Just 800 yards to the east of Boscombe Pier, Boscombe Beach turns into Manor Steps beach. This is underneath the Manor Steps ZigZag which (now) lends it’s name to the beach below it.
The allocation of this beach is is really a bit of “construct” by Bournemouth Council. I would suspect that the reason was that a Blue Flag could be obtained for it. But not for the nearby Boscombe beach.
Having said that though, Manor Steps Beach is a very fine beach. It is the latest of the Bournemouth Beaches to be gain a Blue Flag award for cleanliness.
The other Bournemouth Beaches with this award straddle Manor Steps. Durley Chine Beach and Alum Chin Beach to the West while Southbourne Beach and Fisherman’s Walk Beach are to the east. In fact Fisherman’s Walk is the next beach along from Manor Steps and Southbourne Beach is just east of Fisherman’s Walk.
Manor steps is actually the first ZigZag coming down from the cliff top to the West of Boscombe Pier.
Manor Steps Beach Lodges.
Manor Steps Beach is unusual in that it has a number of recently built beach lodges that allow overnight stays. These are really super beach-huts and have their own shower, toilets and cooking facilities. They are about as far removed from the standard garden hut style beach hut as you can get.
Like all Blue Flag beaches there is a lifeguard during the summer months. A small seasonal Beach office operates here too. There are the usual ice-cream and refreshment vendors. But the beach is not as heavily commercialized as elsewhere. If you want to (say) get a drink or a meal you will need to walk west to Boscombe Beach or east and on up towards Fishernmans Walk Beach and Southbourne Beach.
Because it is slightly off the beaten track this beach is somewhat quieter than other Blue Flag beaches. Which suites many (myself included).
Manor Steps ZigZag
Manor Steps ZigZag has no steps. But it is quite steep in places. Anyone pushing a wheel chair or even a baby buggy needs to be aware that it is quite a climb on the way home. You can get round this by traveling along the promenade to the Fishermans Walk Cliff Lift (in season and before 17:00) and paying a couple of pounds for it to do all the hard work. But if you need to do this then arguably you would be better off staying on Fishermans Walk Beach in the first place and saving yourself the long push to and from Manor Steps Beach.
On the Manor Steps Zig Zag Bournemouth Council have trialed an installation of solar powered (or rather solar charged) lights to provide lighting at dusk when people come off the beach and climb the ZigZag. When they work, they work well. But unfortunately they also tend to get damaged. Sometimes this may be by accident but sadly it appears that it is often deliberate vandalism.
Parking for Manor Steps Beach
Boscombe OverCliff Drive (around BH5 1FH)
The main parking for this beach is along Boscombe Overcliff Drive directly above the beach. Here there are a number of nose-on bays on the beach side of the road and on the other traditional line parking. At the time of writing all of this was free and time unlimited (up to 24 hours). There is in total by my estimation a couple of hundred spaces along this road. Obviously the further away you are from the ZigZag the longer it takes to walk down to the beach but usually you would be talking about 5-10 minutes to get to the beach from the top.
Overstrand Car Park (BH5 1BN)
This is the car park mainly associated with Boscombe Pier and beach but it is also only a short way from Manor Steps Beach. There are 72 spaces and it will take you around 10 minutes to get to Manor Steps beach from here.
Boscombe Undercliff Car park. (BH5 1PN)
Again here you will be competing with people who want to use Boscombe beach. The car park is the “wrong” side of the pier for Manor Steps Beach. The advantage with this car park is that you will be on the level i.e. no ZigZags. But you will need to go east for around 800 yards. So it would be (say) a 5-10 minute walk.