A weekend escape to Bournemouth with Travelodge
If anyone had the, er, pleasure (?) of seeing me on Friday, they’ll probably be in agreement when I say that I was in great need of a break. I was living off such little sleep that my sensitivity was at an all time high, the bags under my eyes were so dark that they could have been mistaken for smudged eyeliner patches and I had resorted to “text speech” in messages. You know it’s bad when I use ‘u’ instead of ‘you’.
I’m going through an incredibly chaotic time in my life – a very good time, but one filled with chaos. The greatest chaos right now is that I’m moving house in 9 days and have to find new homes for half of my stuff (including my bed) – and I’m going to Berlin for 4 of those days and have nowhere to sleep.
“It’s ok though, I’m the Queen of last minute.” I tell myself, frequently and foolishly.
So, yes, I needed a break.
As I write this, I’m on a train from Bournemouth to Southampton – soon to change at Southampton and get back to Brighton, although I think we’ll get off at Hove for convenience (a detail you probably don’t care about, but I’d rather be honest).
Travelodge, with the help of blogger outreach superheroes (sounds cooler than ‘agency’), Talented Talkers, sent me to Bournemouth for the weekend essentially to try to convince you all to take a trip here too. And, of course, stay at Travelodge.
Honestly, I don’t think it’ll take much convincing – and neither do you.
I arrived in Bournemouth just after 9pm on Friday. I should mention at this point that my boyfriend came with me – also courtesy of Travelodge – as he was in need of a break too.
We had a very ”city people” culture shock at the train station, which didn’t have a stream of taxis outside of it, or any information points where we could find a taxi number. Thankfully, a friend of mine came to our rescue before I needed to use Google.
We later took note of a local taxi number, for future reference: 01202556677. (We only needed it once – going back to the station.)
One short car ride later, a lovely receptionist at the Bournemouth Seafront Travelodge greeted us and gave us the keys to our room – along with a card for our complimentary breakfasts, to top off our excitement. (Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day.)
After quickly dropping off our bags, the two of us, along with our hero, wandered along the coast (which was essentially just darkness) and headed into the centre of town.
We faced a challenge finding a place to eat (nowhere’s open past 10pm, apparently) – but were saved by the Wetherspoons, which had gluten and dairy free menus and served gluten free Estrella.
Skip a few hours and we were tucked up in bed. I painted my nails for the first time in about 18 months, which I thought was because I was too busy but after 5 attempts and 7 nail remover pads, I was reminded that it was actually just because I’m not very… good.
That, my friends, is why I’m not a beauty blogger.
But it did relax me, a lot more than it sounds.
I slept like a baby that night.
Waking up was the best. I was snuggled up in clean sheets (that I didn’t have to clean), with the sun streaming through the curtains, knowing that pulling back the curtains would reveal a sea view – it was almost as good as actually seeing the sea view when I got out of bed. Almost.
Shortly after breakfast, we took the same coast-to-town walk as the night before – albeit a little slower as my camera and I were having a field day. The Bournemouth Seafront Travelodge is situated on West Cliff Road, around a 10-minute coastal walk from Bournemouth Pier, but just a 30 second walk from stunning views of Bournemouth coast.
I took so many photographs yesterday that I put them all together in a post when we got back to the hotel to put our feet up for a few hours in the middle of the day – because we could actually do that on a Saturday, for once.
Following our “siesta”, we went for a late lunch at the Mad Cucumber – a quirky vegan café that was friendly, planet conscious, and so vegan that it didn’t even stock cow’s milk. We’re not vegan, but the food was amazing.
Mine was the curry; his was the three-bean enchilada. I also had a chocolate soya milkshake that tasted like a dream.
We spent the following few hours walking off our full tummies on what will be the Pine Walk route in the summer – amongst a few other walks that I don’t have official names. The Pine Walk is an open art exhibition that's held in Bournemouth every year and will be open form 21st May until 4th September this year.
Our long walk took us back to Bournemouth Pier again and into Aruba – a bar overlooking the Pier with panoramic views of the sea, which had been recommended by everyone I knew who’d ever been to Bournemouth. It has its own hashtag - #Arubamouth. (How do you even pronounce that?! Aruba mouth? AruBamouth? ArUbamouth?)
