100 Things to do in (and around) Bournemouth 72 – Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum

The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum is situated in the former home of Merton and Annie Russell-Cotes. The Russell-Cotes were Victorian travel bloggers. The couple travelled the world writing about their trips and collecting souvenirs along the way. I have been making scrapbooks of my travels since the age of 10 and am quite proud of my collection, but the Russell-Cotes were in a whole different league.

Russell-Cotes Museum
Russell-Cotes Museum

Where I bought a postcard, or perhaps a fridge magnet, they purchased a statue or an oil painting. In fact, they collected so many souvenirs on their travels around the globe, that in 1901 Merton had a house purpose built, not only as a residence, but also to house their collection.

Russell-Cotes Garden
Russell-Cotes Garden

Upon their deaths, the house and its contents were bequeathed to Bournemouth council. Their former home remains home to their prolific collection of art and other souvenirs of their travels and is open to the public as an art gallery and museum. The collection boasts around 50,000 pieces.

View from the house
View from the house

Orientation

The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum sits on the East Cliff, overlooking Bournemouth. It is a short walk from the town centre, or can be reached from the prom via a ramped walkway.

View from the house
View from the house

Opening Times

The museum opens Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am until 5 pm. Once a month, a themed Museum Late evening, from 5-8, focuses on an element of the vast collection.

Paper Dress
Paper Dress

Entry Fees

Entry costs £8.50 for adults (£4.50 for children and concessions). There are special prices for families and annual passes.

Japanese Armour
Japanese Armour

Gardens

Before you even enter the museum, there is plenty to admire. The view for one. And the gardens. And indeed the house itself, with its castle like turrets from where there are even more impressive views across the bay to the Purbecks and the Isle of Wight.

Russell-Cotes Garden
Russell-Cotes Garden

House

Once inside, you can visit the original Victorian house plus four adjoining galleries built later to house more of the couple’s collection. The house itself is a work of art. It consists of three floors with a grand staircase and stained glass ceiling.

Ceiling

Morning Room

In this room with a stunning, used by Merton and Annie for their breakfast and relaxation, the best pieces of the museum’s collection is on display. This includes Spray by a former teacher from Bournemouth College of Art, Harold Williamson.

Spray

Moorish Alcove

My favourite room is the ornate Moorish Alcove, with a striking bust of Ira Frederick Aldridge in character as Othello. Aldridge is believed to be the first black Shakespearean actor.

Moorish Alcove and Othello
Moorish Alcove and Othello

Gallery 1

Adjacent to the house is the first of the four galleries, commissioned by Annie in 1916. Pride of place here goes to an enormous oil painting of Mary and Joseph’s flight into Egypt entitled Anno Domini.

Anno Domini
Anno Domini

Gallery 2

The second gallery contains pieces collected by Merton (ie; a lot more boobs). I loved the (fully dressed) Thames Embankment, although even here a naked water nymph puts in an appearance.

The Thames Embankment
The Thames Embankment

There’s also the morbidly beautiful sculpture of The Princes in the Tower. It depicts the bodies of Princes Edward and Richard, who are believed to have died in the Tower of London after being held captive by their uncle, King Richard III.

The Princes in the Tower
The Princes in the Tower

Special Events

In addition to the monthly Museum Late evenings, the museum organises a range of activities throughout the year, such as activities for children during the school holidays and seasonal events during Christmas and Halloween. This year, the gallery is celebrating its centenary. A series of sixpence days have been held, with admission costing the original price of sixpence. The final sixpence day takes place on 1st December.

Elephant
Elephant

I tried to convince my daughters that they should do a similar thing with my travel collection when I die, but they tell me they’re going to make my scrapbooks into a bonfire and burn me on it.

My funeral pyre
My funeral pyre

100 Things to do in (and around) Bournemouth 71 – Bournemouth Air Festival

My dad and both my grandads worked at the Rolls Royce factory in Bristol building aircraft engines, so my interest in aeroplanes was instilled in me from an early age. My earliest memory is of, aged 3, being taking to the factory to witness Concorde’s first flight. So, these days, living in Bournemouth, the highlight of the calendar is the Bournemouth Air Festival.

