Bournemouth on the south coast is among the best-known seaside resorts in the UK, and if you know where to look there are some brilliant B&Bs to be found, including Edwardian boutique guesthouses and contemporary eco-friendly resorts. All of these B&Bs make a great base for enjoying Bournemouth’s oceanfront and the Jurassic Coast; here’s our pick of Dorset’s best bed and breakfasts.
Set in wooded tranquillity on the East Cliff, the Orchid was billed as the first boutique hotel in Bournemouth when it opened its doors in 2004. Now the vibe is very much oasis of calm, which means attractive dark matt walls in the newly refurbished communal areas, pillows with terms of endearment stitched onto them and an immaculate terrace at the rear for drinking and dining. There’s a breakfast buffet on offer too – and even a Michelin-starred chef in the hotel’s No.34 restaurant.
The clue is in the name; hotels don’t get more eco-friendly than this. Aside from being a luxurious place to stay, the Green House uses solar power to heat its 32 rooms, has free electric vehicle charge points in the car park, makes waste oil from the kitchen into fuel, composts coffee beans and even has milk delivered in pails. The in-house Arbor restaurant uses local, organic, fair-trade produce from artisan suppliers to make its lovely food, which includes the complimentary continental breakfast. So you can feel virtuous while you relax in the greenest hotel in the UK.
This boutique Edwardian adults-only guesthouse is certainly luxurious, with deep pile carpets, Versace-inspired furniture and bespoke wallpaper. Rooms are named after horse races and courses — Aintree, Ascot, Grand National — to reflect former occupier Lord Derby’s love of racing. As well as a great afternoon tea, they also make delicious eggs for breakfast: choose from benedict, royale and florentine options. As a final selling point, the manor offers a luxury car hire service – so you can travel the Dorset coast in Ford Mustang, Range Rover Sports and Mercedes SLK models.
This neat B&B is found in Boscombe, an area just outside Bournemouth city centre and further along the beach to the east. Here you’ll find paddleboards, surfing, volleyball and several bars and restaurants right on the seafront by Boscombe Pier. The Westby bills itself as eco-friendly: it uses chemical-free cleaning products, energy supplied by Ecotricity and is enthusiastic about recycling. You can get a nice continental or cooked breakfast, and vegans are well catered for.
This pretty guesthouse in a restored Victorian building in Boscombe overlooks Knyveton Gardens, a pocket park with just the kind of bowling green you’d expect to see on a Bournemouth postcard. Owners Jane and Ged provide a warm welcome for guests and there’s a complimentary continental breakfast for you to enjoy – although the full English is definitely worth paying a bit extra for.
You can get a cracking full English breakfast at the Balincourt, not to mention a build-your-own omelette if you’d prefer, or lighter options such as scrambled egg and smoked salmon, or cold meats and cheese. The late Victorian-era guesthouse in Boscombe is just three minutes on foot from the beach and has been given a good polish by husband and wife duo Ricky and Harps, with a warm welcome as standard.
Just as its name suggests, the nautical theme is strong at Waves In, with beach-themed pillows and seaside hues on the walls. Dogs Charlie and Arthur love to roam the garden and are always friendly with guests. Their owners Des, Donna and Val, who run this B&B next door to scenic Boscombe Chine Gardens, will even pop a breakfast hamper outside your door if you request it.
The 12 bedrooms at Urban Beach are all individually designed, and there’s a modern bistro, cocktail lounge and outside deck with heated seats for al fresco dining year-round. There’s a great full English on offer and some cracking vegetarian options too — try the plant brunch with bubble and squeak, scrambled tofu, hash brown, beans, tomato, mushroom and spinach. Boscombe Beach is a short walk away when it’s time to work it off.
Not only does this refurbished hotel have a chocolate box aspect to it from the outside, inside it really runs with the theme. That means big prints of chocolate boxes everywhere, “forget love I’d rather fall in chocolate” stencilled on the wall in one of the bedrooms and, of course, chocolate on the menu — the chocolate breakfast pancakes are particularly delicious. For parties there’s the Chocadence experience in which you enjoy all sorts of dreamy delights from the Chocolate Bar.
Visiting Bournemouth with a furry friend? Check out our pick of the best places to stay in Bournemouth with your pet, bookable on Culture Trip.
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