Adventures around Bournemouthwith PlusBus
Coastal views and fresh-brewed coffee; palm trees and pre-Raphaelite beauties… Bournemouth has a wealth of lovely things to discover, all within a short bus ride of the station. When you buy your train ticket, simply add on a full day’s unlimited bus travel with a PlusBus ticket; it’s valid on the open-topped bus to Sandbanks and all the regular services around the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. Here are just three of the hundreds of adventures you could have with a PlusBus ticket in Bournemouth.
1. Explore Russell-Cotes House, Gallery and Garden
Looking out over miles of golden Dorset sand with clear views in fine weather of the chalky stacks of Old Harry Rocks, Russell-Cotes is an extraordinary museum of art and craft. This flamboyant, palm-guarded villa on the cliffs is packed with stained glass, sculpture, peacock friezes, and Alhambra-inspired alcoves. Hotelier Merton Russell-Cotes finished building his dream house in 1901 and presented it to his wife Annie for her birthday. Designed partly as a gallery for their paintings, sculptures and worldwide travel mementos, it houses an incredible collection, including rosewood cabinets, gold-inlaid plates, and a pouting pre-Raphaelite Venus by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
- Lots of different buses from Bournemouth railway station stop five minutes’ walk away from the Russell-Cotes galleries at the top of Bath Hill, including bus 4, bus 6 and bus 17.
- There’s so much to see when you get there, you’ll probably need a break. Luckily, there’s an airy café in the new wing of the house, serving ploughman’s lunches, cream teas, New Forest ice cream and Dorset apple cake.
- Don’t miss the view from the conservatory, with its curved glass roof, or the fabulously ornate fireplaces, created by a Bournemouth craftsman to feature pictures from the collection.
2. Ride the Breezer bus 50 to Sandbanks
Salty sea air gusts across the open top deck of the bus, which is tall enough to brush through trees in Bournemouth’s green suburbs. You can peer into the gardens of Sandbanks’ multi-millionaires and spot cormorants diving into the waves.
- Open-topped bus 50 heads hourly towards Swanage. The PlusBus zone ends at the chain ferry, but you can hop off, pay £1 to sail over as a foot passenger to Studland Bay, with fabulous views of Brownsea Island, and it’s free to come back. There are coastal paths here for walking between the grassy dunes and the boat-bobbing sea.
- The trip through Bournemouth’s leafy streets on bus 50, past palms and evergreen holm oaks, is a treat. Look out for black-and-white, orange-billed oystercatchers on the long sandy beaches.
- Sandbanks is famous for its multi-million pound houses. For a special occasion or a taste of how the other half live, book a table at the Rick Stein restaurant with unbeatable views from the big windows across Poole harbour. It’s close to the Pavilion bus stop, which is right by the water – a lovely place to wait for the bus. Bus 60 also stops here on journey between Sandbanks Ferry and Poole.