We are lucky enough to live within easy driving distance of some truly lovely parts of the country. Not only do we have the New Forest right on our doorstep but we are also close to some gorgeous seaside towns such as Bournemouth. The beaches around the Bournemouth area are so gorgeous that it’s easy to spend a whole day just soaking up the soft warm sand and beautiful views. However if you venture out of this sandy little comfort zone, Bournemouth actually has so many other things on offer too. Seafront cafes, bars, restaurants and lots of green spaces and beautiful gardens. It’s the perfect place for a weekend getaway and there are also some fabulous hotels in the area!
We decided to visit Compton Acres, which is somewhere that I went a few times as a child and have fond memories of. It’s always a bit surreal taking your own children down memory lane and there’s always the risk that things won’t be as good as you remember. Luckily Compton Acres did not disappoint on any level! It’s a privately owned house with the most stunning gardens that are open to the public, there is also a garden centre, gift shop, tea rooms and restaurant.
Darcie always enjoys going to gardens, she loves being outside and is fascinated by nature. She asks me so many questions – which I often don’t know the answers to! – and adores running around discovering all the little secret spaces, bridges and tunnels. Compton Acres was the perfect size for her little legs to run around, there was enough there to keep her excited but it’s also not too big that you don’t feel like you’ve seen it all. Darcie loved running up all the stairs and going across the stepping stones in the lake. She played hide and seek behind the trees and even found a sweet little house with perfect Darcie sized furniture. We also stopped for ice cream for Darcie and Dan and I had local cider and beer which was delicious!
After we had explored Compton Acres to our hearts content we set off in search of some lunch. We wanted to try somewhere we had never been before and decided to visit Urban Reef. Urban Reef is a gorgeous seaside restaurant and bar, they serve the most delicious food and you have stunning views of the water and the Isle Of Wight from your table too.
Dan and I both chose burgers from the menu, mine was chicken and Dan’s was beef and we both agreed that they were up there with some of the best burgers we had ever eaten. Darcie had a kids meal which was really tasty too, I can vouch for this as I think I ate most of it… She spent her time doing colouring and asking us if she could go to the beach yet. That isn’t at all a comment on the restaurant, she just finds life far more exciting than food!
After an hour of listening to Darcie witter on about the beach, we gave in and pottered down to the sea front. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how beautiful Bournemouth’s beaches are, the sand was soft and warm and she had a lovely time building sandcastles and running away from the sea.
All in all we had a fantastic family day out only a 40 minute drive away from home. We’ll definitely be going back to Compton Acres again and spending lots of time in Bournemouth over the summer months.
Our spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own.