Is Bournemouth Expensive? The Average Travel Costs

Is Bournemouth expensive
Belinda Fewings via Unsplash
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Taking up a glorious stretch of England’s south coast, over five million tourists flock to Bournemouth every year. As well as its seafront and the golden sands of Bournemouth beach, the town is also famous for its fantastic nightlife. But is Bournemouth expensive? Unfortunately, Bournemouth is not the cheapest place to visit and certainly not to live.

The south of England is one of the most expensive areas of the UK for everything from accommodation, eating out, nights out, and especially property. Even though Bournemouth is considered expensive, there is a very good range of accommodation to suit most budgets. On average, the cost for a one-week holiday to Bournemouth is roughly £700 for a solo traveler, £1100 for a couple and £1500 for families.

If you’re looking to trim a few pounds here and there off a trip to Bournemouth our guide will certainly help your money go a little further. Here’s everything you need to know about the cost of a trip to Bournemouth.

Is Bournemouth expensive to visit?

People on Bournemouth beach in summer
Belinda Fewings via Unsplash

A major holiday destination, Bournemouth is packed with plenty to do that certainly has the potential to make a nasty dent in your bank balance.

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We estimate that a week in Bournemouth, including accommodation, will cost a family of four somewhere around £1500. If you’re traveling as a couple expect to budget around £1200 for the week, and solo travelers can expect to shell out around £700 for the same trip. These costs are only a guide and the final total can obviously rocket up if you’re out hitting the bars and clubs every night or come in at a lot less if you’re looking after the pennies.

Here’s a roundup of a few typical day-to-day costs you can expect on a visit to Bournemouth:

Meal for one£15
Bottle of water£1
Soft drink (restaurant)£3
Average hotel cost per night£50
Sight-seeing bus tour (1 hour 30 minutes)£13
Harbour boat cruise (70 minutes)£12

Is Bournemouth expensive to live?

View of Bournemouth beach
Roman Grac via Pixabay

The south of England is one of the most costly areas of the country to live in. While not as expensive as London or the area that surrounds the capital known as the home counties, Bournemouth is a highly desirable place to live and the prices here reflect that. Being right on the south coast, as well as surrounded by several areas of natural beauty, such as the Jurassic Coast, New Forest National Park and Cranborne Chase, makes Bournemouth an expensive place to live.

This is reflected in the price of property in the town, with the average house price in Bournemouth being around £320,000, approximately £80,000 above the national average for the UK. If you’re looking to rent then this is also expensive in Bournemouth too, though there are some areas away from the center of town where rents are more affordable. Other factors that determine the cost of living, such as the average price of commodities like food and petrol, are higher in Bournemouth than in areas of England further north.

Is accommodation expensive in Bournemouth?

Buildings overlooking Bournemouth beach
Roman Grac via Pixabay

As you might expect for a town with a thriving tourist industry that overlooks the sea, accommodation in Bournemouth can be very expensive. Though there are few five star hotels in Bournemouth there are several four star hotels in the town. There’s certainly plenty of choice for those looking to stay in style in Bournemouth. The most expensive hotels in Bournemouth range from upmarket modern chains such as Hilton and Marriott to a whole host of typically English townhouse and manor hotels, many with great access to the beach.

However, being such a popular destination for tourists means that there are plenty of good quality budget-friendly places to stay in Bournemouth too. By booking early and digging around for the best deals a night at a good three star hotel can be found for anywhere between £40-70 a night. If you are looking to keep costs down it sometimes pays to look for accommodation that’s a little further away from the beach. Many of the more reasonably priced hotels are located in town away from Bournemouth’s prime real estate on the coast.

Here are a few hotels in Bournemouth that we recommend, with one option for every budget:

  • The Riviera Hotel & Holiday Apartments Alum Chine – Ideal for solo travelers or families, The Riviera Hotel is a great low-cost choice. Within walking distance of Bournemouth beach, rooms start from around £50 a night.
  • Bournemouth Carlton Hotel – The Carlton Hotel has gorgeous rooms in a grand Victorian hotel with some of the best sea views in town. Rooms start from around £100 a night.
  • The Highcliff Marriott Hotel – One of Bournemouth’s most famous hotels, the luxurious and regal Highcliff Marriott Hotel is perched on top of West Cliff Promenade and arguably the best hotel in town. Rooms start from around £110 a night.

Is food expensive in Bournemouth?

