Learn more about the route to help you discover the area and see what you are interested in!
The coach and train station are in the same place in Bournemouth. There is a large ASDA here to stock up on your needs before or after your journey. There is limited parking available but you can take our sightseeing bus, a taxi or many of the local buses to get into town centre.
City Sightseeing Bournemouth will start here at the beginning of the day but will not return here afterwords. Find the bus stop underneath ASDA at Stand K (last coach bay).
Image curtesy: coastradar.com/places/united-kingdom/dorset/bournemouth-east-cliff-beach/
The East Cliff area is very popular for visitors as there is a wide range of choices for accommodation. Lovely hotels, spas and restaurant.
Our buses will pick up here on their way to Bournemouth Pier. There are three bus stops on this ling stretch of road.
Please note the East Cliff bus stops are suspended during the Bournemouth Air Festival and possibly other major events in Bournemouth, please check our Service Updates page for more detailes.
Bournemouth Pier bus stop is where the City Sightseeing Bournemouth tour starts and finishes, our dedicated bus stop behind the Hot Rocks restaurant has a bus parked on it most of the time ready for the next departure on the hour. This is the area where the Lower Gardens run down to meet the sea. The area in front of the pier is called Pier Approach and is the centre for many events throughout the year. The main Tourist Information Centre is based here and you will often find one of our team outside ready to offer you advice, not just about the tour but also other attractions in the area.
The Bournemouth Oceanarium sits on the side of Pier Approach and is one of the town’s top attractions, pop in to see their great new penguin beach.
The Pier itself hosts Rock Reef, an indoor climbing and ropes course, or for real thrill seekers try the Zip Wire from the end of the pier to the beach, the only one in the world … not for the faint hearted.
The Square in Bournemouth is really the very centre of the town, just down from the Town Hall. Now pedestrianised, The Square used to be a roundabout where all roads into the town met. The three main shopping roads, Westover Road, Commercial Road and Old Christchurch Road, all run down to The Square and it is also where most local bus services also start and finish. It is also called Gervis Place.
The bus stops for City Sightseeing is at stand X.
West Cliff is the main hotel and guest house area in the town, it used to be served by it’s own railway station, Bournemouth West, serving the thousands of British tourists who came for their traditional seaside holiday. Before being developed this area was the start of the heathland that stretched as far as Poole. There were only a few small houses, one of which was the home to the great naturalist Charles Darwin, for a time.
Stop off at the delightful village of Westbourne. Sitting just on the border between Bournemouth and Poole, Westbourne boasts some of the best boutique shops and café bars in the area. If you are looking for somewhere to have a gentle poke around with a bit of window shopping, look no further. From the fancy outfits in Fab Frocks, to the high end media solutions in Bang & Olufsen, you can go to town and live the dream, or just dream the dream. If you want to put your feet up and watch the world go by there is something for everyone, though you could do worse that try a little something in Camden, sit in the window and you can wait for your bus that pulls up just outside. See a full listing of shops in Westbourne here.
Bournemouth is dotted with chines, old wooded valleys that run down to the sea. Branksome Chine runs inland for a mile and a half and is one of the prettiest. The bus stops where the chine reaches the sea, a great place to stop off and grab an ice cream or a cup of tea in the Branksome Beach café. If you fancy stretching the parts then there are lovely walks along the promenade back to Bournemouth Pier (1.5miles / 2.5 km), or head west to Sandbanks where the prom finishes, (1.5 miles / 2.5 km).
Canford Cliffs is another one of our pretty coastal villages. A few shops and small café bars makes this a good place to hop off for an hour. The very upmarket HNB Salon and Spa is the ideal place for a bit of pampering. Micheal the concierge will even park your car for you, but that is okay as you have come on a bus, but he will at least take your coat! Hop off here for a short walk to Compton Acres, the area’s best kept secret. 10 acres of sub tropical garden with views across Poole Harbour give a delightful place to stroll around and soak up the tranquillity. A must for plant buffs and all those who appreciate stunning flora.
Image courtesy of www.discountmyflights.co.uk.
Hop off here for one of the best beaches in the area. Being at the Western end of the main beach on Poole Bay, the beach at Sandbanks has the finest sand and the least stones. Tucked in under the lee of the Purbeck Hills, this lovely beach offers very sheltered swimming and gorgeous soft sand to relax on. Just along from the beach is Rick Stein’s Sandbanks restaurant. There are bus stops either end of the beach on both sides of the road, two by the main beach car park entrance and two up by the small Tescos on the corner of Shore Road.
Our stop here pulls up just past the Studland ferry. As you drive round the peninsular, look to your left. These are some of the most expensive houses in England. Most have either direct access onto Sandbanks Beach or water frontage onto Poole Harbour. Reputed to be the forth most expensive real estate in the world, visiting Sandbanks gives you an idea of how the other half live.
Hop off here also for the chain ferry to Studland, you have to pay on the way over but it is free for foot passengers on the way back.
