167km (104 miles) SW of London; 24km (15 miles) W of the Isle of Wight

This south coast resort at the doorstep of the New Forest didn't just happen: It was carefully planned and executed -- a true city in a garden. Flower-filled, park-dotted Bournemouth is filled with an abundance of architecture inherited from those arbiters of taste, Victoria and her son, Edward. (The resort was discovered back in Victoria's day, when sea bathing became an institution.) Bournemouth's most distinguished feature is its chines (narrow, shrub-filled, steep-sided ravines) along the coastline. For the best view of them, walk along the waterfront promenade appropriately called the Undercliff.

Bournemouth, along with neighboring Poole and Christchurch, forms the largest urban area in the south of England. It makes a good base for exploring a historically rich part of England; on its outskirts are the New Forest, Salisbury, Winchester, and the Isle of Wight.