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Staying in Bournemouth for Bovington Tank Museum?

Staying in Bournemouth for Bovington Tank Museum?

Old Oct 21st, 2019, 04:21 PM
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Staying in Bournemouth for Bovington Tank Museum?

We (myself, my DH, and our adult son) are in the early stage of planning a UK trip next September. I've already posted a query, and I'm sure we'll have many more (probably changing our minds six times in the process). We will need to be in Southampton on the 5th and 6th, because I'm attending a fiction conference. We'll also probably be including the Isle of Wight, and had originally been thinking after Southampton, but now we're thinking we might do that before hand. We'll probably be leaving Southampton on the morning of Monday, Sept 7th.

We're going to hire a car, and will drive to Bovington, since my DS has informed us that we "will never be forgiven" (cue dramatic music) if we skip the Tank Museum. I'm sure he would forgive us, but he'll never let us forget it, and it's obviously important to him. According to google maps, Bournemouth should be about 35 min. away, and we like the looks of it. Also while there are clearly lodging options closer to Bovington, it looks like there's more choice in Bournemouth. Good idea? Bad idea? Unrealistic drive time?

After Bovington/Bournemouth we will probably head in the direction of Salisbury/Stonehenge, with the idea that we are driving through Wales to Holyhead, leaving the hire car there and taking the ferry to Dublin, from which we will fly home. All of this is somewhat subject to change.
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Old Oct 21st, 2019, 08:54 PM
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Bournemouth is fine for bovington. Driving from Bournemouth to Holyhead . . . Not so much.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2019, 12:20 AM
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The Tank Museum is very interesting, visited it a few years back. Bournemouth to Bovington is about 22 miles in distance, 35 mins would be the minimum time it would take to drive the route. Bournemouth is a fine place to stay, lots of hotels. Apart from the fact it is a long drive from Bournemouth to Holyhead, not sure why it is not a good idea, are you not used to driving in the UK? Driving to Pembroke would be closer than driving to Holyhead and you could get a ferry to Ireland (Rosslare). Have you checked if you can do a one way rental and what the drop off fees might be?
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Old Oct 22nd, 2019, 12:21 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
Bournemouth is fine for bovington. Driving from Bournemouth to Holyhead . . . Not so much.
That rather depends on whether they plan to do it in a day or take a few of days over the trip. It would be daft to do it in a day (or even two) and miss all that the Welsh Marches and North Wales has on offer.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2019, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
Bournemouth is fine for bovington. Driving from Bournemouth to Holyhead . . . Not so much.
Originally Posted by Odin View Post
The Tank Museum is very interesting, visited it a few years back. Bournemouth to Bovington is about 22 miles in distance, 35 mins would be the minimum time it would take to drive the route. Bournemouth is a fine place to stay, lots of hotels. Apart from the fact it is a long drive from Bournemouth to Holyhead, not sure why it is not a good idea, are you not used to driving in the UK? Driving to Pembroke would be closer than driving to Holyhead and you could get a ferry to Ireland (Rosslare). Have you checked if you can do a one way rental and what the drop off fees might be?
Originally Posted by hetismij2 View Post
That rather depends on whether they plan to do it in a day or take a few of days over the trip. It would be daft to do it in a day (or even two) and miss all that the Welsh Marches and North Wales has on offer.
We're not used to driving in the UK, but we're planning to take it slowly (at least two days, probably three), and it seems smart to avoid significant driving at night. I have sort of considered the ferry to Rosslare, but it's not dropping us in the part of Ireland we want to be in, and my DH and DS want to ride Irish Ferries Ulysses (very, very badly). Unless the new one is in service by then (all I can find is 2020), in which case they want to ride that one, at least as desperately.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2019, 07:34 AM
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My comment was if you planned driving it in one day. But if you are taking 3or 4 days you can make a nice journey out of it -the is sooooo much to see along the England/Welsh border and in north

But a huge trek like that just to ride a ferry- I'd only do that if the 4--ish days didn't impact/cut time spent on other parts of the itinerary. One can fly from Southampton to Ireland in a teeny fraction of the time.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2019, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
My comment was if you planned driving it in one day. But if you are taking 3or 4 days you can make a nice journey out of it -the is sooooo much to see along the England/Welsh border and in north

But a huge trek like that just to ride a ferry- I'd only do that if the 4--ish days didn't impact/cut time spent on other parts of the itinerary. One can fly from Southampton to Ireland in a teeny fraction of the time.
I can't imagine flying from Southampton to Ireland. I don't like to fly, but even the members of the party who don't mind it wouldn't think it made sense unless you desperately needed to be there quickly for some reason (dying relative, job interview, tight connection of some kind, etc.).

Driving around England and Wales (hopefully not in circles) seeing things along the way? Definitely up our alley. Some of those things may be strange. I have visions of DH staring raptly at a petrol pump for 20 minutes, and then detailing for the rest of the day every single way it differs from an American one. Hopefully there will be a few more sights of more general interest (and it's great to know that it's a good route for things to visit).

