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About Bournemouth beaches, Dorset

The beautiful Dorset coast is dotted by several thriving, busy traditional seaside resorts, hugely popular with families. Bournemouth attracts a young crowd of partying holidaymakers looking to live it up in the (hopefully) sunny surrounds and is a lively cosmopolitan town on a stunning stretch of coastline.

Beach:

Bournemouth has a beautiful Blue Flag 11km (7 mile) stretch of broad golden sands, which are lapped by sparkling seas and have won awards for cleanliness and safety, including the impressive Quality Coast Award.

Beyond the beach:

Christchurch, 17km (11 miles) east along the coast, is more tranquil than Bournemouth, and has a spectacular 11th-century priory, with fantastic views from its 36m (120ft) tower. Those with a head for heights can soar on the Bournemouth Eye; a tethered helium balloon that rises above the town to give an amazing view of the staggering Jurassic Coastline and beyond.

Family fun:

There are plenty of water sports on offer in Bournemouth and in the surrounding areas, which are ideal for keeping families entertained. There are opportunities on all the local beaches to take courses in windsurfing and kite-boarding or rent canoes, jet skies and sailing dingies. Horse riding is another option at nearby Studland Stables (www.studlandstables.com). For a taste of traditional seaside family fun head to Pier Approach and take a whirl on the beautiful Victorian Carousel.

Exploring further:

Splashing out:

Head down the coast to Poole and stay at the Hotel du Vin (www.hotelduvin.com), set in the 18th-century Mansion House. Rooms are large and lush, with soft and gleaming white linen and the furniture is in keeping with the characterful old mansion in which it is set. Breakfasts are generous and you can dine and wine taste in the brasserie.