Durley Chine, Bournemouth
Chineside Cafe, Durley Chine

Along this stretch of coast are numerous densely wooded chines which are small river valleys formed by the continuous flow of streams running over the cliff edge.  The chines are unique to the Dorset coast and the Isle of Wight with each of the ones in Bournemouth having access up to the town via steep paths.

Durley Chine beach
Catching the last of the summer rays at Durley Chine beach

It took us just ten minutes strolling along the seafront to reach the first, known as Durley Chine which provides a scenic backdrop to its wide golden sands which gently slope down to the sea.  As the water is safe and shallow this beach is a popular choice for families.  Overlooking the beach is the stylish Chineside cafe/restaurant,  a pub and ice cream kiosk.

Middle Chine, Bournemouth
Middle Chine, Bournemouth

Our walk then took us to Middle Chine, the smallest of the chines and roughly half way between Durley and Alum Chine.  It may be smaller but its extremely pretty with its beach huts arranged in rows along the cliffs.

Alum Chine, Bournemouth
Signpost leading to the Tropical Gardens

On reaching Alum Chine we followed a footpath just to the east of the car park. Much of the chine is covered in pines and woodland attracting several species of birds and red and white butterflies which were fluttering beside the path.  This fairly steep uphill slope skirts a pirate themed children’s playground before reaching the tranquil gardens.

Bournemouth Tropical Gardens
Bournemouth Tropical Gardens

Bournemouth Tropical Gardens were first planted in the early 1920’s with major replanting and landscaping taking place in the mid 1990’s.  Lying in a sheltered position with the cliff for protection, a wide variety of tropical and sub-tropical plants including Chusan Palms and Yuccas can thrive there.

Bournemouth Tropical Gardens
Bournemouth Tropical Gardens

An information board in the gardens explained how Alum Chine got its name.  Interestingly, this was after a small mine established here in 1564 to extract alum and copperas.  The alum was used in manufacturing and medicine whilst the copperas (ferrous sulphate) was used for dye-making and ink.

Westbourne Arcade, Bournemouth
The entrance to Westbourne Arcade

Close by, we passed the Argyll Gardens Bowling Green before reaching West Overcliff Drive which took us into the affluent suburb of Westbourne.  This is one of my favourite parts of Bournemouth with its attractive centre retaining a village feel.  Its two main streets are lined with many small independent shops and cafes and these are linked by the beautiful Westbourne Arcade.

Westbourne Arcade, Bournemouth
Interior of Westbourne Arcade

This stunning Victorian arcade with its symmetrical facades of red brick and stone at either end and a glazed roof has been well preserved and contains an eclectic mix of shops and cafes including the wonderful Renoufs Pantry.  With more than 200 types of cheese on offer, it’s foodie heaven for me and definitely worth popping in to take a look.

Renoufs Pantry, Bournemouth
The wonderful Renoufs Pantry

Another ‘must visit’ place in Westbourne is Chez Fred just outside the arcade on Seamoor Road.  Run by three generations of the same family, it’s been serving up award winning fish and chips since 1989.  There’s both a takeaway and restaurant but be warned, you will probably need to queue awhile to be seated but the wait is definitely worthwhile as the food is delicious.

Chez Fred, Westbourne, Bournemouth
Chez Fred, the famous Fish and Chip shop

Lining the restaurant’s wall are photos of famous people who gave dined there whilst visiting the town.  These range from celebrities appearing at Bournemouth’s theatres to politicians attending their annual conferences.

St. John's Church, Bournemouth
St. John’s Church, on Surrey Road

After our shopping and cafe stop, we were ready to return to Bournemouth by a different but equally attractive route.  From the converted supermarket chapel on the corner of Poole and Milburn Roads we turned into Westbourne Close.  Our stroll then took us onto the delightfully named Pine Tree Glen which led us past St. Michael’s church and through a short under-road tunnel onto Surrey Road.

Bournemouth Central Gardens
Walking alongside the Bourne Stream in the Central Gardens

Slightly further and we had arrived at the far end of the Central Gardens where we wandered along a footpath beside the Bourne stream.  These gardens are attractive with their many weeping willow trees and formal flowerbeds and much quieter than the Lower Gardens were our walk would take us next.

Bournemouth Town Hall
Bournemouth Town Hall

Soon after passing the tennis courts and a children’s adventure playground we were approaching the end of the gardens with the majestic town hall to one side and war memorial in the centre.

The Square, Bournemouth
The Square

On leaving the gardens we walked through the town’s bustling square before crossing a narrow road (beware of buses here) into the Lower Gardens. These gardens, linking the town centre with the seafront have several small cafes, a mini-golf course, aviary and a bandstand where music can frequently be enjoyed during the summer months.

Bournemouth Lower Gardens Bandstand
A military band playing in the Lower Gardens

A few steps further and the Big Wheel had come into sight and we had completed our looped walk to Westbourne.  I hope you have enjoyed this walk and might be inspired to take this route if you are visiting Bournemouth sometime.

Bournemouth Big Wheel, Pier Approach
The Big Wheel at Pier Approach


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Bournemouth Seafront and Westbourne



37 thoughts on “A walk from Bournemouth to Westbourne

    1. Patricia Selous

      Having lived in Bmth for quite a few years and lived near the chines we have walked down them many times. Am sure the chines were formed back in the Ice Ages by the thawing of ice washing away rock and soil.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. A lovely walk to take with you this morning! The arcade is so beautiful with those archways and the brickwork! And the colorful beach huts are just begging for visitors to stroll by them. My day is off to a great start with such a lovely walk 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I think you know, Marion, just how much I love this part of Bournemouth. Your post reminded me that’s it’s really time for me to return to Westbourne! Strangely, although I know the majority of places you have described, I have yet to visit the cheese emporium. This must be rectified!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great post and amazing photos! The coastal views around the UK are one of the reasons why I would be eager to explore your part of the world, Marion, especially places like Bournemouth Pier where you can soak up the sun and go for a ride on The Big Wheel. Thanks for sharing, and have a nice day. I hope your trip around Ireland and Northern Ireland is going well 🙂 Aiva xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Beach huts are traditionally British Linda and look so bright and cheerful along our seafronts although we don’t actually ever use them! It was such a pleasant walk and without really noticing, we covered quite a distance. Hope your weekend is going well too. Marion

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent walk Marion to pass by life as it goes on. I never really understood the beach huts, but I suppose they give many a brief chance to rent a piece of seaside, rather than having the rich all build cottages. The chine topography makes for an interesting coastline and there are so many interesting restaurants and food shops. Thanks for taking us along Marion. Happy Saturday. Allan

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for taking an interest in this post on my walk through Bournemouth Allan. British beach huts started in Victorian times and have become a fixture of our promenades in numerous resorts up and down the country. Hope you are having a good weekend. Marion

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What a lovely walk Marion! I love the view of Bournemouth Pier and all those colourful beach huts. And what a surprise to also find the Tropical Gardens on your route and then a peaceful walk next to the Bourne Stream … I will probably get stuck for some time at that amazing cheese shop!
    Thanks Marion, I’ve enjoyed this Saturday morning walk with you 😁. Have a great weekend. Corna

    Liked by 2 people

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