The summer holidays are upon us and, as parents, we have been trying to find new activities to do to keep the kids entertained whilst they are off school. Living in a seaside town, we are lucky to have the beach just a short drive away as a fallback, but sometimes it is nice to try something new, and to explore the area with fresh eyes. City Sightseeing provided us with a 24 hour family bus and boat pass recently, giving us the opportunity to explore our local area from a different perspective.
City Sightseeing run tours throughout a huge variety of towns and cities, in the UK and also around the world. City Sightseeing Bournemouth offer both 24 and 48 hour passes for adults, children, seniors, families and groups, and you can choose whether you would like to just stick to their branded open-top tour bus, or whether you would like to combine this with a trip on the City Cruises Poole boats, which offer circular tours of both Poole Harbour and the Jurassic Coast, as well as trips to nearby Swanage.
The best part of the City Sightseeing pass was that you had the freedom to get on and off both the bus and the boat when you wanted to. If you wanted to stop somewhere en-route for a spot of lunch or to explore the area, you could do, and pick back up where you left when you were ready. With the boat tours, you can choose to go on as many or as little of these as you wanted to during the 24 (or 48) hour period.
You can also choose which stop you would like to be picked up at initially. Simply have a look at the website to see the timetable, and find the most convenient stop along the route for you. You don’t have to get on and off at the same stop, so you can really mix things up and make an itinerary that suits you. Tickets can either be bought in advance online, or you can pay on the day.
On the day we used our pass it was nice and hot and sunny, but became overcast and rained heavily for a brief time. The open top bus has a covered section at the front of the upper deck, and a lower deck, should you wish to take cover or sit in the shade at any point during the journey.
The kids absolutely loved their journey on the bus. They hadn’t been on an open top bus before, and they found it such a novelty, looking at all the sights as we went past, and taking everything in. Although I have lived in the area for a long time, and Ed and the kids were all born here, I found myself learning things I didn’t know before about the area we live in.
The tour’s audio can be heard easily over the sound of the traffic, and there are headphone ports, should you wish to listen more closely. We heard about some of Bournemouth and Poole’s history, about famous figures who have lived and stayed in the area, and about landmarks on the journey between the two towns.
We decided to stop off at Poole Quay and take the boat around the Jurassic Coast. We’d been on the City Cruises Poole around the harbour previously, but hadn’t been on this specific trip, so it was nice to do something different, and find out even more about our local area, this time on the water.
The boat was absolutely packed, and we weren’t able to find a seat anywhere outside, which was a shame, as it was a nice, sunny afternoon. I don’t usually get seasick, but I did feel a little queasy sitting downstairs by the bar, so this wasn’t ideal. I managed to take some photos of Old Harry Rocks from up close as we passed them, which was really lovely. We live in such a beautiful place.
The commentary on the boat was a lot harder to hear than on the bus, I think largely due to the sheer number of people on board. When we travelled before, it was out of the main holiday season, so perhaps the answer is to avoid peak dates and times if you want a quieter passage.
Overall we had a wonderful day, and it was a great way to explore the local area and find out more about Bournemouth, Poole and the Jurassic Coast. The family 24 hour bus and boat ticket was really simple to use, and if we hadn’t have already made plans for the early evening, we would have happily had a break and headed off out again. It was fantastic having the freedom to get on and off the bus wherever and whenever we wanted, and the children loved traveling on the bus and boat.
Our family pass was gifted, however all words and images are my own.