The ferry is very important to the itinerary. It is the LARGEST CAR FERRY IN THE WORLD (as I am reminded of frequently). Our last trip to Ireland was in 2010, and we just did not have time to ride it. There are still regrets. DS watches videos about Ulysses. I'm considering myself fortunate that I am getting away with leaving the Chunnel train and the Dad's Army museum in Thetford off the itinerary (not that I mind either of those things in theory, but they would not aid scheduling).
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Old Oct 22nd, 2019, 09:06 AM
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Hi, much as I love my birth-town I would not recommend staying in Bournemouth to my worst enemy. You will not know the term "grockle" but these hotels are designed for them. Really don't. Very dull and just not worth going to compared to alternatives. Sorry Odin but I've worked in these hotels and my family used to own many of them and generally they are not great.

Have a look at a few more interesting ideas, like the Haven Hotel on the end of Sandbanks, technically in Poole with lots of beach to play on, a chain ferry to watch and lots of yachts about (plus the Poole to Cherbourg ferry will go past the windows twice a day). There is also a hotel on Poole Quay, I've never been in but if you like harbours I think the views would be spectacular.

Alternatively, go out to Wareham and stay in one of the oldie worldie hotels in the tiny harbour there. Or Salisbury which has this amazing Stonehenge thing and Old Sarum in the back yard along with one of the finest cathedrals in the world in the middle. Or Bucklers Hard the "Master Builder" if you have the money.

Last edited by bilboburgler; Oct 22nd, 2019 at 09:10 AM.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2019, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
Hi, much as I love my birth-town I would not recommend staying in Bournemouth to my worst enemy. You will not know the term "grockle" but these hotels are designed for them. Really don't. Very dull and just not worth going to compared to alternatives. Sorry Odin but I've worked in these hotels and my family used to own many of them and generally they are not great.

Have a look at a few more interesting ideas, like the Haven Hotel on the end of Sandbanks, technically in Poole with lots of beach to play on, a chain ferry to watch and lots of yachts about (plus the Poole to Cherbourg ferry will go past the windows twice a day). There is also a hotel on Poole Quay, I've never been in but if you like harbours I think the views would be spectacular.

Alternatively, go out to Wareham and stay in one of the oldie worldie hotels in the tiny harbour there. Or Salisbury which has this amazing Stonehenge thing and Old Sarum in the back yard along with one of the finest cathedrals in the world in the middle. Or Bucklers Hard the "Master Builder" if you have the money.
In New Jersey that kind of tourist is generally referred to as a "shoobie' or a "benny", depending on which end of the shore you're on. I've honestly never heard of a beach town that didn't have some mildly derogatory term for short term tourists (or at least not any that have a fair number or that kind of visitors), but we tend to like kind of honky tonky beach towns (and DS loves a nice busy amusement pier--or even a kind of run-down one--and has been informed that it's one or two, not the length and breadth of Britain) so it looked like a good choice. Tendency towards poor hotel quality would tend to make me think that we should a) be towards the top of our budget for that night, and b)should possibly do chain rather than independent. They really can't be any weirder than some of the hotels in shore towns here though.

I hadn't looked at Poole, although it might work. Salisbury is the next stop, and we are intending to stay either there or nearby, or possibly in Bath. The Master Builder doesn't seem to always be a fortune, particularly if you book last minute, but it's not us. It's particularly not DH, who would be horrified that I passed up a seafront Marriot in favor of it, even if I got a bargain rate.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2019, 12:16 AM
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I wonder how recent bilbo's experience of Bournemouth is.

The conference industry, rising costs around London and Britain's bizarre higher education boom have turned it from the insular seaside resort he seems to remember into a rather blander, but surprisingly well-resourced, London exurb with a seashore. The conferences have brought with them a smattering of adequate, competently managed, midmarket hotel chains which few of us would choose as a destination but provide perfectly OK places to stay a couple of days. Higher education, relocated administration centres - and AFC Bournemouth's Premiership status - have changed the town's demographics into standard SE England medium-sized town - with the ensuing raft of midmarket food and pub chains which guarantee you'll not be astounded at its gastronomic innovation, but will be fed in a way that would have been close to unthinkable even in central London 30 years ago.

The real problem, I'd say, is road traffic. Commuting to Southampton MUST be done by train (which you can do just as easily from Wareham, Poole or Salisbury), and driving to Holyhead from anywhere within 50 miles of Southampton takes you through practically all Britain's worst, and least tractable, traffic bottlenecks. And, IMHO, the sad fact that just about all the "nice to detour to" stuff between Holyhead and Bournemouth is third-division, and really worth a day out to if you're in Britain for 85 years but absolutely not worth bothering with if you're here for a couple of weeks.

