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Free or Cheap Things to Do in Bournemouth on a Student Budget

With the recession looming and a lot of uncertainty when it comes to finances, it's understandable that you may want to be savvy with money right now. As the cost of living rises, so may your concerns.

You may be wondering if you will still be able to enjoy your time in the beautiful coastal resort town of Bournemouth and the wide variety of opportunities available. We're here to reassure you that you can still have a fantastic time as a student on a budget! Let’s have a look at some free or cheap activities you can do during your time here.

Free Things to Do in Bournemouth

There are many free attractions you can experience in Bournemouth, ranging from beautiful walks along the beach to enjoying the gardens and scenery. Let's have a look at some of your best options available as a student below.

Bournemouth Gardens

The Gardens consist of Bournemouth Upper Gardens, as well as the Middle and Lower Gardens. These all provide a range of activities and run for 3km from Bournemouth Pier all the way to Poole's boundary.

Discover Bournemouth gardens.

Bournemouth Gardens

Lower Gardens

At just a short walk from the town and pier, the gardens are conveniently placed for a scenic walk as you enjoy what the town has to offer. There's always a lot going on throughout the year that you can enjoy.

Attractions include a bandstand, as well as the aviary and open-air art exhibitions. Mini golf is also an option, although it will come at a low cost so is still worth discovering! Christmas time is also another great time of year for exciting events, such as the free Bournemouth Christmas Tree Wonderland that features a trail of trees and other exciting festive activities to partake in. Some activities are paid for such as ice skating and food stands, although these are completely optional.

There are also optional refreshments and food available but of course you can still enjoy this wonderful garden without spending a penny.

Central and Upper Gardens

The Central Gardens includes a peaceful countryside pathway amongst fields and well-trimmed hedges, and many types of plants. It is also home to a war memorial, tennis courts and a café.

The Upper Gardens take a more natural approach. Three are several red bridges that go across the stream and there is even an old folly, now home to bats! Just a little bit further up is also a children's play area, if you happen to have any kids with you on the day.

Following along the path, the gardens lead to ornamental rockeries and a coy pond. There is even a cycle path included to one side for those that may prefer a journey by bike.

Bournemouth Beach

On England's South Coast lies the incredible Bournemouth beach, with 7 miles of space available. Fancy a walk on a frosty winter morning, why not wrap up warm and walk along the beautiful sea front? In the summer, why not cool off in the sea and lounge about, getting that tan you've always wanted? Not many students have the option of having a beautiful beach at their doorstop, so take advantage!


Bournemouth pier

Boscombe Pier is free to enter and has many activities that you and your friends can enjoy. As a free attraction, you can still benefit from the vantage points to either watch the sea, volleyball and even table tennis as you wish. Make the most of Boscombe Pier, open all throughout the year and open from 9am to 11pm daily.

Cheap Things to Do in Bournemouth

Maybe you want to have a bit more fun and have money to spare but still want a cheaper day out. That's completely achievable as well. We've identified some of the best cheap activities that Bournemouth has to offer you.

Enjoy a day out in Bournemouth Town Centre

Who doesn't love a good coffee shop on a Sunday morning and shopping trip once in a while? Bournemouth is home to multiple shopping centres and shopping arcades. The largest shopping park in the UK is actually located just 4 miles out of the town centre. Castlepoint offers the best of many high street brands, as well as dining options. In the event that you drive, there are over 3000 free parking spaces with staying times of up to 4 hours.

Bournemouth Town Centre

Boscombe Chine Gardens

Boscombe Chine Gardens features many formal flower beads, large grassy areas for recreational activities, mini golf and even a water-themed playground.

Many trees grow on the banks of the chine and these gardens provide a suitable habitat for a large variety of wildlife. There's even a wildlife quiz along the pathway so you can learn all about the plants and animals found there.

The Squirrel café and mini golf are just a short walk from the pier and features an 18-hole course set in the gardens. Enjoy hot and cold drinks, freshly baked goodies and even daily specials all of which are available at good value prices.

Russell Cotes Art Gallery

The Russell Cotes Art Gallery is set in one of the last Victorian houses to be built in England. The building includes four galleries which each have an array of fine art paintings and sculptures throughout. With student ticket prices being less than £5, the gallery is cost effective but provides an amazing representation of art throughout history.

Spend the Night Partying

'The Old Fire Station' is Bournemouth University's official student venue. They hold frequent events, playing all sorts of music from pop to punk rock to drum and bass. With cheap tickets priced at just a few pounds, there's plenty of choice for a great night out with friends.


Cool Coast Ice Rink

Cool Coast Ice Rink is the largest indoor rink on the South Coast. It is located every winter in Bournemouth International Centre (BIC). With student tickets costing just over £10, it makes for a great day or evening out. Go solo or join your friends and have a great time with this indoor ice rink and secure your spot by booking in advance.

Cheap food and Drink from a Variety of Cultures

Eat exotic meals from all over the world with restaurants such as YO! Sushi, Las Iguanas, Handmade Burger Co and INDI-GO. These are just some of the many student discounts you can take advantage of on the Bournemouth Students' Union site.


Find a Comfortable Place to Stay with Lulworth Student Company

We want you to benefit the most during your time at Bournemouth as a student. That's why we offer affordable student housing to all. We have many flats and studio flats available on offer now. Browse our full list of affordable accommodations in Bournemouth today.