Alum Chine is the second of three Blue Flag ‘Chine’ Beaches running west from Bournemouth. A chine is a narrow ravine through the cliff formed by a river. During the Victorian era, when Bournemouth first became a seaside resort, these chine, which act as access points to the beach were transformed into parks.
Alum Chine Gardens
Alum Chine is home to beautiful tropical gardens and boasts both Green and Blue Flag awards. The tropical gardens were laid in the 1920s and replanted in the 1990s.
History of Alum Chine
Alum Chine got its name from the alum mining which took place in the 16th century. Alum was used in dyeing, tanning and painting. The mines eventually became uneconomical and closed in the 17th century.
Some notable former residents include author Robert Louis Stevenson, who lived in a house (Skerryvore) overlooking the Chine from 1884 until 1887. It is believed that he wrote his most famous works; Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde whilst living in Bournemouth. In 1892, an 18 year old Winston Churchill allegedly fell/jumped from a bridge in Alum Chine whilst staying at his aunt’s house. This resulted in him breaking his legs and rupturing a kidney. After the accident, he was in a coma for 3 days and bed ridden for 3 months.
Alum Chine is one mile west of Bournemouth along the Prom by foot/bike or on the land train. By road, it is 2 miles along W Cliff Road/Alumhurst Road (I usually park on W Cliff Road and walk through the Chine). During the summer, Breezer Buses No 70 and 80 run along the coast road and stop at Alum Chine.
The main access point is by walking down Alum Chine. There is another access point towards Durley Chine at Middle Chine.
There is a small car park at Alum Chine. It only has 92 spaces, so fills up fast in summer. Prices are seasonal, costing £2.50 for an hour in summer or £2.10 for two hours in winter. Full details of parking fees can be found here. If you opt to walk through Alum Chine Gardens, there is free roadside parking on the cliff top.
The beach is mainly sandy. There can be a narrow bank of shingle near the water’s edge.
Food and Drink
Vesuvio is an Italian Restaurant at the bottom of Alum Chine. It specialises in pizza and pasta, but also sells breakfasts, burgers, sandwiches, salads, cakes etc. It has a children’s menu and a vegan menu. There is also an ice cream kiosk on the prom.
There is a toilet block on the Prom.
- Beach huts
- Super beach huts
- Drinking water
- Play area
The Alum Chine Lifeguard tower is manned from 10 am until 6 pm between 27th May and 3rd September.
Alum Chine Beach for Children
Alum Chine is a great family friendly area. It is slightly removed from the more rowdy beaches near the city centre. It has also has a Treasure Island themed children’s playground and water play area.
Dogs are not permitted on Alum Chine Beach between May and September. There is a dog friendly beach area just west of here, running between Alum Chine and Branksome Dene Chine.
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