Considering it’s blessed with seven miles of award-winning sandy beach and stacks of bars, nightclubs and restaurants, it’s not hard to see why Bournemouth was voted winner of TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Beach Destination Awards, 2012. This large town, on the southwest coast, is within easy reach of the New Forest and the Jurassic Coastline (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), yet only two hours' drive from London.
In the spring and summer months, Bournemouth comes to life; fun-hungry youngsters crowd the bars and clubs, families weighed down with buckets and spades flock to the beaches and watersports enthusiasts take to the water. The town also hosts heaps of festivals and events.
Kicking off this year’s events is Jubilee on the Beach. Held over the bank holiday weekend, bands and dance acts will take to the stage and perform into the evening -- the Queen’s Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace will also be shown live on a screen on the beach. For the more sophisticated eardrum, the Diamond Jubilee Proms in the Park on June 4 is a daylong celebration of all things classical. Other events include the fifth annual Bournemouth Air Festival, from Aug. 30 - Sept. 2, and Bournemouth Carnival Week, from July 30 - Aug. 5.
Getting away to the coast for the summer need not even be expensive. This offer from the Piccadilly Hotel, highlighted in the Manchester Evening Standard as a top British break, packs in a two-night stay with daily dinner and a free dance lesson, all for $160 (£99) per person. Or this one from the art-deco style Cumberland Hotel is $143 (£89) per night, with a three-course dinner and a cheeky glass of buck’s fizz on arrival.
Note: Prices converted May 14, 2012, on xe.com.