Heart in the Sky
Heart in the Sky

Taking place over four days during the first weekend in September, the festival consists of a series of flying displays over Bournemouth Bay, plus additional events on land and sea. The event is free, but the bulk of the schedule is kept a closely guarded secret, which can only be accessed by purchasing a £6 programme.

Typhoon at Dusk
Typhoon at Dusk

Day Displays

Each of four days (Thursday to Sunday) sees flying displays from a range of aircraft. There’s quite a range on display from WWII planes to wing walkers, helicopters and sky divers A diverse range of flying machines perform their manoeuvres over the bay with onlookers enjoying from the beach or the cliff top.

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight
Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

Red Arrows

The highlight of the show is, of course, the Red Arrows display team. Normally displaying over each of the four days of the festival, the Red Arrows are undoubtedly the main draw with many people turning up for this alone causing chaos as blocking roads for miles around with some shockingly poor parking.

Arrival of the Red Arrows
Arrival of the Red Arrows

This year, the Red Arrows’ first appearance was a wipeout as they only performed a couple of manoeuvres before an engine warning light sent Red 6 back to the airport. But the next day, normal service was resumed and we found a space on the cliff tops to watch them appear overhead before jetting across the bay for their performance of airborne stunts all accompanied by the signature plumes of red, white and blue smoke.

Red Arrows over Boscombe Pier
Red Arrows over Boscombe Pier

Muscle Bi Plane

After the Red Arrows, my favourite aerobatic performance is that of the Super Pitts Muscle Bi Plane. Flown by the certifiable Rich Goodwin, who basically takes a plane up into the sky and throws it around and around. And then around a bit more. In fact quite a lot of around. I get dizzy just standing on the beach watching. A quick look at his website tells me he used to fly passenger aircraft! I wonder if I’ve been on a plane he was flying? Sedately cruising at 40,000 feet whilst trying to supress an overwhelming desire to throw down a few 360s?

Super Pitts Muscle Plane

This year, an addition to the programme was the Super Pitts racing a Sunseeker speedboat, billed as the Sea & Sky Sprint. It consisted of a Top Gear style challenge which no doubt was meant primarily to advertise the wares of the Poole based boat manufacturer.

Sea & Sky Sprint

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

When it comes to aerobatic manoeuvres, you can’t beat the pomp and precision of the Red Arrows or the crazy brilliance of Rich Goodwin in his bi plane. But my favourite part of the show is the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. This consists of a Lancaster flanked by a Hurricane and a Spitfire. My great uncle Keith, who died earlier this year aged 101, flew in a Lancaster during the War. So, it’s a privilege to watch this enormous plane soar overhead as I say a little thank you to Keith and all his brave comrades who risked their lives night after night to protect others.

Uncle Keith in a Lancaster
Uncle Keith in a Lancaster
Lancaster flying over Boscombe
Lancaster flying over Boscombe

Night Displays

I love the dusk displays. The Fireflies; aeroplanes with LED lights which send plumes of sparks across the sky as they perform their aerobatic manoeuvres.

Fireflies
Fireflies

The dusk display is usually rounded off with Otto the Helicopter. Otto is filled with a cargo of fireworks, which are discharged as he flies in circles round the Bay.

Otto the Helicopter
Otto the Helicopter

Fireworks

On Friday and Saturday, there are even more fireworks with land based displays usually from either Bournemouth or Boscombe Pier.

Fireworks

At Sea

There are usually events happening at sea. In the past these have involved visits to naval ships moored in the bay, rocket men attempting to jet from pier to pier and men dropping from Chinook helicopters. This year, there were no naval ships; the biggest ship moored off the coast were the Waverley; (built in 1946 it claims to be the last sea going paddle steamer in the world) and the Shieldhall (Britain’s largest steamship). These are some of the many boats offering tickets for cruises during the air festival to watch the action from the water.

