Monday, 13 July 2009

Day 2 - South Coast - Bournemouth - Some pics...

The Brothers from Saudi Arabia chilling on Bournemouth Pier

Harry Ramsden's on Bournemouth beach serves the "World's Most Famous Fish & Chips".

Bournemouth Beach & Pier

Day 2 - South Coast - Bournemouth - A bit of Estonian

Before I talk about how the chattiest, nicest girl in Bournemouth is actually from Estonia, let me tell you about the Print Room restaurant, where Liina Pakkats works.

It's an old printing works that used to belong to The Daily Echo, Bournemouth's daily newspaper. The paper is still published, but the printing works building is now a high-ceilinged, airy, art-deco (that word again!), spacious restaurant that holds about a hundred people. You wouldn't know it though, as the restaurant is partitioned off into separate sections. On a Monday night it's almost empty, but on weekends its jammed apparently.

Okay, so back to Liina. She'll tell you everything you need to know about the menu, but also about Bournemouth and what to do. The Bournemouth Eye, a tethered hot-air balloon that rises from the town's gardens when the weather is good. The Oceanarium near the Pier is small but interesting, with a walk-through tunnel with sandsharks, turtles and rays flying over head. Very cool - when I went there, every kid I saw there was going bananas with excitement. Then further out of town, Corfe Castle (west of Bournemouth on the road to Swannage) is a must, Liina says.

The meal at The Print Room...olives that taste like olives (soft, non-salty, big - £2), terrine (mushroom, liver, pork, garlic - £6) and fillet of sea bream (about £13). The sister restaurant is Aruba, on the seafront, which Liina says is Ar-uber cool.

Day 2 - South Coast - Bournemouth - Best bedview in town?

From the outside, Cumberland Hotel in Bournemouth looks like a fairly weathered art deco building with lots "charm" and in need of a brush-up. But the position right on the beach is superb, and the views from the sea facing rooms are therefore pretty unbeatable in Bournemouth.

And inside, the decor is slick, smart, modern art deco...I think that's how you'd describe it!? Anyway, see for yourself in the pic below, and the video which shows the view from my room. Yowser. There are big private terraces in front of all the seafacing rooms, and I'm sure they'd install a foofie-slide from your terrace into the sea, if you asked reception nicely...chances are they would, cos the service is quick and efficient.

(P.S. I had a club sandwich and french fries for lunch and it was gooood. £14 with a coke, so I guess it should have been?)

(Also, my room's walls and roof were quite thin, so you can hear your neighbour walking around, watching TV etc...)

Cumberland Hotel Room facing sea

Day 2 - South Coast - Bournemouth - Sand!

In a nation-wide poll in 2007, Bournemouth was voted the happiest town in the UK! 82% of residents said they were happy...and the beaches were one of the main reasons. Bournemouth has a 7 mile long sandy pebbles here. (By the way, Walsall in the Midlands was voted the unhappiest town...eek.)

There's another 3 miles in nearby Poole, whose beach has been awarded an international Blue Flag for the past 21 years, the most for any beach anywhere in the world. There are another 7 blue flag beaches in the area.

Brighton's got pebbles, Bournemouth has's a softer place in other ways too. It's a bit smaller, there's a clean feel to it, the gardens near the beach are accessible, and there's less of a vibe. Seems a bit sleepier too.

Day 2 - South Coast - Portsmouth - I coulda, I shoulda...

Between Brighton and Bournemouth, the main town to visit is Portsmouth. I didn't have time to stop, but here're a couple of things I researched.

Portsmouth is the main port of the Royal Navy. Visit Lord Nelson's original HMS Victory with which he thrashed the French and Spanish in 1805 at the battle of Trafalgar. Check out too the D-Day Museum. Non-militants can check out the views at the top of the Spinnaker Tower, apparently the highest publicly accessible building in the UK at 170metres. As expected there's an aquarium too. Check out Portsmouth Tourism for more.