Fish and chips
Gilly via Unsplash

Bournemouth has a thriving culinary scene, with a huge array of fantastic restaurants to pick from, especially in the bustling town center. There’s a good selection of high end fine-dining restaurants in Bournemouth, where you can sample some of the best of British and European cuisine, and wash it down with some very good (and pricey) wine. For example, a meal at Roots, one of Bournemouth’s most prestigious (and Michelin starred) restaurants, come to around £89 per head, and that’s without drinks.

However not every meal needs to be gourmet and it is very easy to eat well for a little less in Bournemouth. As with most towns and cities in the UK, there are several excellent independent restaurants and cafes as well as dependable chain restaurants to be found in Bournemouth where a good feed won’t need to cost an arm and a leg.

A meal for one at one of Bournemouth’s chic yet relaxed bars such as Brass Haus or Sixty Million Postcards will come in at around £15. There’s a huge range of restaurants and bars that serve food in Bournemouth’s city center, as well as in outlying areas such as Westcombe and Boscombe. For a typically British gastronomic experience that suits any budget, be sure to pick up some freshly fried fish ‘n’ chips, best enjoyed eaten straight from the bag with a view of the sea.

Is Bournemouth expensive for nightlife?

People on a night out
Fred Moon via Unsplash

As a party town, Bournemouth is known as a great destination for a big night out, but if you plan on staying out until the small hours of the morning it’s more than likely that you’ll need some deep pockets. Sadly a typical night out in Bournemouth is not going to be cheap. Again, being in the (generally) affluent south means that drinks are expensive. With an abundance of glitzy cocktail bars and nightclubs, the price of a night out in Bournemouth can easily escalate.

Expect to pay around £5 for a pint of beer or a glass of wine in most bars, while cocktails typically range from between £8-10 per drink. If you’re carrying on to one of Bournemouth’s clubs there’ll be an entry fee to pay on the door, which is generally around £5 per person at most of the town’s nightclubs. As a rough estimate, we’d estimate that a decent (but not overly decadent) night out in Bournemouth will set you back somewhere between £40 – £60 per person.

There are ways to keep the cost of a night out in Bournemouth down, however. Many bars and clubs in the town have happy hour offers and combination deals, which can cut the cost of a few rounds of drinks. Also, as a big university town, many bars and clubs have promotional nights aimed at bringing in students with cheap deals and offers on specific days of the week. These are always popular events and typically draw a big crowd, so you’ll be guaranteed a great atmosphere as well as a few extra pounds in your pocket at the end of the night.

Bournemouth on a budget: Some extra money-saving tips!

Drone shot of Bournemouth beach
Red Morley Hewitt via Unsplash

There’s no getting around the fact that Bournemouth is an expensive place to take a holiday. However, there are several ways in which you can make a trip to the south coast a little easier on the wallet. Here are a few of our top tips to help make your time in Bournemouth a little less costly.

Avoid visiting in the height of summer

If you can, try to visit Bournemouth outside of the peak summer months. When temperatures rise in England’s reasonably short summers, much of the country flocks to the seaside. This is also when prices rocket up, especially for hotels and for transport. If you want to keep the cost of accommodation down, think about visiting Bournemouth in the late spring or early autumn. Not only will hotel rooms be cheaper, but the weather should also still be sunny enough for you to enjoy plenty of days on Bournemouth beach.

Look for accommodation a little further from the beach

Another top tip to save a bit of money is to book accommodation that’s a little bit away from the beach. Seaside hotels are always more expensive due to their proximity to Bournemouth beach, the town’s star attraction. Even hotels that are only a few minutes’ walk from the beach are often a little cheaper. If you must be close to the beach but still want to save a few extra pounds, look for seaside hotels that offer rooms with and without sea views. Though the rooms are likely to be identical those without sea views will always be cheaper of the two.

Book accommodation and travel well in advance

One of the best tips for saving money when visiting Bournemouth is to make sure you book accommodation and travel well in advance of your trip. This probably doesn’t need saying when it comes to accommodation, as most people book this early in the planning stages of any holiday, but it is certainly true of transport, especially any long-distance train journeys.

A common gripe in the UK is how train tickets are priced, with fares often coming in all manner of astronomical figures seemingly plucked out of the air. This is certainly true if you’re booking tickets at short notice, but if you check prices online around a month before the day you plan to travel you can easily find a bargain. Train tickets bought online well in advance can sometimes be as much as a third of the price you’d pay for the same journey if you buy them from the station on the day of travel.

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