Non-Touristy Things to Do in Bournemouth

For our latest post, we’ll be exploring some of off-the-beaten-path experiences that truly define Bournemouth.

As with other coastal towns on the south coast such as Portsmouth, the town features a variety of quirky activities to hidden gems.

Buckle then as we embark on a one-of-a-kind journey to explore the unique sightseeing spots and offbeat experiences that make Bournemouth refreshingly different.

1. Bournemouth’s Upside-Down House

Bournemouth's Upside-Down House
Image: upsidedownhouse.co.uk

First on our list of unusual things to do in Bournemouth is this rather odd attraction.

The Upside-Down House defies gravity, offering a whimsical world where floors become ceilings.

Stroll through topsy-turvy rooms, snap Instagram-worthy photos and laugh at the playful impossibility of it all.

Ideal for adventurers and the creatively curious, this quirky pitstop is perfect for those seeking something delightfully different.

From hanging furniture to upside-down toilets, it’s a brief escape from the ordinary that’ll leave you grinning.

See Bournemouth from a whole new angle with the Upside-Down-House, but watch your step – you never know what’s above (or is it below?) you!

Address – Westover Road Pavilion Theatre, Bournemouth BH1 2BU


2. Alum Chine Tropical Gardens

Step into a tropical oasis without leaving Bournemouth at Alum Chine Tropical Gardens!

This enchanting garden transports you to an exotic paradise, filled with vibrant plants, swaying palm trees, and colourful bursts of exotic flowers.

As you meander through winding paths, you’ll discover hidden pockets of beauty and tranquility, all accompanied by the gentle rustling of tropical leaves.

Ideal for nature lovers, photographers, or anyone looking to escape the ordinary, Alum Chine Tropical Gardens is a slice of the tropics, right in the heart of the city.

If you’re looking for lesser-known Bournemouth attractions, this should be part of your itinerary.

Address – 34 W Overcliff Dr, Westbourne, Bournemouth BH4 8AF


3. Littledown Miniature Railway

All aboard the tiny train with mighty charm at Littledown Miniature Railway in Bournemouth!

This pint-sized railway offers an adventure that’s big on fun and filled with whimsy.

Chug along a scenic track, where every twist and turn is a new discovery, and the world seems to shrink to the perfect size.

Whether you’re a child at heart or sharing the joy with little ones, Littledown Miniature Railway promises smiles, laughter, and a gentle journey through a land of imagination.

Perfect for family outings or simply reliving the magic of miniature, this railway is your ticket to a world where small is spectacular!

Address – Bournemouth BH7 7DX, United Kingdom


4. Moors Valley’s Gruffalo Trail

This enchanting trail brings the beloved children’s book to life, offering families a delightful walk through the woods in the company of the Gruffalo himself.

As you stroll along the well-marked path, you’ll encounter beautiful wooden sculptures of characters from the story, including Mouse, Fox, Owl, Snake, and of course, the Gruffalo.

Each sculpture is an artful masterpiece, capturing the essence of the characters.

Interactive signs add to the fun, offering facts, riddles, and activities that encourage children to engage with nature and the story.

The trail is dotted with hidden surprises, inviting curious minds to discover tracks, investigate sounds, and immerse themselves in the Gruffalo’s world.

It’s a gentle and accessible walk, suitable for all ages, strollers, and even picnics.

Great if you’re looking for quirky activities in Bournemouth.

Address – Horton Rd, Ashley Heath, Ringwood, BH24 2ET


5. Bournemouth Aviation Museum

Bournemouth Aviation Museum
Image: bamhurn.org

Bournemouth Aviation Museum is a unique outdoor museum offering an engaging glimpse into the world of aviation.

Featuring over 50 exhibits, including helicopters, jets, and gliders, visitors have the opportunity to explore cockpits, understand aircraft engineering, and learn about aviation history.

With interactive displays like flight simulators, the museum caters to both enthusiasts and families alike.

