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Bowling in Bournemouth

Bournemouth has a milder than average climate, a packed events calendar and seven miles of award- winning sandy beaches on its seemingly never-ending list of attributes.

It is, quite frankly, a superb place to set up camp and relax for a few days and it puts most English holiday hotspots to shame. And, considering what the south of England has to offer on that front, that is no mean feat.

Located south-west of Southampton on the south coast, this holiday retreat enjoys its own micro-climate, making conditions for outdoor bowling near perfect. To substantiate that fact, palm trees and tropical plants even grow along its picture-friendly coastline!

You might think the game of bowling is not a popular sport in Bournemouth - you would be wrong. The Bournemouth and District Bowling Association was founded in 1906 and, at that time, comprised just five clubs. Now, there are no fewer than 30 affiliated bowling clubs situated in East Dorset and West Hampshire, with some 1,500 bowlers official members of the association. Bournemouth is, near enough, the capital of bowling in southern England.

The association's aims are to 'promote and foster the game of bowls in Bournemouth and the surrounding district'. Aside from running various competitions and leagues between the associated clubs, there is an annual Open Tournament that attracts keen players from all over the country, and this year Scots are being invited to take part in the unique event.

The Bournemouth Tournament was played for the first time in 1909, just three years after the association was founded, and attracted no less than 62 entries. The event, the brainchild of the first General Secretary H A Miell, has been run annually ever since.

Interestingly, it was the first Open Tournament to be held in a seaside town and the first to be run to a defined programme and timetable. To illustrate its unprecedented success in recent years, it attracted a record 1,298 entries in 1996, with over 2,000 bowlers from all over the country.

You will no doubt have read in various travel magazines that Bournemouth comes alive at night. There are theatres showing the latest hits, countless restaurants and cafes that line the streets and music festivals that see opera and jazz the as the main focal point of entertainment.

If you fancy travelling further afield for a little bit more then you'll find stately homes, ruined castles and picturesque, sleepy villages.

There's also the beauty of New Forest, Dorset's spectacular World Heritage Jurassic coastline and endless rolling countryside to explore.

Given that Bournemouth and its surrounding area is a popular tourist attraction for much of the UK and its European neighbours across the water, there are more than enough hotels, guest houses and bed and breakfasts to choose from.

Various holiday packages are also available, including those specifically suited to holidaying bowlers, and they tend to run throughout the year.

We say 'throughout the year' because we mean just that. There may only be a few days of the year in Scotland where you can bowl outside in your short sleeves, but in Bournemouth you can do that for the majority of the year.

 

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