Anyway, it was packed (no surprise there) and smelt like sambuca (or there). BUT I imagine it’s a great place to be at 11pm, after a few glasses of wine.
We didn’t stay, but decided it was definitely time to find a bar. 60 Million Postcards was another recommendation from a friend a work, which became our next destination – after a good 40 minutes of searching for it, that is.
It’s a great bar – albeit far too cool for me – but there was a DJ playing chilled electro music to the booths and sofa areas of people wearing plaid shirts, double denim and half-up, half-down top knots (you know the type). It’s inevitably a good night out – especially with the vibrant personalities of the bar staff – but, honestly, I’m more excited by the Sunday night pub quizzes, which apparently have an interactive app element.
We took some time out at the hotel after that. Our poor used-to-sitting-down-all-day feet needed it.
We had one agenda for the evening: find an independent restaurant where we can eat great food, drink wine and laugh for hours. The Coriander Restaurant was the perfect host.
If you find yourself in Bournemouth, you must also find yourself in The Coriander Restaurant. It’s a really friendly Mexican restaurant in the centre of town, which also claims to be one of the oldest independent restaurants in Bournemouth. There are fairy lights in the shape of peppers on the wall, a selection of sombreros available for you to wear during your meal and colouring pencils – for kids, and the kid-side of yourself.
After another late night walk through the fairly quiet centre of Bournemouth, we headed back to the hotel – for the third and final time that day.
Today was far more relaxing. We had a lazy morning, enjoying a later breakfast and checking out of the hotel at 12. The staff kindly let us leave our suitcase with them for the afternoon whilst we wandered around Bournemouth for the final time.
We wanted to find a café to sit in and chill for a while – for me, that meant writing and for him, reading. According to Google, the majority of Bournemouth’s independent coffee houses close on Sundays, but we knew our favourite (only) vegan café we found wouldn’t let us down – we checked.
“Oh, it’s you again,” said the barista as I ordered a banana hemp milkshake and soya cappuccino.
I’m not sure if that’s a good reaction of not… but it’s rare to find a café that doesn’t bat an eyelid at my (as some would call) pretentious or (as others would call) difficult order.
If you’ve been reading this attentively, you’ll know that we ended up at the Mad Cucumber again.
The perfect weekend should always be topped off with a roast dinner. Down the road from the hotel, which is fairly close to the Mad Cucumber, is ‘The Goat and The Tricycle’ – a traditional English pub, which looked like it had to sell a decent roast, or else.
We were correct.
Nearing to a food coma, we waddled back to the hotel to pick up our bag and took a taxi to the station.
I realise that Travelodge had sent us to Bournemouth for me to review, and perhaps kept things at a good standard for that reason, but I would whole-heartedly recommend staying at the Bournemouth Seafront Travelodge, if you find yourself needing a break as much as I did.
Sure, most of the guests were stag and hen parties, but I couldn’t hear a single thing. No shouting, no music, no screaming, no bashing – just peace and quiet.
The bed was comfortable, everything was clean and the sea view was wonderful. Not to forget how stunning the view was just 30 seconds away from the hotel.
I’m currently sitting in my bedroom – this post has seen me through two train changes, a walk home and cooking dinner – and missing the view already. My view of the car park outside my building just doesn’t cut it.
We took a tiny detour to the Starbucks near the station to see my old friend from Sheffield University, Charlotte. She’s a Bournemouth based blogger, over at twentysomethingxo, and was essentially a sales girl for Bournemouth when we were at uni. I just couldn’t visit without saying hello.
After not-enough-time of catching up, it was time to head back to reality. Two trains, a walk and a 1,600+ word blog post later, reality is where I’ve arrived – far less stressed than when I left it 2 days ago.
I really needed this weekend, more than I could ever comprehend at the time of needing it. I love life to be busy, eventful and a little chaotic, but that kind of lifestyle can get out of hand sometimes – and that’s when you need to press pause.
I’d like to thank Travelodge and Talented Talkers for helping me to press pause, escape to the seaside, eat like a Queen, wander aimlessly for hours and get some sleep. Monday me really needed that.
Escape your own chaos with a weekend trip to Bournemouth, Monday you will be very grateful too.
Disclaimer: My travel, food and accommodation was paid for by Travelodge.