Dropping from a Chinook
Dropping from a Chinook

On Land

The prom between the two piers is lined with fairground rides, food stalls etc. Meanwhile in Bournemouth there is additional entertainment in the form of music, military bands and unarmed combat displays. Meanwhile, the Overcliff are the popular Air Force, Army and Navy villages where you can get up close and personal with a Red Arrow or a tank or even a diver.

Navy Dive Tank

100 Things to do in (and around) Bournemouth 69 – Poole Quay

The historic Poole Quay, once used to moor ocean going ships, is now the home of harbour cruises and pleasure boats. The half mile log stretch running west to east from the Lifeboat Station at one end to the Old Lifeboat Station at the other is now a popular tourist destination. Lined with bars and restaurants with seating providing great views across the Harbour, catering now to tourists rather than sailors and pirates.

Poole Quay
Poole Quay

Poole Museum

Housed in a former grain storage warehouse, Poole Museum is the place to go to learn about Poole’s History. It also houses the Tourist Information Office. More about the museum can be found here.

Poole Museum
Poole Museum

Poole Old Lifeboat Museum

At the eastern end of the quay is Poole Old Lifeboat Museum. This former lifeboat station is now a museum telling the story of Poole’s lifeboats. It houses the Thomas Kirk Wright. This retired lifeboat not only saved lives in the harbour, but was one of 850 ‘little ships’ which sailed to Normandy in 1940 to rescue Allied troops trapped on the beaches. More about the museum can be found here.

Poole Old Lifeboat Museum
Poole Old Lifeboat Museum

Sea Music Sculpture

This huge sculpture by artist Anthony Caro invokes memories of cascading waves, sails and the echo of the sea. It is surrounded by an elevated walkway for better views of the sculpture and the quayside.

Sea Music Sculpture
Sea Music Sculpture

Restaurants

There are plenty of restaurants and cafes along the quayside. But for me, the seaside (quayside) is synonymous with Fish & Chips, so the obvious choice is Harlees. This award winning chip shop also sells plant based alternative; Vish & Chips (battered, deep fried jackfruit marinated in seaweed).

Harlees

Bars

The bars along the quayside were once the haunts of smugglers and pirates. The pirates may be gone, but many of the building retain their old charm. The uniquely green tiled Poole Arms is believed to be Poole’s oldest pub dating back to the early 17th Century.

Poole Quay Bars
Poole Arms

Baden Powell Statue

Sitting on a bollard overlooking Brownsea Island is a statue of Robert Baden Powell, founder of the Scout Movement. It was on Brownsea Island in 1907, that Baden Powell held his first scout camp.

Baden Powell Sculpture
Baden Powell Sculpture

Harbour Cruises

From here you can pick up a boat to set sail on a Harbour Cruise, or further afield along the Jurassic Coast to Swanage. There are a number of operators with ticket booths on the quayside.

Departing on a Harbour Cruise
Departing on a Harbour Cruise

The Brownsea Island Ferry also departs from here.

Brownsea Island and Ferries
Brownsea Island and Ferries

Sunseekers

Across the water, you can admire the work of Poole boatbuilders Sunseekers. Something for the shopping list?

Sunseekers
Sunseekers

Events

There is plenty going on around Poole Quay in the summer months. Annual events include Harry Paye Pirate Day, Poole goes Vintage and Poole Seafood Festival. I shall add next year’s events to the table as they become available.

Annual Events

MonthDate for 2022Event
September
October
November5thFireworks
December19th November – 2nd JanuaryChristmas Maritime Light Festival
MonthDate for 2023Event
January1stNew Year’s Day Bath Race
February
March
April
May14thMini Steam on the Quay
June3rd – 5thPoole Seafood Festival
JuneHarry Paye Pirate Day
JulyPoole Goes Vintage
August
September
October
NovemberFireworks
December

Weekly Summer Entertainment

In addition, during the summer there are events which take place on a weekly basis. You can wander along the quay admiring classic cars and bikes, enjoy live entertainment and firework displays.

