Nearest town: Bournemouth (4 miles by car), Dorset
Opening Times: Winter – 0630-2130; Summer – 0530-2030
Longest Runway: 2271m, Asphalt/Concrete
Fuel: AVTUR JET A1, AVGAS 100LL
Phone: 01202 364110 (Admin), 01202 364150 (ATC)
Landing fees: Bournemouth is a fairly expensive place for GA with landing fees starting at over £25
Note: Bournemouth is PPR for all unscheduled aircraft
Regional airport on the south coast of England. Good IFR facilities and reasonable GA handling.
VFR approaches and departures at the airfield are an exercise in map-reading. You will be given a series of VRPs to fly to. Some are listed but on our approach we were vectored by towns and other landmarks on the 1:500,000 map from about 10 miles out. Because of the proximity of Southampton Airport and the Solent CTA, as well as airways routing south and danger areas to the Northwest, it is more important than usual to be spot on with heights and positions.
There are regular scheduled services and a lot of maintenance facilities on the airport so be prepared to mix it with large aircraft and make allowances for the odd Ryanair flight arrival or departure.
Aircraft under 3 tonnes park in a special GA apron near the threshold for runway 26 and are subject to PPR and handling by Bournemouth Handling. This is a new approach to GA and seems friendlier than the previous ‘park on the apron and go through the main terminal’ system. Heavier aircraft require handling by Servisair or Execair.
Because it is a Customs and Exercise / Terrorism Act designated airport, it is a handy stopping point for trips to and from the continent.
Bournemouth saw its first flight in 1910 and an airfield in the town served as a training centre for WWI pilots. The current airfield was built during WWII. When Eisenhower arrived to take over the Allied Armies, he flew into the airport. His pilot was none other than Paul Tibbets who went on drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima! After the war, it was used as a base for BOAC and Vickers built Viscounts and BAC1-11s there.
- Handling: Bournemouth Handling (01202 590888) Note: Aircraft under 3 tonnes park in a special GA apron near the threshold for runway 26
- Taxis: United Taxis (01202 556677)
- Car Hire: Hertz (08708 460004, www.hertz.co.uk), National Alamo (01202 577194). Both these are located beside car park 2.
- Facilities at airport: Food court, Bar, Cafe, Duty free & other shopping, wi-fi
- Flying Schools: Bournemouth Flying Club (01202 578558, www.bfclub.co.uk), Solent School of Flying (01202 590800, www.solentsf.co.uk)
- The Porterhouse, 113, Poole Road, Westbourne, Bournemouth (01202 768586, www.theporterhouse.com). A friendly and quiet pub (with ‘quiet’ a relatively rare commodity among the Bournemouth pubs), this one serves the Ringwood range of beers with an occasional guest ale.
- The Bear Cross, Magna Road, Kinson, Bournemouth(01202 574413). Traditional pub that has reinvented itself as a gastro-pub and now serves some excellent ‘modern’ British food, besides real ales.
- The Cranleigh, 1, Clingan Road, Bournemouth (01202 421530). Popular community pub – on most days, you can find locals of all ages here. Attractive prices too.
- Chewton Glen. This Michelin-starred restaurant is about 20m away by taxi and is well worth a visit, either for lunch or to make a long weekend of it. I’ve been twice: once with my flying buddy Stuart and once with my wife, making it the first restaurant to be reviewed twice on this site.
- Chez Fred, 10, Seamoor Road, Westbourne (01202 761023, www.chezfred.co.uk). Rated as one of the best fish and chips in town and vouched for by the crowds that tend to gather here.
- Basilica, 73, Seamoor Rooad, Bournemouth (01202 757722, www.basilica.biz). This Mediterranean restaurant serves up a mean mezze platter. The focus is on fresh ingredients cooked with a light touch.
- Wessex Tales, 20, Ashley Road, Boscombe, Bournemouth (01202 3098696). An excellent option for vegetarians and vegans. Everything here is homecooked and the menu is very imaginative, including vegetarian takes on traditional favourites.
- Chewton Glen. See restaurant review above.
- Norfolk Royale, Richmond Hill, Bournemouth (01202 551521, www.norfolk-royale.co.uk). A large 4-star hotel considered one of the best luxury stay options in Bournemouth.
- The Chocolate Boutique Hotel, 5, Durley Road, Westcliff, Bournemouth (01202 556857, www.thechocolateboutiquehotel.co.uk). An unusual boutique hotel where each of the 13 rooms has something to do with chocolate. The service and decor is impeccable and for chocolate buffs, the chocolate weekends and workshops are totally worth it.
- Hotel Miramar, East Overcliff Drive, Bournemouth (01202 556581, www.miramar-bournemouth.com). A well-maintained Edwardian era building with rooms that have fine views over the bay.
- Knighton Heath Golf Club, Francis Avenue, Bournemouth (01202 572633, www.khgc.co.uk). An 18-hole challenge course set on 90 acres of countryside. Visitors welcome on weekdays with reservations.
- Queens Park Golf Course, Queens Park West Drive, Bournemouth (01202 437807, www.littledowncentre.co.uk). A centrally located golf course that welcomes visitors.
- Solent Meads Golf Club, Rolls Drive, Hengistbury Head, Bournemouth (01202 420795, www.solentmeads.com). A par 3 links course open to visitors.
- The Club at Meyrick Park, Central Drive, Bournemouth (01202 786000, www.theclubcompany.com). A 100 year old 18-hole course set on a vast stretch of beautiful woodland and parkland. Visitors welcome any time.
- The Bournemouth Aviation museum (01202 473141, www.aviation-museum.co.uk), located on the grounds of Adventure Wonderland overlooking the airport, is definitely worth a visit. It has a collection of aviation related art as well as models of older aircraft.
- For outdoor enthusiasts, activities such as snorkelling and diving (www.swanagepiertrust.com) on the Dorset coast are easily doable as a day trip from Bournemouth.
- The Russell Cotes Art Gallery & Museum in Bournemouth (www.russell-cotes.bournemouth.gov.uk) is worth a visit for its extensive collection of 19th C. British art.