Complete 700 word article


Bournemouth, Dorset: Back in the early 1800s Louis Tregonwell knew a good thing when he saw one. And so, while patrolling against smugglers, he hit on the idea of developing a marine resort on this south coast. By 1840 his Bournemouth had 26 buildings, including a hotel and a boarding house. Blessed with l0 km of sandy beaches, scenic sandstone cliffs and wooded ravines known as "chines", the resort soon became a winner. Arrival of the railway from London in 1870 made it very accessible. A few years later when Prince Edward and Lillie Langtry built a home here Bournemouth became a fashionable destination for their upper-crust friends.


This "Queen of the Dorset Coast" prospered until well into the 1970s. By then vacationers were being whisked from Britain on charter flights, and this elegant resort known for its population of genteel retirees was no longer in vogue. The answer was to attract young blood. In a brilliant move its marketing people set out to lure financial services companies from their London strongholds. It worked. Now Bournemouth boasts thousands of new jobs in insurance and financial companies. An influx of 30,000 foreign students has brought youthful energy through schools which teach English as a second language. There are several art colleges and a university, while Bournemouth International Airport is a base for the aerospace industry.


As a result of all this prosperity Bournemouth has become a place that's great to live in, and to visit. Downtown stores in pedestrian malls are always comfortably filled. So are restaurants, and hotels which wisely offer affordable mini-breaks in shoulder and off-season months. The town continues to invest in its visual appeal. In consequence from early March through late November you will see flowers everywhere. Super-clean beaches have received the coveted blue flag. To keep it flying a litter patrol comes by twice daily and dogs are banned from the sand.

While most seaside communities go into forced hibernation for the winter, an imaginative tourist board staff here keeps things hopping. The new Bournemouth International Centre has an indoors wave pool. Casinos, nightclubs, five theatres and the internationally acclaimed Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra combine to attract visitors all year. What's more the climate is so balmy beaches can be busy at Easter.


Without the weather's co-operation there is still plenty to see and do in the immediate area. Neighbouring Poole, endowed with long smooth beaches, also has an historic harbour, museums and waterside pubs serving the most delectable fish and chips. From Poole a car ferry will take you to the timeless Brownsea Island For a full day's outing or longer, another goes to the fabled Channel Islands. Beaulieu, famous for its National Motor Museum, is reached by a delightful drive through the New Forest. Salisbury of cathedral fame is some 50 km from Bournemouth, Stonehenge 12 km or so beyond that. And let's not forget Thomas Hardy. This entire region is the Wessex of his novels. Start tracking the countless sites recognizable in his work and you may never come home. On our last visit we came for a week and stayed for a month.

TRAVEL PLANNER: Bournemouth is 100 miles (l60 km) from central London. There is an hourly train service from Waterloo Station. Buses leave from Heathrow Airport and Victoria Coach Station.