15 best things to do in Bournemouth in the rain (2023 guide)

Are you looking for things to do in Bournemouth in the rain? This guide has put together all of the best wet-weather activities in the Dorset town!

One of England’s best resort towns, Bournemouth boasts beautiful beaches, charming streets, and vibrant nightlife.

Thanks to its coastline and amenities, Bournemouth is one of the top UK destinations for anyone looking for a classic beach holiday that’s less than a two-and-a-half-hour drive from London. 

But, when you’re going on holiday in the UK, you’ve got to expect one thing… rain! 

Bournemouth is VERY prone to rain, which can certainly put a damper on your holiday plans!

But fear not, as there are plenty of indoor activities in Bournemouth that you can enjoy whatever the weather! 

Best things to do in Bournemouth in the rain

There are plenty of things to do in Bournemouth even when it’s raining. From visiting the Oceanarium and Bournemouth Aviation Museum to enjoying a spa day or indoor activities like laser quest or trampoline parks, you’ll find options for families, groups and couples to stay entertained and make the most of your visit.

Visit the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

A beautiful Victorian villa located in the historic East Cliff Hall, the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum was founded by Sir Merton and Lady Russell-Cotes at the start of the 20th century and showcases a 19th century collection of art and artifacts from around the world.

It was one of the last Victorian manor houses to be built in the country; exploring it is like stepping back in time. It’s the perfect place to take a break if the weather is showery!

Take a trip to Bournemouth Oceanarium

penguin at the oceanarium

Has being by the seaside got you wanting to learn more about marine life? Head to Bournemouth Oceanarium, where you can see marine life from all over the world! 

The Oceanarium is located on Bournemouth pier and is home to over 150 species of fish, reptiles, and other sea creatures.

You’ll find a few areas, each depicting marine life in different areas. 

While you’re here, explore the aquarium’s themed exhibits, including the Amazon River, the Under Shark Wreck Reef tunnel, Otter Oasis and Penguin Beach Encounter. 

The aquarium also offers a range of educational programs and interactive exhibits, making it a great destination for families and anyone interested in marine life.

Catch a show at Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre

Dating back to 1929, Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre hosts a variety of shows, from musicals to tribute bands to stand-up comedy, making it a perfect way to spend a rainy evening.

Their schedule changes seasonally; you can check up-to-date times here. 

Shop til you drop!

Do rainy days make you crave a bit of retail therapy? 

You’ll find a variety of high street and independent shops in and around Bournemouth town centre.

Castlepoint Shopping Park is about five miles from Bournemouth Beach. It’s one of the largest shopping centres in the UK, spanning over 41 acres and encompassing 40 shops, along with 2,000 free parking spaces! You could spend all day shopping here, so it’s perfect for those days when the wet weather just doesn’t stop. 

Bournemouth Arcade, on the other hand, is a selection of shops housed in a Victorian building, where you’ll find both chain and independent stores. 

Enjoy a spa day

woman relaxing at a spa

If you’re looking for some relaxation while you’re on holiday in Bournemouth, how about soaking in the spa? This is the perfect destination if you’re looking for something to do in inclement weather! 

There’s a range of spas with indoor pools, saunas and treatment rooms in Bournemouth. Here are some of the best! 

  • Oceana Day Spa: Located in the Ocean Beach Hotel, Oceana Day Spa offers a range of spa packages, massages, facials, and beauty treatments. Enjoy a hot stone massage, opt for a melting oil candle massage or a revitalising facial. 
  • The Queen’s Spa: Situated in the Queen’s Hotel, this spa is located in offers a range of services, including a subterranean spa space with a Finnish sauna and a thermal spa pool. If you want to add something extra special to your spa experience, why not add on an afternoon tea? 
  • Christchurch Harbour Hotel and Spa: Situated in neighbouring Christchurch, this spa offers a range of features, including a hydrotherapy pool, salt room, sauna, steam room and heated swimming pool. Treatments are also on offer!

Explore the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC)

While barbecues on the beach might sound a little more enticing for your Bournemouth summer holiday, there’s another venue that you can enjoy on a rainy evening!

The Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) is a multi-purpose venue that hosts a variety of events throughout the year, from concerts to exhibitions.

The BIC is located in the heart of Bournemouth’s seafront and boasts everything from concerts – artists like Fatboy Slim and Olly Murs have played there – comedy and exhibitions including a gin festival. 

Visit the Bournemouth Natural Science Society

Fascinating fossils

The Bournemouth Natural Science Society is a fascinating museum located in the heart of Bournemouth.

Housing a vast collection of natural history exhibits, including fossils, an Egyptian Collection and an astrology exhibition, this museum is a must-visit for all science-savvy tourists. 

It’s only open to the general public on Tuesdays throughout the year, but there’s a range of other events on throughout the year – you can check them all out here. 

Take a stroll along Bournemouth Pier

The legendary bournemouth pier

Aside from its seven-mile-long sandy beach, Bournemouth is most famous for its fantastic pier. 