Studland, ‘the land of the horse’ is an area of outstanding natural beauty and also has one of the south’s most popular naturist beaches, so if you want to hop off your topless bus and go topless on the beach, this is the place for you!
Image courtesy of westcoastdevelopments.com.
Lilliput conjures up images of little people tying down the giant Gulliver whilst he was on his travels. However there is actually only a very loose connection with Jonathan Swift and his famous fictional land of Lilliput. The area was actually know as Salterns, or Salt Marsh and was home to the industrial manufacture of salt, and later saw alum extraction and then a large pottery that produced sanitary ware. The name Salterns is given to the local marina and the area is now dotted with everything boaty. Worth hopping off if you like the sound of halyards tinkling against a yacht mast. Local company Koh Thai Tapas have a great little restaurant here called Koh Noi, trust us if you love Thai food, you’ll love it, and local award winning artisan baker Mark Bennett has a great bakery and coffee shop right by the bus stop.
Image courtesy of Sue Sieger.
The bus stops next at Whitecliff recreation ground, this is essentially the start of Poole Park and has a great level harbour side foot/cycle path that takes you directly to Poole Quay. It is about a 30 minute walk and is clearly signposted.
The route takes us through the middle of Poole Park, stopping next to the Ark café. Have a stroll around the park or there is a lovely walk that takes you alongside the shoreline of Poole Harbour to Poole Quay. The park is very popular with the locals, you will see lots of people walking, running, using the outdoor gym equipment or just relaxing on one of the many benches, watching the world go by. There are plenty of wildfowl on the boating lake, if you find you have a spare crust! If you fancy getting out on the lake, Rockley Water Sports have a great hire facility so you can try your hand at kayaking or paddleboarding, or for a gentler experience you can also hire a pedalo. Open daily for the summer. Also situated within Poole Park is The Kitchen a contemporary style glass fronted Restaurant Bar overlooking the harbour.
Poole Quay is very much the nerve centre of the town of Poole, both historically and still so today. This is the main bus stop to jump off at for all the boating services available on our bus and boat combination ticket. The quay has a very long history. Britain used to trade with the Roman Empire before the Romans arrived on these shores in AD 43, and this was one of the main ports used for this trade. The southern side of the quay is still dedicated to trade and it is a lively port where you can often see coastal freighters being loaded and unloaded. The luxury yacht builder, Sunseeker, also has a big presence and you can see lots of very expensive motor yachts as they near completion or as they conduct their sea trials. On the quay is a statue of Lord Baden Powell, the founder of the scouting movement which had it’s first ever camp on Brownsea Island in 1907.
The Poole Town Museum is nestled in amongst some of the oldest properties in Dorset, a number of the properties in this part of Poole date back to the 15th century. Head up the High Street and follow your nose along the small lanes and alleyways. The Cockle Trail, will guide you round all the main points of interest and highlight some of the historical events that shaped the town over the centuries.
There is always lots going on, many pubs, cafés and restaurant to enjoy, or you can get some retail therapy in the Poole Pottery shop. Just off the quay, Poole Old Town also gives a degree of tranquility with plenty of quiet sunny spots to sit and relax.
Please note that Poole Quay is often closed for events, so when this is the case we have an alternative stop, just round the corner on Old Orchard. Walk with the harbour to your left until you get to the roundabout by (after Tesco Express and Pavers), turn left there onto Old Orchard and the bus stop is on your side of the road, just past the multistory car park. Or view it on online here.
The car park also has a public boat ramp so is busy with lots of people on summer weekends. The route takes us along a road that runs along the edge of the park, the names giving a clue to some important history of Poole. Labrador Drive and Newfoundland Drive both refer to the strong links with Canada, where vast amounts of cod were caught and salted before being sold into the European market. On the shore at Baiter there are the ruins of the old Powder House, where gun powder was stored, for safety, away from the town and the quay. It has walls two foot thick, a small window and door but a flimsy roof so if there was an explosion it would be contained by the walls but blow the roof off. Baiter Park was also the local isolation hospital, this had 16 beds and was always at the ready to take any poor souls with infectious diseases such as small pox. The location at the time was on a small island joined by a causeway, the land around it having now been reclaimed to form Baiter Park.
Image courtesy of www.pixieme.org.
Ashley Cross is a vibrant part of Poole, set around ‘the Green’, or Parkstone Park as it is more formally called, it definitely has a village feel. Sitting just below Parkstone Railway Station, with 12 pubs/bars and 13 restaurants there are endless options to find somewhere to sit and relax in, but also an eclectic range of unusual shops, from watersports, running equipment and specialised bikes, to interior design specialists and fancy florists. Tucked just round the corner The Bermuda Triangle pub, or BT, as it is known locally is a great place to try a range of great craft beers, and always has been, even before they were called craft beers! Watch out for the clock behind the bar, even if you have not had one too many, you might think you have.