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Ravenstone (Bournemouth)

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36 Burnaby Road, Alum Chine, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH4 8JG
Tel: Telephone: 01202 761047

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      31.01.2002 03:04
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      We found the Ravenstone Hotel on the Smoothhound site last summer, and booked online via email, after an intial enquiry regarding cost and availability. If you are looking for a basic, comfortable B&B in the Bournemouth area, then the Ravenstone is one to bear in mind WHERE IS IT? The Ravenstone Hotel is situated in a quiet road close to the beautiful wooded Alum Chine, and just a few minutes walk from the safe sandy beaches. It is just over a mile from Bournemouth town centre, and only a short drive away from Poole town centre and Quay, and the popular Sandbanks beach. Alum Chine is popular with families and older couples who are looking for a quieter location but still within walking distance of the town centre. The Ravenstone is just over a mile from the pier and award-winning gardens. The nearest shops are at Westbourne, but the main shopping area is also nearby. Buses run regularly between Alum Chine and Bournemouth town centre seven days a week. In the main summer season an open top bus runs between Sandbanks and Christchurch, stopping along the way at Alum Chine, Bournemouth town centre and seafront and Boscombe. A land train also runs along the promenade. Buses to Poole go through Westbourne. ABOUT THE HOTEL Tim and Shirley, who have been the proprietors for the past eight years, run the Ravenstone. There are nine bedrooms, all with ensuite showers or bathrooms, and equipped with TV and tea and coffee making facilities. Our room was comfortable, although not particularly large, and we had a bathroom en-suite with our room. This was built under the apex of the roof, and was perfectly adequate for the duration of our visit (5 days). The Hotel was equipped with a small bar and resident's licence, and had a small games room (snooker, darts etc.) set up down in the basement. There was a resident's lounge where you could sit and chat to the other guests, or read one of the many books or magazin es which were there for guests' use. THE FOOD Breakfast was served at 9 a.m. There was a help-yourself cereal selection, grapefruit, fruit juices and yoghurt set out for when you first arrived. Cooked breakfasts were adequate and nicely cooked, ranging from boiled eggs up to a full cooked English, with a choice of eggs. This was followed by toast (brown or white) and preserves, and a choice of tea or coffee. BREAKFAST Fruit Juice *** Choice of Cereals *** Bacon, sausage, tomatoes mushrooms and fried egg or boiled, poached, scambled eggs on toast or baked beans on toast or kippers or smoked haddock *** toast, marmalade or jam *** Tea or Coffee As we had also opted for the evening dinner in the hotel as well, we would peruse the evening menu at breakfast time, and order before we left the room. We debated before we went whether or not to go for this option, but as it turned out we were glad we did. The evening meals were all of good quality, there was a choice of starter, second course, main meal, and desert. Below is a sample of one evening's menu. DINNER MENU Vegetable Soup or Fruit Juice *** Pate or Sorbet *** Gammon Steak or Chicken Kiev Potatoes and Vegetables or Cheese Salad *** Choice of Sweet or Cheese and biscuits *** Coffee or Tea As the hotel was licensed, you could also order wine with your meal if required. Dinner was served at 6.30, but if Shirley knew in advance that you were going out to the theatre in Bournemouth, and needed time to get into town, she would always make sure you were served first. THINGS TO DO IN THE AREA We were fortunate enough to have good, warm weather for most of our 5 day stay here, and as the local beach was only a few hundred yards down the Chine, we spent a fair amount of time sunning ourselves, and generally re laxing. 30 minutes walk brought you onto the main Bournemouth Promenade, and from there, it is a stone’s throw to the main shopping centre. 30 minutes in the other direction, and you arrived at Canford Cliffs, which has always been my favourite beach in this part of the world, ever since I was a little girl. Very little has changed here in 40 years! If you walk back from the front, and up the Chine, you come to Canford itself, which is the up-market area on the outskirts of Bournemouth. A short drive away is the Quayside at Poole, where one can book a boat trip around the harbour. Poole Harbour is the second largest natural harbour in the world. A visit to Brownsea Island in the harbour is worthwhile. This is the island where Lord Baden-Powell first set up scout camps many years ago. For years, the eccentric owner of the island would not allow people to visit the island, but since her death it has become National Trust Property, and has been opened up as a tourist attraction. Also in Poole, is Poole Park, with its boating lake, and miniature train. The steam engine I remember as a child has been replaced with an electric one, but other than that, it is still the same as it was. You can hire a rowing or sailing boat out on the lake, there are swings etc., for children, swans to feed, and pleasant gardens to relax in. Compton Acres, a well-known Garden Centre, is just a few miles up the road from the Ravenstone, and it is very pleasant to wander round the gardens, or relax and watch others doing just that! Inland, Beaulieu, and its motor museum, and the New Forest with its famous ponies are easily accessible, and there is a butterfly and moth farm at Ashurst in the New Forest. In the evenings, the many theatres in Bournemouth are constantly changing their productions. Parking in the centre of Bournemouth is not free, even at night, and the places get filled very quickly, so you need to be prompt if you do no t want to be far from your venue. THE COST B&B starts at £20.00 per person off-peak, rising to £26 per person in July and August. Dinner, Bed and Breakfast starts at £30 and rises to £34 at peak times. This is a slight increase on what we paid last year, but is average for the accommodation and area. We enjoyed our stay at the Ravenstone. The people were friendly and helpful, and would sit and chat with us in the guest lounge over a drink in the evenings. For the price, you get a comfortable place to stay, good food, and it doesn’t break the bank! I think we may well return there in the future. Website http://www.ravenstone36.freeserve.co.uk e-mail holidays@ravenstone36.freeserve.co.uk

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