Bournemouth, England, and how to get there

Bournemouth: a brief introduction

Bournemouth is a seaside town and holiday destination situated on the south coast of England. Closely associated and now forming part of a single conurbation are the ancient towns of Poole to the west and Christchurch to the east. Bournemouth is internationally known as one of the United Kingdom's major conference venues, and annually hosts meetings of the main political parties (September 1999 will see the Labour Party - currently the party in Government - holding its conference in the town), trade unions, professional bodies, and sporting events.

Stylish and cosmopolitan, modern Bournemouth has all the attractions and appeal of a large town, but none of the hassles found in a big city. The town has a very international feel, with many language schools, colleges and the recently created university. It has many literary associations: Thomas Hardy's Wessex lies all around. Mary Shelley, the creator of Frankenstein, is entombed in Bournemouth, along with the heart of her husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Robert Louis Stevenson lived in the town and wrote Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde here. The Hobbit's creator, JRR Tolkien, was also a long-time resident in one of the area's seaside hotels.

The coast and countryside surrounding Bournemouth has great historic and natural scenery. To the east is the New Forest, an area of open heath and woodland famed as a Royal hunting reserve. To the north and west is the rolling Wessex chalkland. The coast is justly famous for its sandy beaches and sheltered bays - Bournemouth beach is more than 10km from end to end!

Bournemouth University is a rapidly expanding higher education institution with a long history of teaching and research in archaeology. The University has a modern campus set in a quiet suburban neighbourhood of the town as well as a town-centre campus with recently constructed halls of residence and student centre. The Archaeology Group comprises about twenty staff, and is one of the largest communities of academic archaeologists in southern England.

As a gateway to Wessex and the south-west of England, Bournemouth lies within one of the richest parts of Britain in terms of visible archaeological remains. Within the town itself is the prehistoric and Roman cross-channel trading centre of Hengistbury Head (excavated in recent years by Professor Barry Cunliffe) and numerous Bronze Age barrow cemeteries including that of Knighton Heath which gives its name to one of the major industrial phases of the middle Bronze Age in Britain. There was a major Roman trading centre and pottery industry (Black-burnished ware) focused on Poole Harbour. Post-Roman cross-channel trade came through Hamworthy on the north side of Poole Harbour, and the towns of Christchurch and Poole were both founded before the 12th century.

Within about one hour's drive of Bournemouth there are the internationally famous sites around Stonehenge (a World Heritage Site), Maiden Castle, Hambledon Hill and Hod Hill, and the historic towns of Dorchester, Southampton, Winchester, and Salisbury to mention just a few of many important places.

Getting to Bournemouth

Bournemouth is easily accessible from all parts of Europe, by air, train, bus, and ferry.

By air: Bournemouth International Airport (Hurn Airport) has daily connections to  Dublin, Edinburgh and some European city airports. Direct flights to the UK are most conveniently made to London Heathrow and London Gatwick airports. There are direct hourly bus services from the central bus station at Heathrow Airport (National Express and Flightpath). Alternatively take the underground from Heathrow to central London and connect to Bournemouth by train from Waterloo Station. An hourly direct rail link runs from Gatwick Airport to Bournemouth. Buses are also available.

By trans-continental train: connecting to Eurostar Express in Paris or Brussels for travel via the Channel Tunnel to London's Waterloo station. Change at London Waterloo for Bournemouth trains. Buses to Bournemouth are available from Victoria Travel Interchange in central London (above Victoria underground station).

By cross-channel ferry: from Cherbourg, France, regular sailings direct to Poole. Alternatively, use ferries to Portsmouth and train to Bournemouth.

From within the United Kingdom: by rail Bournemouth is accessible  from London (two trains an hour from Waterloo station), and via cross-country intercity services from the Midlands, Northeast England, Northwest England and Scotland. By road, Bournemouth is connected to the national motorway system via the A35 which joins the M27 along the south coast. The M27 links to the M3 and via the A34 to the M40 and M6 to the Midlands and north. National Express coaches run to the Bournemouth Travel Interchange from all parts of the United Kingdom (sometimes with connecting services).

Buses and trains arrive at the Bournemouth Travel Interchange in the centre of the town, about five minutes walk from the accommodation and town centre facilities to be used for EAA99 (about 35 minutes walk from the Talbot Campus where the lectures and meetings will be held). Local buses and taxis are available at the Bournemouth Travel Interchange.  A shuttle bus service will be provided for delegates arriving during the day on Wednesday 15 September.  This will run from Bournemouth Travel Interchange to The Pavilion venue in the town centre where the afternoon;s events will be held.

EAA Fifth Annual Meeting Homepage

Bournemouth University Archaeology Homepage

European Association of Archaeologists Homepage

           This page has been compiled and is maintained by Jeff Chartrand, and Eileen Wilkes, School of Conservation Sciences, Bournemouth University. Last Updated 7 July 1999.