The sea breeze goes straight to Adrian Gillan's head as basking boys get fresh in Bournemouth.


Bournemouth is home to the UK's best beach. It's been voted top in TripAdvisor's Travellers' Choice awards for two years in a row, but there's lots more to enjoy in this popular town on the South Coast.
7 miles of unspoilt coastline is just perfect for outdoor persuits of all kinds, and because the Gay English Riviera arguably stretches from Torquay to Brighton, it must mean Bournemouth is definitely in! We think there's something highly attractive about an English seaside town out of season that's swollen with student lads raising the temperature.
Bournemouth pier and waterfront - Photo: stockinasia
Bournemouth isn't huge, and merges along the coast into less gay Poole from which is it still quite distinct. Small means community, which is just what you'll find at the gay support, advice and information drop-in centre Over the Rainbow, also known as Dorset Sarc - it's a valuable resource when gathering your Bournemouth bearings. The centre which you can find in Madiera Road offers sexual health screens as well as 1-2-1 support.

Not that you can get too lost in Bournemouth, with all the action clustered around a few small streets just north-west of the town centre, around The Triangle and Commercial Road.


You can start your evening at the Flirt Cafe Bar located at The Triangle. It puts a larger-than-life twist on dining, drinking and just generally being at the heart of Bournemouth. There's quality home-cooked food and a friendly, inclusive atmosphere in a dog-friendly cafe which has some colourful furniture and art, and plenty of outdoor tables.
A happy mixed crowd enjoy pubbing in Bournemouth.
Bournemouth's best known nightout is the DYMK Bar & Club on Poole Hill. DYMK, or Does Your Mother Know? is a modern and stylish gay bar and club open from 4pm every day till late. The bar is well stocked with premium drinks including DYMK's notorious, over-decorated and oversized sharing cocktails. The venue's decor is ornate and classy, with an opulent granite marble bar tempting you in to take a much closer look.
Out on a limb, just five minutes walk north-west of the Triangle area is Saunabar attracting a mainly young steaming post-party herd on a Sunday afternoon all huddled together within, whatever the weather outside. Their spa facilities include Sauna and Steam rooms, Jacuzzi, Private chill-out rooms, Professional Massage, Showers, Changing area and Licensed Bar with comfortable seating, pool table, movies, music and free WiFi.
Two clubbers on the Bournemouth scene.
Cruising means The Gardens, the upper tract of park strip that cuts a swathe right through Bournemouth town centre, notably the stretch just north of the A35 Wessex Way flyover, easy accessible by horned-up post-club fellas who failed to pull, or prefer their boys all bushy - busy Fridays and Saturdays and notorious on Sundays after dark.

You can also try your outdoor luck along The Chines, a series of sea cliff valleys along West Cliff, mainly used by randy motorists who pull-in-to-pull at the sea-view lay-bys. Naturally, for many, Bournemouth in summer means Studland Nudist Beach, at least the male-frequented parts of it, accessible via the Sandbanks Ferry.

The beach is located at the end of Knoll Beach on a wide strip of sand behind the dunes and nature reserve. It's the most popular naturist beach in Britain and there's a gay (friendly) bit, if you keep walking to the northern end of the beach, that we found surprisingly quiet and relaxing. However do not drive on a busy day - the roads and ferry were gridlocked on the way home. Walking or taking a bike is a much better option.
Naturist Beach at Studland Bay.
Photo: Amelia Coffen
Space Youth Project - LGBT+ is a Youth group in Poole which is part of the Bournemouth & Poole College in North Road. They offer support and community help to LGBT+ young people in Dorset through their youth groups and one to one support services. They have been supporting young LGBT+ people and their families since 2001.

Bournemouth also boasts a sex shop, Easy Tiger, for all your porn needs and an array of sundry sexual accoutrements. Although it's a mixed venue there's plenty to keep a gay boy's interest whatever floats your seaside boat. Alternatively, there's Prowler Bournemouth which is a popular gay store providing everything a gay man would need. you can find it on Holdenhurst Rd, Boscombe.


The queer quarter is also awash with good eateries. Rubyz is gay-run and fun - it's camp but not cheap. If you want to spare your pennies but still have great food and ambience in the thick of the gay action you could try the gay-friendly Italian Pinocchio's.


Hamilton Hall Men Only Hotel is exactly what it says. Based in Carysfort Rd which is about a 12-minute walk from Boscombe Pier and the beach, this male-only, clothing-optional retreat is just over a mile from Bournemouth train station. The hotel offers Dinner and Spiritual, Sexual and Self Development weekend events. They have been serving the gay, bi, trans, curious & straight male community since 1985. Some of their rooms are shared, and there's also a dorm-style room with bunk beds that sleep 4 people.

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DYMK Bar & Club (31 Poole Hill; T: +44 1202 318566; Website)
Easy Tiger (27 The Triangle; T: +44 1202 554195; facebook)
Flirt Cafe Bar (21 The Triangle; T: +44 1202 553999; Website)
Hamilton Hall Men Only Hotel (1 Carysfort Rd; T: +44 1202 399227; Website)
Over the Rainbow - Dorset Sarc (The Shores, 5 Madeira Road; T:07788 415522; Website)
Pinocchio's (18 Poole Hill; T: 01202 291 081; Website)
Prowler Bournemouth (333-335 Holdenhurst Rd, Boscombe; T: 01202 720770; Website)
Rubyz (Commercial Road; T: 01202 780 225; Website)
Saunabar (140 Commericial Road; T: 01202 552 654; Website)
Space Youth Project - LGBT+ (Bournemouth & Poole College, North Road; T: 01202 205279; Website)

Revised April 2024.


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