DayDates for 2023Event
Monday
TuesdayPoole Dream Machines
Wednesday
ThursdayFireworks
FridayQuay for My Car
Saturday
Sunday
Bikes on Poole Quay
Bikes on Poole Quay

100 Things to do in (and around) Bournemouth 68 – Poole Old Lifeboat Museum

Poole Quay and Old Lifeboat Museum
Poole Quay and Old Lifeboat Museum

Poole has a long and colourful maritime history, which is in evidence as you walk along the Quay. There has been a lifeboat based at Poole for over 150 years, with the current and former lifeboat stations located at either ends of the Quay. On the eastern end sits Poole Old Lifeboat Museum. The building, which was the Lifeboat Station between 1882 and 1974, is now a museum charting the history of Poole’s lifeboats and their crews.

Poole Old Lifeboat Museum
Poole Old Lifeboat Museum

The museum is open daily between 10.30 am and 4 pm and is free to enter, although obviously donations are welcome. Or why not purchase something from the well stocked nautical themed gift shop?

Wellyam
Wellyam

A walk round the former Lifeboat Station will tell you all about the history of the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution – a charity which keeps British waterways safe) in general and in Poole specifically. You can learn about the lifeboats stationed there over the years and the bravery of their crews. You can even try on old and current lifeboat crew kits. I can’t resist a bit of hands-on learning!

Lifeboat Crew Kit
Lifeboat Crew Kit

Thomas Kirk Wright

Most of the museum is taken up with retired lifeboat the Thomas Kirk Wright, which was operational from 1939 to 1962. In addition to its regular duties, the Thomas Kirk Wright was among the 850 ‘little ships’ which sailed to Dunkirk in 1940 to rescue Allied troops stranded on the beaches there. As the records on display show, it made a total of three rescue missions to France before finally being hit and having to be towed back to England.

Thomas Kirk Wright
Thomas Kirk Wright

The museum is quite small, so a visit won’t take more than an hour or so, but it is interesting to delve into the maritime history of the town and maybe say a little thank you to those brave men and women who risk their lives to keep others safe at sea. And, of course, those brave men who risked theirs lives even more so to rescue others during World War II.

Thomas Kirk Wright
Thomas Kirk Wright

100 Things to do in (and around) Bournemouth 67 – Poole Museum

Poole Museum is housed in a former Victorian flour mill and grain warehouse on Poole Quay. It tells the town’s story through artefacts and displays, some static, some interactive. It opens daily from 10 am to 5 pm between April and October and is free to enter. There is a fee for temporary exhibition.

Poole Museum
Poole Museum

Ground Floor

Exhibits are housed across four floors. The museum is entered via a modern glass and steel atrium where you will find a gift shop and also Poole’s Tourist Information Centre. The remainder of the Ground Floor starts Poole’s story with the the formation of Poole Harbour. On display are some artefacts discovered in the harbour, like the 8 metre long carved rudder from 17th Century shipwreck, The Fame. On a nearby screen, the rudder’s talking head tells its own story.

Rudder from The Fame
Rudder from The Fame

The Poole Logboat

Dominating the ground floor is The Poole Logboat; a 10 metre long boat carved from a single oak tree over 2,300 years ago. Apart from being incredibly old, it is also unique in that, after many years of trying to work out how to preserve it, experts came up with the idea of soaking it in sugar and immersed the boat in a solution similar to that used to make cola.

The Poole Logboat
The Poole Logboat

First Floor

The First Floor tells the story of the development of the town and port of Poole. Displays include this collection of seaside souvenirs though the ages.

Poole Souvenirs
Poole Souvenirs

The First Floor also focuses on the town’s maritime history with more old boat parts on display, like a 17th Century binnacle (housing for a compass) adorned with sea creatures which was salvaged from a locally based ship.