Centrally located near Bournemouth Airport, this volunteer-run museum is committed to preserving aviation heritage and educating the public.

Bournemouth Aviation Museum provides an insightful and hands-on experience into the world of flight and is one of the more offbeat Bournemouth attractions.

Address – Merritown Lane, Christchurch, BH23 6BA


6. Red House Museum and Gardens

Nestled in a charming 18th-century building, the Red House Museum and Gardens in Christchurch, near Bournemouth, offer a captivating glimpse into local history.

Inside, visitors can explore period rooms furnished with intriguing artefacts, showcasing daily life in the Georgian era.

The museum’s exhibitions provide insights into everything from Victorian childhood to the area’s natural history.

Stepping outside, you’ll find beautifully maintained gardens, perfect for a leisurely stroll.

With engaging displays and a tranquil garden setting, the Red House Museum provides a multifaceted experience for history enthusiasts, families, and garden lovers alike.

Address – Bournemouth, BH5 1BN


7. Hengistbury Head Beach

Away from Bournemouth’s busier beaches, Hengistbury Head Beach, offers a delightful blend of relaxation and exploration.

Families can enjoy the gentle waves and beach huts, while adventurers may explore nearby nature trails.

Rich in history, the area holds archaeological interest dating back to the Stone Age.

Whether you’re looking to unwind by the water, try some water sports, or discover the scenic views from the headland, Hengistbury Head Beach provides a well-rounded seaside experience.

Address – Southbourne, Bournemouth BH6 4EW


8. Marvo Mysteries Escape Room

Looking for unique experiences in Bournemouth?

This award-winning escape room experience presents an endless array of challenges and puzzles to test your wit and problem solving chops.

Each room tells a unique story, offering intricate themes that range from scientific experiments gone awry to mysterious magical realms.

With captivating narratives and cleverly designed clues, Marvo Mysteries is a race against time that promises excitement, laughter and a dash of adrenaline.

An unforgettable adventure awaits, that’s ideal for those seeking quirky and unusual things to do in Bournemouth.

Address664 Christchurch Rd, Boscombe, Bournemouth, BH7 6BT


9. Bournemouth Natural Science Society

Are you curious about the natural world? Bournemouth Natural Science Society (BNSS) invites you to explore and learn!

This unique Bournemouth attraction serves as a museum and a centre for research.

It’s housed in an elegant Victorian building and showcases an eclectic collection of artefacts relating to geology, archaeology and anthropology.

Visitors can marvel at intriguing exhibits like fossil displays, botanical collections and rare minerals.

Well-suited to families, students, researchers and anyone with an inquisitive mind, the Bournemouth Natural Science Society nurtures a community of curiosity.

Most definitely an attraction for those of you looking for an unusual day out in Bournemouth.

Address – 39 Christchurch Rd, Bournemouth, BH1 3NS


10. Bournemouth Upper Gardens

Bournemouth Upper Gardens
Image: bournemouth.co.uk

Bournemouth Upper Gardens is a peaceful retreat that offers a break from the bustling city life.

This well-maintained green space, extending from the town centre to the boundary with Poole, presents a lovely fusion of art, history and nature.

As you wander the meandering pathways, you’ll discover a variety of themed gardens reflecting different parts of the world, including European, Asian, and North American flora.

The gardens are dotted with intriguing sculptures, informative plaques, and charming features like the iconic Coy Pond.

Bournemouth Upper Gardens provides an enchanting escape, rich in both beauty and heritage.

Address – 27a Surrey Rd, Bournemouth, BH4 9HW


For more information top attractions and well as unusual things to do in Bournemouth, visit the official tourist site.

And if you’re thinking of staying in Dorset, see our selection of Dorset holiday cottages available to rent.

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Dale Shelabarger

Dale is the owner and founder of Cottages to Rent which he launched back in 2005. As well as promoting holiday cottages, Dale blogs regularly about top UK holiday destinations, visitor attractions and places of historical interest.