Backpacking and Camping in the South of England: Reflections from My Bournemouth Days

I often dwell on my days spent on England’s South Coast. It’s a beautiful part of the world and having spent 6 years in Bournemouth and Poole, it’s a place I get sentimental about. I return these days on average about once a year, normally to coincide it with a trip to Dean Court to watch the mighty Cherries, AFC Bournemouth. But aside from the football, the jobs I had in Bournemouth and Poole, what other cool memories do I have from the south of England? Here are some of my best memories…

Backpacking and Camping in the South of England: Reflections from My Bournemouth Days

1.Camping Days
The South of England is a brilliant part of the world to go camping in and I have fond memories of nights camping out, with my family and friends. You could get a Mini Countryman Roof Tent and travel all over the place, without needing to worry about accommodation!


Mini Countryman Roof Tent

Mini Countryman Roof Tent

There are plenty of campsites from Somerset to Cornwall to Torquay. Tent Box provide a really great rooftop tent, that fits on most cars and vehicles! You just buy the tent, attach it and off you go. Each time you want to camp, just assemble the tent and once you are ready to move on again, repeat the procedure!

Camping out

2.Beach Days
I spent 4 summers working by the beach selling ice creams, hot dogs and drinks. It was a truly magical time for me. I met a lot of people working in Best Break and in beach huts. I worked there in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2009.

Bournemouth beach, Dorset.

Jonny Blair holding Mr. Softees in Best Break Bournemouth

Selling ice cream for the last time in 2009 – kind of a swansong as I returned to Best Break in Bournemouth before setting off for Taiwan…

3.National Park Days
There are plenty of parks in the south of England, and I have such fond memories of touring the parks. Sometimes we’d do wild drives to places like the New Forest or the Forest of Dean. There is such an amazing nature and lots of wild animals to be seen.

Fallen leaves in the woods at the Forest of Dean

4.Theatre Days
I also worked in the famous and historic Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre. It was here that I got to know about the historic parts of the south of England. I did the bar in the theatre as well as dance nights, and concerts in the BIC. It was a busy time of my life.

jonny blair on pavilion bar bournemouth

Working Wednesdays: Barman in the Pavilion Theatre, Bournemouth, Dorset, England.

5.Backpacking The South Coast

As well as my countless days of work and the camping adventures, there was plenty of time to go backpacking on the south coast. As a Cherries football fan, I watched the team play live in places like Poole, Yeovil, Eastleigh and Torquay. Along the way also visiting Brighton, Aldershot and Blandford Forum.

Brighton Pavilion Theatre

At the time, we were also doing tours of the local areas. Think places like Durdle Door, Plymouth, Cornwall, Wareham and Christchurch.

Backpacking in Christchurch, Dorset, England.

6.Isle of Wight
Who could leave the Isle of Wight off any south of England itinerary? This is another beautiful part of the world. Many people go by ferry and camp out in the summer. The festivals are very popular. And guess what? Yes I also had a job here!! I was a bar steward on the famous Isle of Wight Ferries, Wightlink, plying my trade in my 20s on the Lymington to Yarmouth route. I really loved that job!

Wightlink ferries stewards

The dream team in 2008 on Wightlink Ferries – Jo, Jonny, Simon. Great memories…

Jonny Blair Working on the Wightlink ferries from Lymington to Yarmouth in 2008

Working on the Wightlink ferries from Lymington to Yarmouth in 2008

Jonny Blair on Wightlink ferries 2008

All at sea – loving life on the waves working for Wightlink in 2008

Overall, the south of England is a fabulous place to go camping and touring in. I hope to be back real soon. Safe travels!

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