Binnacle
Binnacle

Second Floor

The Second Floor tells the story of the people of Poole in general and focusing on some of the area’s most noteworthy figures. Displays include an interactive 1950s kitchen together with some products of the era. I was particularly intrigued by the Quaker Oats which are so simple that ‘even a bride can prepare’!

Food through the ages
Food through the ages

People connected with the history of Poole include Robert Baden Powell, who set up the Scout Movement with a camp on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour in 1907.

Scout Memorabilia
Scout Memorabilia

Third Floor

The Third Floor displays pottery either found or manufactured in Poole. The bulk of the exhibit tells the Story of Poole Pottery. Pottery was made by hand on the quayside for over a century, starting in 1873. The company started out manufacturing tiles and and architectural ceramics, before branching out into decorative pottery. I’m sure, like me, most locals have a piece or two of the iconic art deco pottery displayed in their home. And those that don’t are likely to have seen its works displayed, as Poole Pottery tiles were used to tile many of the stations of the London Underground.

Decorative Ceramic
Decorative Ceramic

The cafe and toilets are also located on the Third Floor.

Decorative Ceramic
Decorative Ceramic

Temporary Exhibition – Hardy’s Wessex

The current temporary Exhibition; Hardy’s Wessex is part of a larger exhibition spread across four museums. In Poole, the focus is on the coastline which inspired Thomas Hardy’s writing. There is an additional fee of £5. We haven’t been to this exhibition yet, but it “explores the coastal themes in Hardy’s life – from first meeting his wife Emma on the wild cliffs of Cornwall, to his fascination with the Napoleonic wars.” The key piece is a Constable painting of Weymouth Bay.

Constable - Weymouth Bay
Constable – Weymouth Bay

Scaplen’s Court

Across the road from the Museum is Scaplen’s Court, a medieval house with herb and physic garden. Scaplen’s Court is managed by the museum and opens during the summer to visitors. Although, with a shortage of volunteers, its opening is not guaranteed. When we visited at the weekend, it was closed.

Scaplen’s Court

100 Things to do in (and around) Bournemouth 66 – Angel Sausage & Cider Festival

We went to the Sausage and Cider Festival at The Angel Pub in Poole at the weekend, having seen it advertised online. The Angel is an 18th Century former coaching inn situated in Poole old town. Twice a year, it holds a Sausage and Cider Festival, which promises sausages and cider galore, plus a DJ.

The Angel Pub
The Angel Pub

The use of the word ‘Festival’ was a little ambitious, as it was basically just some boxes of cider placed on the bar, a man out front grilling sausages and a DJ in a corner of the bar. However, there were 20 different ciders on offer (19 by the time we arrived an hour into the event). All were sourced from either here in Dorset or neighbouring counties.

Cider Menu
Cider Menu

I opted for Lilley’s Mango Cider which was very, very good. I’ve not heard of Lilley’s before, but a quick Google search tells me that it’s a family run business based in Somerset, with an interesting range of ciders. From the more traditional to a range of fruit ciders (I know, an apple’s a fruit) a seasonal selection (enjoy the flavours of autumn harvest before heading into winter with some mulled cider). They also have a ‘Whimsical Creations’ range with flavours such as Colider (cola and cider), chocolate apple or lemon & ginger. These weren’t on offer at the cider festival, but I shall certainly be investigating further. In fact, Lilley’s offer their own ‘Mini Festival in a Box’, which consists of 10 different 500 ml bottles of cider, two glasses, coasters and a lanyard for that festival feel all for £29.99.

Cheers from The Angel Cider Festival
Cheers from The Angel Cider Festival

It was a sunny day, so we sat out the front on benches to have our drinks. This meant that we couldn’t actually hear the music from inside. So it was less a festival, more stopping at a pub for a glass of cider.

