This is a collaborative post; our spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own.
Last weekend we decided to make the most of the sunshine we’ve been having and head down to Bournemouth to enjoy the beach. It’s a bit of a drive for us, so we’ve not explored the area much before, but it’s a great place to visit, with lots of beautiful spots to visit and there are plenty of hotels in Bournemouth if you decided to stay over and make a weekend of it.
We were asked to check out some of Bournemouth’s hidden gems, so I did a bit of research to take us away from the tried and tested places and came up with Compton Acres, which is a bit further out from Bournemouth’s centre, near Poole. This place is right up our street! When you first park up, it appears to be just a little cafe and garden centre, but tucked away behind it are a series of little gardens that extend for miles. Each garden is a separate area, so you have a formal Italian garden, a woodland garden, a Japanese garden, a heather garden, and a water garden. It’s a beautiful place to wander.
We headed into the Italian garden first, where we got off to a rocky start when Max managed to fall over and scrape his knee! After some tears, some cuddles, and a well placed plaster, we were on our way again.
The boys both loved the water garden, and we ditched the pushchair so that they could fully explore all the bridges that wound through the garden. They loved the huge fish that were so friendly (I think they were expecting to be fed!)
The wooded valley was a lovely cool place on a hot day, and planted with a huge variety of shade loving shrubs, all nestling beneath a canopy of Scots Pine trees. The were waterfalls to be found, a sabre toothed tiger statue, and lots of jungle-like sections.
The heather garden wasn’t quite at the right time of year to really see it at it’s best, but Max loved the winding paths, and pretending to be a statue.
The final garden we discovered was the Japanese Garden, and it was definitely one of the highlights. I loved the stepping stones across the water, where you could look down and see the huge fish swimming beneath.
After a morning of exploring, we were all ready for lunch, so we headed down the road to a Pizza Express (always a hit with our boys!). We’d promised them a beach day for the afternoon, so the beach it was! Rather than heading to Bournemouth beach or Sandbanks, both of which I knew would be heaving, we headed to Alum Chine, which is just between the two and never as busy. It also has the benefit of a pirate themed playground, and a tropical garden which backs onto it, meaning that there’s plenty to do should you get bored of the sand and the waves.
It’s also beach hut central, with loads of pretty pastel coloured beach huts lining the promenade.
Both the boys absolutely loved the beach, and would happily have played there for hours on end, just collecting buckets of water from the sea and tipping it over the sand.
We also took with us a little Fish and Chip stand which we were kindly sent by Great Little Trading Company. Who doesn’t love fish and chips at the beach?
We headed home with sandy toes and two very tired little boys. We had high hopes of getting fish and chips from the local fish and chip shop once we got home, but sadly we found it was closed!