The town did not exist at all until 1810, when one house was built on the heathland. The town grew slowly, and mainly as a select resort, helped by the planting of pine trees. It was the coming of the railway in the 1880s that speeded up Bournemouth`s growth.
There are public gardens, both lovely and enormous, that stretch from the seafront into the town centre.
St. Stephen`s Church and St. Peter`s Church are fine examples of Victorian church building, and the splendid Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum is in an excellent 19th century house.
The bay is surrounded by 100 foot cliffs.
Bournemouth Pier dates from the 1880s.
Thomas Hardy wrote about Bournemouth in "Tess of the D`Urbervilles" and "Jude the Obscure".
People born at Bournemouth include Peter Bellamy, folk singer; Charles Parry, composer; and Virginia Wade, tennis player.
The novelist Mary Shelley is buried at Bournemouth, and so is the heart of her husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.
Blue Badge Guide Colin Crosby is available to lead Guided Walks around Bournemouth for groups.