Sausage Menu
Sausage Menu

The sausage menu consisted of 12 different sausage options. An interesting selection, unless you’re a vegetarian. Then it’s just plain old vegetarian sausages. Next…

100 Things to do in (and around) Bournemouth 64 – Tower Park

There’s so much to see and do in Bournemouth on a warm, sunny day. But when it’s wet and windy, less so. One place with plenty of indoor activities on offer is Tower Park. Situated around 5 miles to the north west of Bournemouth, this entertainment complex was, according to Wikipedia, ‘one of the first leisure complexes of its kind in Europe when it opened in 1989’. Translation; has seen better days.

Tower Park
Tower Park

There are a number of different entertainment venues across the complex catering for both kids and adults, plus various food outlets. To be honest, it’s not really my thing. I have been there once or twice on auntie duty. But not since the time when my niece climbed to the top of the water flume, then refused to slide down and had to climb back down the ladder against the traffic. Twice.

Tower Park
Side of Nandos

Bingo

Buzz Bingo is easy to locate; follow the smoke from the gaggle of bingo players who’ve popped outside for a cigarette.

Tower Park
Buzz Bingo

Water Park

Splashdown Water Park markets itself as the ‘UK’s biggest and best waterparks!’ It has 13 flume rides. As you can see from the car park.

Tower Park
Splashdown Water Park

Cinema

There is a cinema complex consisting of 10 main screens and 6 studio screens. Personally, I prefer to watch my movies at 40,000 feet…

Tower Park
Cineworld

Bowling

There’s a Hollywood Bowl with 24 lanes.

Tower Park
Hollywood Bowl

Gym

Sandwiched between Burger King and the all-you-can-eat buffet is a PureGym.

Tower Park
PureGym

Lemur Landings

Lemur Landings has a soft play area and climbing wall for under 11s plus a role play villa for under 7s.

Tower Park
Cineworld and Lemur Landings

Food

All the junk food is represented at Tower Park. Pizza Express, Pizza Hut, Nando’s, Taco Bell – it’s all here. There’s even a Burger King, despite the best efforts of a former, disgruntled employee who burnt the original restaurant down. There’s also Day’s world buffet. And if all that lot hasn’t done enough damage, there’s Candy Cabin.

Day’s

100 Things to do in (and around) Bournemouth 63 – Festival Coast Live

Festival Coast Live consists of a range of predominantly free events across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. Activities take place throughout the year, bur focus on the summer, starting at the beginning of the school holidays in July and culminating in the Bournemouth Air Festival on the first weekend in September. The programme incorporates live music, outdoor cinema, children’s entertainment, festivals, fireworks and more.

Red Arrows arriving at Bournemouth Air Festival
Red Arrows arriving at Bournemouth Air Festival

Music

A whole host of musicians perform throughout the summer at a number of locations across the three towns. Pictured; a fun Sunday afternoon at Christchurch Harbour with a diverse selection of musical entertainment. First up; Mr Eversley, a Cuban whose music is distinctly Caribbean and quite serious. Followed by the Jimmy Hillbillies with their infectious enthusiasm. One minute we’re listening to songs about Cuban freedom fighters, the next – chickens on moonshine!

Jimmy Hillbillies at Christchurch Bandstand
Jimmy Hillbillies at Christchurch Bandstand

Outdoor Cinema

A giant screen shows family friendly movies throughout the day. The screen makes appearances at a variety of locations during the summer.

Entertainment

Street entertainers can be spotted wandering around the three towns, maybe on stilts or perhaps with flowerpots on their heads. There are also a range of activities for children on offer, like circus workshops.

Stilt walker

Bournemouth

Incorporated into Bournemouth’s Festival Coast Live festivities are Bourne Free, Friday Fireworks and Bournemouth Air Festival. In addition, there is regular entertainment in various locations (Lower Gardens, Seafront and town centre).

Bourne Free
Bourne Free

Christchurch

In addition to live music in the bandstand, Christchuch’s entertainment includes Christchurch Food Festival, Stompin’ on the Quomps Jazz Festival and Mudeford Arts Festival.

