Liberal Democrat Conference to return to Bournemouth in 2015 – share your memories of the town

Bournemouth West Beach 3 Nikon D3100.  DSC_0259Yesterday, it was announced that next year’s Liberal Democrat Autumn conference would be returning to Bourmemouth for the first time since 2008.

This’ll be a big first for me as I have never managed to get to a Conference there.

So, I’m relying on you all to tell me what the place is like and to share some of your memories of Conferences there.

The Conference will be taking place from 19-23 September, returning to our usual slot after this year’s move to early October because of the Referendum.

This, of course, will be the post-election Conference. Who knows what dramas await?

But before then, we’ll be in Glasgow from 4-8 October. If you haven’t registered yet, you can do so here.

Need convincing?

Alistair Carmichael tells you why it will be fantastic.

Photo of Bournemouth by Robert Pittman

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Kevin White 8th Jul '14 - 10:07am

    They used to sell lovely ice creams at the pier.

  • Anonymous LD 8th Jul '14 - 10:09am

    Bournemouth Spring 2008 – my main memory is not getting into the rally because there wasn’t enough room!!

  • Steve Griffiths 8th Jul '14 - 10:59am


    I doubt if numbers will be a problem after the next general election.

  • Mark Smulian 8th Jul '14 - 11:27am

    I was once allocated for a work event (not for a Lib Dem conference) to a bizarre hotel in Bournemouth that served as a sort of shrine to the music hall artiste Lilly Langtry.

    The whole place was got up as something of an Edwardian theme park, right to the waitresses at breakfast being dressed in the style of the 1900s. A notice stated that guests dining at the weekend (which I wasn’t) were requested to wear period costume and eat at large circular tables.

    The other fabled Bournemouth hotel was the now-defunct Arley Glen, used twice by the Liberator Collective and run by a gay couple who in 1989 had access to one of the first karaoke machines. They, perhaps unfortunately for any passing music lovers, kindly allowed us to stage an event with this. Discretion prevents me from saying which now-prominent party figures performed what.

    They also offered massages in the basement. When asked who provdied this service the owners replied: “Old Maud does it as soon as she’s finished with breaklfast, she just washes the egg off her hands and gets pummelling!”

  • David Blake 8th Jul '14 - 12:11pm

    Talking of Lily Langtry, I remember going on a ferry in Greece which still had a Lily Langtry bar. It used to be the Pride of Something or Other but had changed to the Panaghia Ekantontopiliaini.

  • Seriously, its Bournemouth, not New York, I doubt very much you’ll find it a challenge. Let’s face it, once you’re in the conference venue, you could be anywhere.

  • A Social Liberal 8th Jul '14 - 12:54pm

    Why on earth do we keep going to the same places. What is wrong with Skegness, or Tenby, or Newcastle, or even Worcester?

  • David Bertram 8th Jul '14 - 12:57pm

    Mark Smulian; that would be Langtry Manor, built/purchased (the story goes) as a love-nest for Edward VII to visit said lady when Prince of Wales.

    Stayed there once:the house is a lavish Edwardian period-piece and the breakfast was good but it is indeed an oddity of a place (and not at all near the BICC).

  • Wasn’t it last there in 2009? Spent a night in a police station after a pair of car thieves crashed into my hotel and I was the only sober person able to go and make a witness statement. Wild times.

  • David Evans 8th Jul '14 - 1:59pm

    I remember it as a place where I still believed we could get into government, keep our Lib Dem principles and make a real difference to how the country was governed. Ah the naivety of youth, Nick.

  • Elaine Woodard 8th Jul '14 - 4:34pm

    Bring your hiking boots! The road from the conference centre up to the conference hotel is steep. You used to be able to get half way up the hill through the conference centre but then conference committee made that entrance the media access. I’ve been in some good hotels there but remember almost bursting into tears when I saw the dirty, grotty room in one hotel I’d been booked in and spent the next hour or so finding somewhere else further out but fantastic to stay. Eventually got my money back as well.

  • My first conf was one of the Bournemouth ones. I was stewarding to get a cheap ticket. I remember demanding ID from all sorts of people – including Vince Cable – some of whom have since become fast friends (sadly Vince is not one of these).

    The ONLY one who did the “don’t you know who I am??” routine was Charles Clarke, who was speaking at a fringe event.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 9th Jul '14 - 8:11am

    Mark, discretion is so over-rated, you know:-).

  • Liberal Assembly 1984 in Bournemouth for a host of reasons, especially as it was the first Liberal Revue. Mark Smulian and I were the original sketch repair team (‘Men in White’). None of us had any idea whether it was going to work or not, but backsatge we got an idea it was going well when the audience started laughing during the first song, even at the bits that weren’t intended to be funny. We had guest appearances from John Pardoe, Paddy Ashdown and Vincent Hanna and part of it went out on Newsnight. Unforgettable.

  • Daniel Jones 9th Jul '14 - 10:08am

    Slight factual error – We were in Bournemouth for Autumn 2009.

  • Tony Rowan-Wicks 9th Jul '14 - 11:07am

    All you’ll need by 2015 will be a village hall and a few B&Bs nearby. Unless the LD leadership suddenly reverts to the policy position we believed in when we joined.

  • SIMON BANKS 11th Jul '14 - 4:22pm

    There was a Liberal Assembly (= conference) in Bournemouth in the 1980s. Several people from our association (= local party) attended. One discovered an excellent restaurant and we agreed to go there as a group the next night.

    The waiter took our order.

    We waited.

    We waited.

    We waited.

    Other people were getting impatient. The place was not particularly busy. Someone got served before us who had come after. We asked the waiter a couple of times what was happening and he gave routine excuses. The third time he admitted “the chef’s drunk.” When he next passed by he said the chef had not chosen a good night to be drunk because “that’s the owner over there, with friends.” A while later the owner got up and marched into the kitchens. When the waiter next appeared he told us the chef had been sacked. But we did get our meal and very good it was too.

  • Tony Sargeant 6th Oct '14 - 8:51pm

    At which Bournemouth hotel should we book to be in the conference hotel????

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