Museums and other local attractions get ready to welcome back visitors as more BCP Council services reopen

Indoor attractions across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole are starting to welcome back visitors as more BCP Council services open in line with Step 3 in the roadmap out of lockdown.

Local attractions including museums, galleries, castles and amusement arcades will be able to fully reopen from today, Monday 17 May, with COVID-secure measures in place, and the popular Bournemouth Land Train and Hengistbury Head Land Train will also be running once again.

The following BCP Council cultural destinations will be reopening:

  • From 17 May: Poole Museum (Scaplen’s Court from 28 May)
  • From 18 May: The Russell-Cotes Museum & Art Gallery
  • From 19 May: Highcliffe Castle
  • From 21 May: The Gallery Upstairs above the tearooms at Upton Country Park will re-open for an art exhibition

For full reopening details and opening hours, visit the venues’ websites.


Local wedding venues such as Scaplen’s Court in Poole, the Russell Cotes Museum and Highcliffe Castle will also be able to offer wedding ceremonies again in line with restrictions (currently a maximum of 30 guests) and limits on social distancing.

In addition, from 17 May:

  • Bournemouth Land Train services will recommence (a reduced service is in place this summer from 10am to 5pm with an express route from Bournemouth Pier to Boscombe Pier)
  • Hengistbury Head Land Train services will recommence, running daily with card payments only
  • Bournemouth Pier Amusements will reopen
  • Stanpit Marsh, Hengistbury Head, Kingfisher Barn and Steamer Point Visitor Centres will fully reopen (opening at Stanpit Marsh & Steamer Point may be subject to volunteer availability)
  • Two Riversmeet Leisure Centre is excited to announce the return of group exercise classes, gym floor classes, squash/racquetball/badminton leagues and open sessions (groups of 6 or two households) and hospitality (groups of 6 or two households)

COVID-secure rules, including social distancing requirements, continue to apply in businesses and public venues and there will be specific guidance in some settings that need to be followed even when with friends and family.

Visitors to many venues will also be required to check in, with new rules in place that mean every person over 16 must register their details – not just one person for the group. The NHS Test and Trace check in requirement applies to sectors including hospitality, tourism and leisure, and close contact services.

Councillor Nicola Greene, Portfolio Holder for COVID-19 Resilience and Public Health at BCP Council, said:

“As we begin to enjoy access to more local attractions, it’s vital that we all continue to follow the guidance in each venue to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

“Our community has sacrificed a huge amount over recent months and local rates of COVID-19 are currently very low, but we need to do all we can to make sure we keep it that way. As we move out of lockdown and begin mixing more again, vaccination alone won’t prevent further COVID-19 spikes, so I would urge everyone to take advantage of the access to free twice-weekly testing and act with caution when you’re out and about.

Please make sure that every member of your group checks in if required and remember hands-face-space-fresh air: keep hands regularly cleaned, wear a face covering whenever you should, follow the rules on social distancing and keep indoor areas well ventilated.”

For information on BCP Council services, visit:

For information on the government guidance from 17 May, visit