Entertainment in Christchurch Bandstand
Entertainment in Christchurch Bandstand

Poole

In addition to the above mentioned music and entertainment, Poole’s offerings include weekly car (Quay for my Car) and motorcycle displays (Poole Dream Machines), food and music festivals, Poole goes Vintage, SandPolo and Thursday Fireworks. Summer entertainment takes place on Poole Quay, the High Street, Poole Park and Ashley Cross.

Arts by the Sea

After a couple of weeks to draw breath, entertainment resumes with Arts by the Sea in Bournemouth and Play in Christchurch.

Arts by the Sea
Arts by the Sea

Christmas

Festival Coast Live returns later in the year with Christmas Tree Wonderland in Bournemouth and the Maritime Lights Festival in Poole.

Christmas Tree Wonderland

100 Things to do in (and around) Bournemouth 62 – Avon Beach

Avon Beach one of three Blue Flag beaches in the Christchurch area. Unlike many of the beaches around Bournemouth, this one is accessible without having to negotiate your way down the cliffs, with car parking adjacent to the beach. Car parking costs around £1.90 an hour.

Avon Beach
Avon Beach

The beach is also accessible via a promenade from Mudeford Quay to the west and Friar’s Cliff Beach to the east.

Avon Beach Promenade
Avon Beach Promenade

Beach

The beach is mainly sand, although not quite the glorious golden sand found further towards Bournemouth. Once you have scrambled over the pebbles which line the shore, the sea is shallow and flat, ideal for safe paddling and swimming for younger children (or for old ladies who don’t like waves!)

Avon Beach
Avon Beach

Lifeguards

The Avon Beach Lifeguard tower is in manned from 10 am until 6 pm between 9th July and 4th September. It’s not quite the iconic beach lifeguard tower; it looks more like someone dumped an old shed in the middle of the beach.

Avon Beach Lifeguard Tower
Avon Beach Lifeguard Tower

The Noisy Lobster

Covering all your culinary needs is The Noisy Lobster; a family run beach front restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining. It specialises in seafood, however the menu also includes some imaginative vegetarian/vegan options.

The Noisy Lobster
The Noisy Lobster

The Noisy Lobster also has a hatch selling takeaway food (The Lobster Hatch), a Coffee Cabin, an Ice Cream Parlour and a Deli/Shop with in-store bakery which wafts the delicious aroma of freshly baked bread across the beach. They can even rent you a beach hut or ‘occasion hut’ for those who like to party on the beach.

The Noisy Lobster Deli Shop
The Noisy Lobster Deli Shop
The Noisy Lobster Ice Cream Parlour
The Noisy Lobster Ice Cream Parlour

Other Facilities

There are public toilets near The Noisy Lobster.

Avon Beach Pebbles
Avon Beach Pebbles

100 Things to do in (and around) Bournemouth 61 – Friars Cliff Beach

Friars Cliff is the middle of three Blue Flag Beaches around Christchurch. It is easily accessible with just a short ramp connecting it to the car park at Steamer Point. Parking costs around £1.70 an hour in summer and 70p per day in winter.

Friars Cliff Beach
Friars Cliff Beach

Beach

The beach is predominantly sandy with a little shingle along the water’s edge. The Beach Guide describes Friars Cliff Beach as; “a good choice for a families looking for somewhere to paddle in the gentle waves and admire the lovely views.”

Friars Cliff Beach
Friars Cliff Beach

Lifeguards

There are no lifeguards on Friars Cliff Beach for the 2022 season. So, where I would agree with The Beach Guide about the views, the lack of lifeguards makes it less family friendly than neighbouring beaches, in my opinion.

View over Friars Cliff Beach
View over Friars Cliff Beach

Bars/Restaurants

The Beach Hut Cafe specialises in burgers, pizzas and home made cakes. There is seating on the prom overlooking the beach.

The Beach Hut Cafe
The Beach Hut Cafe

Other Facilities

There are toilets and showers available on the prom near the cafe and beach huts to rent. A short walk up to the cliff top will bring you to Steamer Point Nature Reserve.

Steamer Point
Steamer Point