One of the best family-friendly attractions in Dorset, Bournemouth Pier is over 100 years old and has been a staple of the town’s identity since it was first built in the late 19th century.

Visitors can enjoy a variety of indoor and outdoor activities on the pier; so, if you’re visiting in the rain, don’t worry!

The indoor attractions include an arcade, a zip wire, and RockReef Indoor Activity Attraction, which is home to a Clip N Climb climbing wall.

If the weather improves, you can take in stunning views over the sands from the end of the pier! 

Mr Mulligan’s Pirate Adventure Golf

If you fancy more indoor sports in Bournemouth, Mr Mulligan’s is the ideal place for a family adventure in Bournemouth! 

This epic mini golf course has 18 holes, along with electro-darts, shooting gallery, pool tables and ping pong. 

Mr. Mulligan’s Pirate Adventure Golf is a great destination for families, groups of friends, or anyone looking for a fun and unique activity to do in Bournemouth.

Check out Bournemouth’s best pubs 

Pulling a pint at the pub

When most locals experience some classic British weather, they do one thing – head to the pub! Luckily, Bournemouth has a few that are perfect for tourists needing shelter! Here are some popular favourites. 

  • The Goat and Tricycle: This traditional pub has a cozy atmosphere, 11 real ales, ciders and craft beers. They also have a great food menu, featuring dishes like pies of the day, beef or vegetable chilli and all-day brunch. 
  • The Four Horsemen: A popular spot for craft beer enthusiasts, this small bar harks back to the 90s with retro decorations. 
  • The Brunswick: This gastropub run by Greene King, offers a range of hearty meals and a great selection of beers and wines. The pub has a cozy and welcoming atmosphere, making it the perfect spot for a relaxed evening.
  • The Brewhouse and Kitchen: This brewpub offers a range of local and award winning craf beers, as well as tasty food (their roasts are mouthwatering!) and a great atmosphere. 

Flip Out Southampton

Hop in the car and head to the nearby city of Southampton to flip out!

Southampton is just a short drive or train journey from Bournemouth, and the park features a variety of trampolines, and foam pits, which are perfect for all ages! 

Visitors can enjoy activities such as trampoline slamball and a stunt zone where you can test out moves in a safe environment! 

There’s plenty to enjoy here for both small and big kids – it’s the perfect day trip from Bournemouth for families.

Splashdown Waterpark

While this is an outdoor/ indoor water park, you probably won’t mind a bit of rain while you’re at Splashdown waterpark, as you’ll be wet anyway!

Located in nearby Poole,  Splashdown Waterpark is a fun activity for the entire family! 

The waterpark features a range of indoor and outdoor water slides.

Unleash your inner adrenaline junkie on The Screamer, drop down near vertically on Baron’s Revenge or enjoy a chilled-out ride on the Mississippi Drifter. 

Splashdown Waterpark might be closed in extremely bad weather, but it’s well worth visiting on drizzly days in Dorset! 

Bournemouth Aviation Museum

Red arrows in a cloudy sky

Bournemouth Aviation Museum is a must-visit destination for aviation enthusiasts and history buffs.

While the museum is largely an outdoor attraction, you can easily pull on a rain mac and explore the collection of vintage aircraft and aviation-related exhibits.

There’s an extensive collection of planes and helicopters, including a 1960s Vulcan bomber and a Hawker Hunter F6 fighter jet.

The museum also features exhibits on the history of aviation in the Bournemouth area, including the town’s role in World War II.

Laser Quest Bournemouth 

Laser Quest Bournemouth is an indoor laser tag arena that’s perfect for groups of people looking for a rainy day activity close to the town centre!

Laser Quest is a team-based activity where players use infrared lasers to “tag” opponents in an indoor arena. Each player wears a vest with sensors that register hits from laser guns, and the objective is to score points by hitting opposing players while avoiding getting hit. It’s a fun and challenging activity suitable for players of all ages and skill levels.

Laser Quest Bournemouth has special lighting and sound effects to create an immersive experience, and the game is suitable for players of all ages and skill levels.

Marvo Escape Room

Another fun activity for any groups of 2-8, this escape room experience will plunge you into another world. 

As you enter the room, you’ll try to recover a missing artifact, using clues to help. One clue leads to another, ultimately leading to the artifact… but will you find it in time? 

As with most escape rooms, pre-booking is essential. 

Now you know what to do in Bournemouth on a rainy day! 

Two people looking out over Bournemouth beach as the sun sets.

Whether you’re looking for indoor attractions for families or pubs to while away rainy day afternoons in Bournemouth, hopefully, this conclusive guide has helped!

British weather can put a dampener on some holidays, but it rarely lasts all week – so pass some time with these rainy day activities in Bournemouth, and you’ll be exploring the town’s nearby attractions like the Jurassic Coast and enjoying an ice cream on the beach before you know! 

Make sure you check out the best places to visit in Dorset and the rest of South West England while you’re here!

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