101 Things to do in Bournemouth – Boscombe Beach

The Seaside Award winning beach at Boscombe is divided into Boscombe East and Boscombe West by the Pier. It’s the ideal choice if you like your beach days to be active with a range of activities on offer, as well as a selection of dining options.

Boscombe Beach
Boscombe Beach

The are also plenty of events held here over the summer, including the Pier to Pier Swim and various sports tournaments. One of my highlights of the year is Bournemouth Air Festival and Boscombe Beach is my favourite location to watch the action, especially when the Red Arrows appear from behind the cliff top to dive and soar overhead.

Red Arrows arriving over Boscombe Beach
Red Arrows arriving over Boscombe Beach

Getting There

Boscombe is 1.5 miles east of Bournemouth along the Prom (not accessible by car) or 2 miles by road along the A35.


Boscombe Beach is just down the road (literally – it’s quite a steep road) from the centre of Boscombe. It’s a pleasant stroll/cycle along the Prom from Bournemouth or Southbourne or it can be reached on the Land Train from Bournemouth.


There is a beachside Pay & Display car park; Boscombe Undercliff Car Park running towards Bournemouth. Fees are seasonal, costing £2.10-£2.50 for an hour off peak. During July and August, daily charges apply with a flat fee of £15 for arrival before 2 pm. Further details can be found here.

There is another Pay & Display; Overstrand Car Park just above the pier. Fees are similar (there is no daily flat rate in July/August). Details can be found here.

The road behind Overstrand Car Park; The Marina has metered parking between April and October. Charges start from £2.20 for an hour, details here. A bit further from the beach, it may be possible to find free roadside parking. Note that car parks fill up quickly during peak times.

Land Train at Boscombe Beach
Land Train passing Boscombe Beach

A better option is to park at the Park & Ride in King’s Park. This operates at weekends in June and daily during July and August. Parking costs £5 per day and includes the complimentary shuttle bus, which runs every 15 minutes between 9 am and 6.45 pm and stops right next to the Pier. (Note; the Park & Ride does not operate if AFC Bournemouth are playing at home. Match days are published on the website).


A wide expanse of sand bisected by the pier. To the east, there are bouldering rocks and sections cordoned off for volleyball and TRX exercise classes.

Food and Drink

There are several dining options on the Prom and the beach itself, plus plenty more on the way up the hill into Boscombe.

Urban Reef

Urban Reef has an an inside section – a cosy place to eat and enjoy a sea view when it’s cold/windy. However, in summer, most of the action spills outside. There’s also a wood fired oven takeaway pizza service called The Wood Oven.

Urban Reef
Urban Reef

There is a Harvester (The Neptune) serving typical Harvester food right opposite the pier. I’ve never eaten here, but I guess it’s pretty similar to other Harvesters, only closer to the beach. It has some outdoor seating.

Harvester on Boscombe Prom
Harvester on Boscombe Prom
Prom Diner

The Prom Diner is, not surprisingly, a diner on the Prom. It also has an ice cream kiosk. Currently, there is an additional area on the beach itself, called, wait for it…. The Beach Diner. Here, you can order and a man will bring it across the road to you Abbey Road style. At least it reminds me of Abbey Road every time I cycle past and nearly knock him over, because in the previous six years I’ve lived here, nobody has ever used that crossing…

Prom Diner
Prom Diner

There is also a kiosk selling junk food and beach tat at the end of the pier (the owner nearly ran me over during a boot camp once, not that I bear a grudge or anything).


There are toilets to the west of the pier and to the east in the Overstrand complex.

Other Facilities

In addition, there are plenty of activities available if you prefer your beach time to be action packed. There are some boulders for climbing on (very popular with selfie lovers), volleyball courts and table tennis tables (free to use – equipment can be loaned from the Beach Office).

Boscombe Beach Shower
Boscombe Beach Shower
Surfing and SUP Lessons

Sorted Surf School offers surfing and SUP lessons plus surfboard, SUP and kayak hire.

Boscombe Prom
Boscombe Prom
Boscombe Pier

Boscombe Pier is a lovely place to take a stroll and admire the view across the bay to the Purbecks and the Isle of Wight. There is a musical instrument trail and you can fish from the pier (£8.50 payable at the car park box).

Boscombe Pier
Boscombe Pier


There are two Lifeguard points, one situated either side of the pier. They are manned from 10 am to 6 pm. Boscombe East is in operation from 1st April to 24th September and Boscombe West from 27th May to 3rd September.

Boscombe West Lifeguard Tower
Boscombe West Lifeguard Tower

Boscombe Beach for Children

The proliferation of activities makes Boscombe particularly suitable for children. Long before we moved to Bournemouth, I used to bring my children here for a fun day out. In addition to bouldering, water sports and volleyball, there are also table tennis tables near the entrance to Boscombe Chine Gardens. The Prom Diner, Urban Reef and Neptune all offer a children’s menu.

Surf Lesson
Surf Lesson (2006)


Dogs are not permitted on the beach between May and September. There are no dog friendly beach areas between Boscombe and Bournemouth.


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