If you have followed my travels down the years, you have probably heard me mention the seaside town of Bournemouth in Dorset, England a few times on my blog. I first visited this iconic coastal resort in 1994 on a family holiday. I later returned here to Bournemouth to live, work and study. It is a cosy base, a vibrant town and by no small coincidence, I’m also a big fan of the local football team here – the Cherries, AFC Bournemouth. This results in me keeping touch with the town and especially my friends down on the south coast of England.
However when I took off on my adventures round the world again in 2009, Taiwan and Australia, I vowed never to return to sunny sunny Bournemouth after the break up with an ex girlfriend and the memories that tormented me as all those memories were here in this town. I finally put that behind me in 2014 and returned, I told that story before on here. This time, in 2015 I was back in Bournemouth again and I wanted to explore the place from both a local and a backpacking perspective. Where does the budget traveller stay? How good are the Bed and Breakfasts in Bournemouth? Are there any budget hostels here? There is one backpacker’s hostel here in fact, but it doesn’t get good reviews, so it has to be a cool family run Guesthouse or Bed and Breakfast doesn’t it?
I opted for a traditional B and B, the way the English do it best. I also went for a B and B that is family run, so I stayed at the Lea Hurst Hotel near Bournemouth train station. Here are some of the things I loved about my time here at the Lea Hurst Hotel and why I recommend it.
If you are coming into Bournemouth into the coach or train station (near ASDA on the Holdenhurst Road), you’ll be delighted that the Lea Hurst is only a 3 – 4 minute walk maximum from either.
This makes it a perfect and easy place to find and if you’re on the move like me (heading to Portsmouth by train next) you will want an easy entrance and exit point. Plus the bonus is you are on a cosy little street in a local neighbourhood – you are not swamped with other tourists or selfie takers in hotels by the beach.
There was also a coincidence that it is on Frances Street – my friend Clare Tweedy lived on this street in 2003!
As well as all this, there is a church nearby, a Wetherspoons (Christopher Creeke) within 5 minute walk – I had my dinner there and a nice leisurely stroll down to the beach and seafront. I kind of reminisced when I was here – I used to live on the Holdenhurst Road in 2003 – 2004, and in 2015, visited my old flat, a bit sentimental.
2.Traditional English Breakfast
When you stay in English bed and breakfasts there is one thing you do expect – a decent breakfast. The clue in the title says breakfast is included and here at the Lea Hurst it is freshly cooked and prepared to your specific requirements.
I went for a full English breakfast, which had eggs, bacon, sausages, hash brown, tomatoes, toast and beans on it. You can also get mushrooms (I don’t like them) and a vegetarian option. On top of this, there is fruit, cereal, yoghurts, cereal bars and of course a pot of tea, coffee and juices.
3.Family Run B and B
You’ve heard of Travelodge and Holiday Inn etc. but they are too generic, mainstream and repetitive for me. They carbon copy each other so much that they neglect that true English charm. The true charm of seaside resorts in England should be family run bed and breakfasts. Each room can be different you know!
The Lea Hurst is run by James and Kat Avery. They greet you, show you to your room, give you information and of course they cook you the excellent breakfast. A friendly couple, which reminded me of my other B and B stays recently at the Chaise in Sunderland and the Cairn Bay Lodge in Bangor, Northern Ireland. I have visited Weston Super Mare, Brighton, Fleetwood, Sunderland, Southend etc. in the last 12 years or so and all of these have a common denominator – they are English coastal towns with lots of great family run Bed and Breakfasts.
I was in room 3 on the first floor. The room was warm and cosy. A nice bed, wardrobe, clean bathroom, towels etc.
I had everything I wanted here, including WiFi – but if you want a tip ask for a first floor room as the WiFi works here and on the ground floor. I took a shameless happy selfie too, apologies if it’s blurred, still no expert at the selfie!
If you want a quiet time in a party town, this is the perfect place. It is a small hotel with just 8 rooms and it’s quiet. I had some travel articles to write and apps to test while I stayed here, so I loved the quiet time I got in my room.
6.Tea, Coffee and Biscuits
Rooms are provided with a kettle and tea, coffee and biscuits. I’m a bit of an addict to tea and coffee when this happens and I sip away!
7.DVDs and TV
You probably wonder if I ever have time to watch TV or DVDs and the truth is I don’t. However there is a full DVD selection here at the Lea Hurst and my room had a DVD player. That said, I spent most of my time on my laptop, but I did have the TV on too.
I was overlanding and using public transport, but if you have a car, parking outside is provided, there are enough spaces out the front of the hotel. It’s safe and free here to park which is always a bonus in a town like this that has many pay and display car parks.
So if you are a couple, a family or even a solo traveller like me, head to a nice relaxing quiet family run place when you are in Bournemouth. Prices start from £25 per person per night depending on time of year and room, the latest prices are here. You’ll need at least a few days here to sample the delights of the town – lots of pubs and international cuisines, a great beach and pier and thanks to Eddie Howe, a football team that has now played in all four divisions of the English League.
I’ll be back in Bournemouth for sure, you can bet your bottom cherry on it.
Here are the details for booking the Lea Hurst Hotel:
Lea Hurst Hotel, 8 Frances Road, Bournemouth, BH1 3RZ, England
Tel: 07884 285 582 Email: [email protected]
Here is a video of my room (Room 3) at the Lea Hurst Hotel in Bournemouth: