Holiday Conversation Topics In English
Today’s conversation topics in English are about a short holiday to a UK seaside town called Bournemouth. You could not ask for a more traditional British seaside town than Bournemouth, it provides an excellent excuse to talk about something interesting while we learn to speak English.
Bournemouth is a seaside town with an oceanarium (a large aquarium full of sea creatures), Victorian houses, a university, a beach and lots of things to visit. Bournemouth is close enough to London to make a short trip worthwhile. Throw in using Airbnb to make it cheap as well and you have all the makings of a lovely weekend break. So much so we thought it would be worth using the holiday as English conversation practice.
At Adept English we believe you need interesting things to listen to when you practice your English language listening. If you ever stand a chance of listening to an audio recording, many times it must hold your interest and be worth your time. So we hope you find this one does both and we hope you understand why it is so important to listen many times. We have a whole course which explains why we ask you to do this here, and we produced a short podcast here which explains how to get the best out of our English language lessons.
Hi there, I’m Hilary and this is the latest podcast from Adept English. This is our Monday podcast and we are here to help people who have basic English improve their language skills so that they can speak more fluently. If you like what we’re doing, then like us on Facebook and tell your friends and your family about us. The more listeners we have, the more material we’ll put out there for you!
One of the things that I enjoy doing for Adept English podcasts is travelogues. A travelogue is a brief account of an experience of travel, which you have. For me, it’s an opportunity to talk about a personal experience and for you, it’s an opportunity to listen to authentic spoken English, without knowing what I’m going to talk about. You don’t know what the context is, and it means I use a variety of vocabulary and it’s a surprise. You can test yourself. And with vocabulary, as you know – you pick it up gradually as you go along.
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Adept English provides many English conversation topics for beginners through to intermediate and advanced language students
So last weekend, I spent three nights in Bournemouth. I was there in part because that’s where my elder daughter is at university but we decided to do a mini-break there because Bournemouth is a nice town and it’s by the sea. A mini-break just means a short break, a short holiday, a change from normal life.
So this break was courtesy of Airbnb. I love Airbnb. It’s great that you don’t any longer have just the choice of hotels and guest houses, especially as many hotels charge a lot for just a couple of nights. And you have to pay a great deal to have an experience which is very standardised and bland. ‘Bland’, B-L-A-N-D means something that’s uninteresting, a bit tasteless and standard, the same everywhere. So unless you pay a lot, your hotel room is likely to be bland and standard. But Airbnb is where ordinary people make their houses or flats available to rent, just for a few days at a time.
So it can be a bit random – that means surprising, or strange, but often in a good way. And it’s great because it doesn’t cost so much as a hotel, so you can have more holidays, more trips away. You’ll probably have much more space too than in a hotel room, with space to cook and eat and lounge, rather than just a bedroom and a bathroom, like in a hotel. It’s also interesting to get a sense of other peoples’ houses and other peoples’ lives.
So we stayed in a really nice flat in Bournemouth, a really big flat actually, quite nice and sunny, with spacious rooms. What wasn’t spacious though was the parking space – I just about got my car into it, but I needed to allow an extra five minutes every time I wanted to park!
The Adept English listen & learn system needs lots of repeat listening which is why we always provide interesting English speaking conversation topics
So what does Bournemouth have to offer? Well, it’s a British seaside town or resort, which feels really buzzy and alive. Sometimes British seaside resorts can feel a bit sad, as though they were popular a long time ago and now they’re past their best time, their heyday. But Bournemouth is helped by a number of factors. It’s actually got two universities – Bournemouth University and Bournemouth Arts University, so there’s a huge student population. And this makes the average age much younger. It’s evident when you’re out that there are a lot of students, which I like. It makes a town feel young. It’s also one of the sunniest and warmest places in Britain as it’s on the south coast in the country of Dorset. They even claim that it’s got a micro climate – that it’s warmer and sunnier there than the surrounding areas.