Now I appreciate that the Ulysses may be for you an absolutely non-negotiable, Premiership-standard, attraction. In which case, double the drive time you imagine between the Southampton area and North Wales

Your planned few days in or near England's Jurassic/Stone Age heartland makes a lot of sense. But if you're on a limited time budget, for most people flying from Southampton to Dublin is the sane way to go. And the second sanest way is by train. Seven hours might sound a long time: but it'll feel infinitely less than the misery of the drive.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2019, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by flanneruk View Post
I wonder how recent bilbo's experience of Bournemouth is.

The conference industry, rising costs around London and Britain's bizarre higher education boom have turned it from the insular seaside resort he seems to remember into a rather blander, but surprisingly well-resourced, London exurb with a seashore. The conferences have brought with them a smattering of adequate, competently managed, midmarket hotel chains which few of us would choose as a destination but provide perfectly OK places to stay a couple of days. Higher education, relocated administration centres - and AFC Bournemouth's Premiership status - have changed the town's demographics into standard SE England medium-sized town - with the ensuing raft of midmarket food and pub chains which guarantee you'll not be astounded at its gastronomic innovation, but will be fed in a way that would have been close to unthinkable even in central London 30 years ago.

The real problem, I'd say, is road traffic. Commuting to Southampton MUST be done by train (which you can do just as easily from Wareham, Poole or Salisbury), and driving to Holyhead from anywhere within 50 miles of Southampton takes you through practically all Britain's worst, and least tractable, traffic bottlenecks. And, IMHO, the sad fact that just about all the "nice to detour to" stuff between Holyhead and Bournemouth is third-division, and really worth a day out to if you're in Britain for 85 years but absolutely not worth bothering with if you're here for a couple of weeks.

Now I appreciate that the Ulysses may be for you an absolutely non-negotiable, Premiership-standard, attraction. In which case, double the drive time you imagine between the Southampton area and North Wales

Your planned few days in or near England's Jurassic/Stone Age heartland makes a lot of sense. But if you're on a limited time budget, for most people flying from Southampton to Dublin is the sane way to go. And the second sanest way is by train. Seven hours might sound a long time: but it'll feel infinitely less than the misery of the drive.
Yeah, we were figuring a slow drive, especially by US standards.

I appreciate the traffic heads-up. I knew the commuter radius from London had been expanding, but I had thought Southampton/Bournemouth were far enough west not to be a major issue outside of rush.

We like trains, and a seven hour journey isn't a big deal, but DH likes the idea of driving (particularly through Wales), and a car seems much easier for things like Bovington and Stonehenge, although I suppose we could use Bournemouth as a base for that general area with a car, return it, and then take the train. Secondary attractions often work well for us, and we were planning to join the Royal Oak Society which should get us into National Trust things, but it's obviously a long drive, and skipping it would give us more time to explore (and DS to visit tanks, arcades, and possibly annoy fish if we think his collapsible rod will fit in his suitcase and not be ridiculously light for ocean fishing).

Speaking of traffic, I had been assuming that waiting till mid-morning on Monday would be fine to leave Southampton. Would Sunday afternoon be better? I want to do it in dayligh, but I think my conference is over by two or so, and I can always duck out a little early. This is Sunday, September 6, or Monday, September 7, so I'm assuming it's what we call "shoulder season" for the beach.
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Old Oct 27th, 2019, 12:46 PM
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The tank museum is fantastic, even if you have little interest in military machines. So much to see! Also, if you are in the area and like animals Monkey World is a great visit and very nearby. It's a world famous monkey rescue centre (which in the UK has a TV show dedicated to it).

We stayed in a lovely bed and breakfast in a tiny village called Winfrith Newburgh between the two. B&B was called Cheriton House (on booking com) - great pub they recommended for food etc. Might be a bit quiet if your son likes night life though!
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Old Oct 28th, 2019, 01:03 AM
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A years ago my children gave dh a sponsor a monkey at monkey world . A year or so later we went to visit him i.e. The monkey . Monkey world so much fun
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Old Oct 28th, 2019, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by hattonth View Post
The tank museum is fantastic, even if you have little interest in military machines. So much to see! Also, if you are in the area and like animals Monkey World is a great visit and very nearby. It's a world famous monkey rescue centre (which in the UK has a TV show dedicated to it).

We stayed in a lovely bed and breakfast in a tiny village called Winfrith Newburgh between the two. B&B was called Cheriton House (on booking com) - great pub they recommended for food etc. Might be a bit quiet if your son likes night life though!
Originally Posted by northie View Post
A years ago my children gave dh a sponsor a monkey at monkey world . A year or so later we went to visit him i.e. The monkey . Monkey world so much fun
Monkey World sounds very cool. My son doesn't necessarily need night life (he tends to stick fairly close to us a lot of the time anyway) but that sounds like it might be a bit quiet for all of us. Some of the attraction of Bournemouth is that it seems to have a fair amount going on.
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