Bournemouth & Poole

Bournemouth & Poole

Voted Europe's best beach – and the fourth best in the world – in a major poll by Tripadvisor earlier this year, Bournemouth's seven miles of golden sands commanding superb views over the neighbouring Purbecks take some beating. Whilst the town hasn’t entirely shaken off its genteel, elderly image, it has in recent years reinvented itself as one of the buzziest nightlife hubs on the south coast; and with a plethora of language schools and a thriving university it has a younger feel than you’d expect. Neighbouring Poole is a more workaday port with a historic and bustling quay. Famous for its enormous natural harbour – the second largest in the world after Sydney – and exclusive properties along the Sandbanks peninsular, it shares the western extremities of Bournemouth’s beach.

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Eat and Drink

While the timeless aroma of promenade candyfloss and salty fish and chips lingers in the Dorset air, visitors to these parts could be forgiven for overlooking the variety of eateries Bournemouth and Poole have to offer. A relaxed mix of beachfront café/bars and quayside delis make B’n’P ideal for lazy dining and even lazier drinks. While for a truly sophisticated culinary experience, The Crab restaurant dishes up arguably the best and most adventurous seafood in Bournemouth. As for nightlife, Aruba Bar on Bournemouth’s seafront is something of a local institution while the ever-popular terrace at Urban Beach Bar is the perfect setting for that obligatory mojito at sunset.

Shop

While not exactly famous for its shops, Bournemouth is by no means a retail wasteland. The town itself has a more than adequate array of well known outlets conveniently located in its pedestrian-friendly centre. The mammoth Castlepoint shopping centre lie just 3 miles outside Bournemouth itself and houses many chainstore marques, including Gap, Topshop and Waterstones. Further out, the district of Westbourne offers unique boutiques in a charming, villagey setting, while Boscombe’s independent shops, antique dealers and thriving twice-weekly market are fast establishing the area as a bargain-hunter hotspot.

Things to Do

During the summer, tourists descend in their thousands to Bournemouth’s seven mile stretch of award-winning beaches. Sun-worshipping weekenders jostle with Bournemouth’s sizeable student population (wisely ensconced for the season) for the premium lounging spots. Watersports and seaside frolics aside, this lively patch of the English Riviera offers plenty in the way of sightseeing and culture, and the big wheel that will be in place on pier approach until September 4th 2017 is surely worth a go. Bournemouth’s renowned International Centre hosts big name acts while a visit to the eccentrically designed John Cotes Museum – a paean to all things Victorian – is a must. The surrounding area also boasts some beautiful parks- the lush Compton Acres being arguably the finest. While a stroll through the chocolate-box charms of Poole Old Town is the perfect way to round off your visit.