BRITS living off the sun-kissed sands of one of the world's best beaches say their town is like “stepping into another world”.
Millions flock to Bournemouth Beach every year to bask in the warm climes along one of the country’s finest coastlines.
Consistently voted among the top five beaches in Europe – and topping UK polls year after year – residents in the Dorset town say they often question why they ever bother going on holiday.
Over ten miles miles of fine, golden sand stretch out along the south west holiday hotspot and surfers ride waves in the glistening blue water.
When The Sun visited it was blue skies and an unseasonable 15C in the middle of March, highlighting exactly why it was the third most popular beach in the UK, attracting 11.7 million between June 2021 and May 2022.
Steve Coombs is a surfer and is born and bred Bournemouth.
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The 33-year-old has lived in holiday favourite Cornwall but says he is always dragged back to the yellow sands of his home town.
He explained: “Compared to a lot of the UK and the south coast, we are lucky to have 10 miles of perfect golden sand compared to pebbles.
“We are pretty lucky we get waves all year long. Seasonally it's good. It’s nice to live somewhere you can do this.
“And it's dead flat which makes it very accessible, people love it because of how convenient it is."
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The town is easily accessible by coach and the train station is just a ten minute walk from the beach, making it a perfect spot for a day trip.
Steve said the area has come a long way from the days when the Boscombe area of the town was scarred by drug abuse and a needle scattered beach.
But that's long gone, as he explained: "It took a massive decline but now infrastructure like hot showers and bars means its well back on the rise."
The beach bum, who runs Front Bike rental, said that while residents bemoan the 300,000 tourists that can descend onto the beach each day in summer, he can't complain.
He said: "For six to eight weeks a year you can’t really use the beach in its prime.
"Most of the people that come here in the summer are 18-30 – pop up bars and restaurants would make an absolute killing."
Larna Brooks, a second year criminology student at Bournemouth University, said the beach offers her tranquillity and happy memories.
We go away for weekends abroad, look around and think we have all of this on our doorstep
The 20-year-old, originally from Oxford, said: “It is an intense course so this is a good release and somewhere to relax definitely.
“During freshers we had lots of bonfires and BBQs, it was really, really nice and a good place to meet people."
She loved it so much she got a job in one of a number of cocktail bars that straddle the beach.
Walking along the restaurant and arcade-brimming pier with her husband was Kay who has lived in Bournemouth her whole life.
She said: “We go away for weekends abroad, look around and think we have all of this on our doorstep. You don’t necessarily appreciate it.
"I wouldn’t move anywhere else, the beach is freedom, somewhere you can switch off. It is a beautiful area."
She said tourists in the summer are great for the economy but branded it "disgraceful" that some leave litter and even defecate on the sand.
"I just wish they would leave it as they found it, it spoils it for everybody else", she said.
Her husband, who did not want to be named, praised the council as he noted its efforts to save the beach from erosion by drudging the sea bed.
Shannon Hydes, from South Africa, was watching her boyfriend surf, she comes most days, despite living over 100 miles away in Farnham, Surrey.
'LIKE A DIFFERENT COUNTRY'
The yoga teacher said: “It’s really far, I just watch and take in the sunshine. We spend most summers here but its a bit cold in the winter.
“He’s in there for four hours or so, I’d rate the beach ten out of ten."
But not all are so positive, as one woman The Sun spoke to said she was not happy after entering a ballot for a beach hut opportunity.
She blasted the £500 six-month rental: "Look at this place. It hasn’t been decorated since it was built in 1849! It’s my last day today, and I’m glad."
Gen King is deputy manager at Key West restaurant on the pier that churns out seaside favourites like fish and chips and ice cream sundaes.
Praising the beach, she said: "It's like stepping into a different country.
"When you look along the skyline it is just beautiful and seems to go on forever. The sand seems to go on forever as far as you can see."
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And amid a crippling cost-of-living crisis, she praised the good value Brits can enjoy at Bournemouth Beach, saying: "Everywhere prices are going up.
"People might say the prices are going sky high but if you’re giving them something that they can see is worth it like Bournemouth, they don’t mind."
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