Armed with a giant chocolate egg under one arm and a bucket and spade under the other, off we set on our Easter weekend escape to the south coast of England and one of the country’s most popular beach destinations – Bournemouth!
Well known for its Victorian architecture, sandy beaches and two-mile long gardens leading to the lively and brightly lit pier, we discovered that there is so much more to the town to explore heading in either direction – and the opening last year of the charming and contemporary beach lodges located in Boscombe means there is a brand new and exciting base to do all this from, so we were keen to find out more and embark on a great British seaside adventure!
Probably a good starting point for our experience of Bournemouth Beach Lodges would be the mention of the impressivly slick booking and pre-arrival process, which made the experience hassle-free from the word go. We received a clear and easy to follow confirmation at the time of booking, but also pre-departure reminders and useful arrival instructions a week before arrival, so we knew exactly where to head (and park), what time to arrive and what to bring with us. They even supplied us with some useful holiday tips and need-to-know fact sheet, with helpful suggestions for local restaurants, bike hire and other local attractions.
On arrival at Boscombe Cliffs we parked up directly above the lodges and took the short walk down to the reception area – and what a scenic walk it was, with dramatic cliffs and clear sea views to greet us! The Team headed by Kim were there to lend a warm welcome and gave us a full tour of our lodge and explanation of some of the facilities in the room. The lodges themselves were installed from new last year, but they manage to blend in perfectly with the beachfront landscape at Boscombe, where rows of smaller beach huts sit below, whilst the lodges are slightly elevated and nestled neatly in a row, with contrasting pastel colours that blend prettily with the shrub-lined cliffs behind. They almost look every bit the older, more refined sibling of the traditional day huts, and certainly leave a striking first impression to those who are passing by.
Each lodge has its own private terrace with deckchairs and a table, so you can wake up in the morning to the sounds of the waves, open your bi-fold doors and enjoy breakfast from the comfort of your own deck just watching the sea and horizon – if only every day could start like this! On our dining table when we arrived was a locally made cake, and a pint of milk to get us started, with a selection of teas and coffee, an arrival brochure and more handy hints of things to do locally. The interior was compact yet during the whole duration of our stay we did not once find anything we needed that wasn’t already considered and provided for.
We slept up on the mezzanine in our comfortable bed, accessed via stairs, which felt like a cosy nook, and with the picture window open we could listen to the waves from our bed which felt so relaxing. There is an additional single bed upstairs too, along with charging points and storage cupboards.
Downstairs, we were pleasantly surprised by the kitchen fittings and equipment which were all of really high quality finish, with decent earthenware and crockery – no cheap plastic to be found here! The sofa area also cleverly converts to an additional bed for two, and further seating opposite for one extra person, making the lodges just as appealing for a family of up to six as a couple looking for a bit of seaside respite to revive the soul. We spent our first hours just simply enjoying the beachfront pace and way of life, and of course those unbeatable views.
Getting out and about, we discovered just why this area is so popular. Day one for us was a little rainy so we headed into Bournemouth via the Land Train, for which lodge guests receive a free ticket to ride (a nice bonus). We had a walk along the pier and decided on the cinema to see Isle of Dogs which had been on our hit list as big fans of Wes Anderson, and it didn’t disappoint! After a bit of mooching around the shops, we returned to the lodges and checked out dinner venues. We were lucky to have found a perfect little place in Southbourne – halfway between Boscombe and Christchurch – called The Larderhouse, with a friendly team and artisan-style ambience and the food was perfect, nicely presented and well flavoured, but don’t take my word for it, go and check it out for yourself when you are in town. They even have their own ‘speakeasy’ style bar upstairs called The Library and make a mean Negroni!
The following day the sun was shining for us so we ventured to Hestingbury Head for a walk along this scenic headland with incredible panoramic views from its top, including Christchurch Harbour in one direction and out towards Bournemouth, as well as the unique sandbank of Mudeford to the northeast, punctuated by colourful beach huts. After a lunch in Christchurch and its pretty harbour we headed back past Bournemouth due west towards Sandbanks. We had visited Poole before, so we had the nature reserve and beaches of the Isle of Purbeck in our sights and we jumped on the Sandbanks chain Ferry. Emerging on the other side felt like a totally different world. Studland is a National Trust location and miles of natural beaches such as Knoll Beach, backed by heathland and sand dunes. It is beautifully picturesque and we spent a good couple of hours around here, basking in some Spring sunshine. On our way back we also visited Corfe and its ruined castle, which was well worth the pitstop.
Returning to our lodge we found a cute Easter gift of some local salted caramel fudge courtesy of Bournemouth Beach Lodges – a nice touch! The hosts here really went out of their way to ensure you had a great stay with them. It was our last night in the lodge so we relaxed with some duvets on the sofa and watched a film. After a brilliant night’s sleep we packed up and reluctantly said goodbye to our seaside bolthole, catching some final sweeping views of the coast on our way back up to our car. We vowed to return to Bournemouth again – it may not have been full summer weather but we’d had a blast even in early Spring. Perhaps our only regret was not being brave enough for a sea swim, but hey, this just gave us a perfect reason to plan our return visit!