It’s also got a really nice, south-facing beach, which is part of the same beach shared by Boscombe and all the way to Sandbanks. So the sandy beach stretches for about 9 miles. There’s a pier, P-I-E-R. That is a long walkway that stretches out into the sea. That’s a very traditional British seaside piece of architecture. Places like Blackpool, Brighton, Weston-super-Mare, Llandudno, Southend – all famous British resorts, which have a pier. However, I must say, apart from a few fishermen, there isn’t that much on Bournemouth pier. Apart that is, from being able to abseil from the top of the pier to the ground, to the beach. I haven’t done it – it’s maybe for another trip – but you can abseil from the end of the pier to the beach. ‘To abseil’ – well that’s like what you do to practise for a parachute jump. You’re suspended on a wire and you zoom along at high speed. Also quite high up. Looks like fun!
Also in Bournemouth there used to be a tethered hot air balloon - ‘tethered means on a rope’ - which you could experience in the summer months. It was in the gardens, just behind the pier. And it gave you a really good view of Bournemouth and the surrounding areas, but I don’t think it’s operating at the moment. Maybe it’ll return. There’s also a really good shopping centre and lots of places to eat out, which we did, of course. One place that we like going to is Harry Ramsden’s for fish and chips. Very traditional British and it’s right on the sea front. So cod, chips and mushy peas is always good. And also I quite like their pie and mash and gravy. We also ate at Wagamamas, just for variety on one of the other nights. Popular with my children, who like the food, but also get to play with chopsticks there!
If this lesson is not helping then you can find many more Conversation topics in English to try here
So what else was there to do in Bournemouth?
Well, we visited the Russell Cotes Museum and Art Gallery. Now this isn’t the Tate Gallery, I must stress. You probably wouldn’t travel to Bournemouth just to visit this, unless you really, really like Victorian style. But it was a treat for the eyes. There is quite a bit of art and a lot of oriental pottery, so Chinese and Japanese porcelain. But the real treat is the house itself. It’s built on a cliff top, over-looking the sea, with rotundas – that means lots of rooms with round windows. Windows that curve round 180 degrees to catch the sun and the beach and the sea view. It really is a dream house, if you like beautiful, old fashioned buildings with a sea view. It’s a house designed by two very artistic Victorians.
This listen & learn English lesson is one of over a 150 free English conversation topics for students
The other main attraction that we visited – an attraction is something which attracts tourists, like us – was the Oceanarium. O-C-E-A-N-A-R-I-U-M. That’s a made-up word, but comes from the word ‘ocean’ – O-C-E-A-N, which means ‘sea’. And the Oceanarium has lots of sea creatures, lots of animals which live in the sea, which you can view. So the Oceanarium in Bournemouth has been there for many years – and its particular thing is that you look through glass to see the animals under the water, in their natural environment. So one of the animals that we enjoyed seeing most was the otters.
Otters are brown, and they’re mammals, with big whiskers and they do a lot of swimming and they eat fish. They’re native to the UK and they’re very appealing to watch, rather like monkeys. They play a lot. But there were also sharks, and penguins, piranhas and sea horses, jelly fish, sting rays and a huge, loggerhead turtle. That’s a turtle which was bigger than my dustbin lid! And all of them could be seen swimming underwater, which was really great. In one part, you can even see sharks and turtles swimming over the top of your head!
As ever, my daughters both worried – “Have they got enough room? Is their tank big enough?” But I think that the Oceanarium in Bournemouth has won awards for its efforts for conservation, and the laws are quite strict on animal welfare in the UK, so I think the animals are probably fine there. I hope so, anyway.
So, I hope that gives you a taste of British seaside resort. And if you’re ever visiting the county of Dorset, on the south coast in the UK, it’s well worth a trip to Bournemouth.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
Ok Bournemouth is not a day-trip from London (a trip you could make without staying overnight) you will need to stay overnight. However with TripAdvisor and Airbnb we proved you can have a nice time without spending a lot of money. We also turned the trip into a bunch of interesting conversation topics in English which you can use to practice your English listening.
There is a lot of everyday English language being used in this podcast. Listening to the English used many times will help you train your brain to learn English words, sentences and phrases. Your brain will hear and understand the English being spoken automatically without translation. You need to listen many times as this will help your brain recognise the importance of what it heard and store the information (and learning) in long-term memory ready for you when you need to speak English fluently.