Bournemouth is a coastal resort town on the south coast of England, with a population of approximately 187,000+, making it the largest town in Dorset County. From London you simply hop on the South West Train at Waterloo Station and in 2.5hrs you’re at the beach! Bournemouth is beautiful (as you can see from the picture I took of Bournemouth pier, featured above), but the real gem is Sandbanks, a small peninsula that buffers Poole Harbor from the English Channel and is located just 10 minutes down the coast.
Sandbanks has been described as a tiny millionaires playground, with the fourth highest land value in the world. Scattered with hotels and restaurants and home to Sandbanks Beach, it is known as the best beach in the UK.
I am a small town surfer girl and can only last in the city for so long before I am dying to be near the ocean, so I was ecstatic to be able to spend a weekend in Sandbanks. Our friend, Joe, who is renting a summerhouse there in the perfect location, just behind Sandbanks Hotel, and was kind enough to host my friend Nina and me and show us around. On Friday night, we had dinner at a bustling Thai tapas place in Poole called Koh Noi (delish green prawn curry and Caipirinhas in an upsclae atmosphere). On Saturday, we had plans to surf but sadly it was flat (like California, waves are better here in the winter), so we spent the day lounging and swimming at Sandbanks Beach, which did not disappoint.
On Sunday we rented bikes and went for an afternoon cycle to the Studlands, a beautiful area across Poole Harbor famous for its beaches, nature preserve and charming English pubs. To reach the Studlands you take the Sandbanks Ferry and in minutes you are across the channel. We rode through pristine countryside to The Pig On The Beach (a new, lovely B&B/restaurant). We planned to have lunch, but they had a power outage, so we went to a cute pub down the road called Bankes Arms. The food was just so-so but the cider was cold and you can’t beat the gorgeous garden seating area.
Summer is obviously the ideal time to visit Sandbanks, but I was told it’s charming in the winter as well, with fires blazing and fewer people. I loved the whole experience, and I plan to go back again this summer and winter too. It’s the perfect seaside escape from London!