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When in...Bournemouth
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When in...Bournemouth

Our home in Dorset sits amongst the hustle and bustle of Bournemouth’s high street. It’s a town that was historically a destination for writers and artists (and is now home to the Arts University), that’s characterised by Victorian and Art Deco buildings, and where every street seems to lead to the sea.

We wanted to share just some of the reasons we love this area with you, to let you know about a few of our favourite spots both on the coast and a little further inland. That way, when you stop by to visit us, you can know that your day out need not end when you leave our store.

To do

Head to the beach

Our store is just a ten-minute stroll from Bournemouth’s beaches, so it’s natural that we head there at every opportunity. In fact, you’re spoilt for choice on this stretch of Dorset’s coastline. Although not as famous as the beaches further west on the Jurassic Coast, those around Bournemouth are just as lovely, with views framed by the Isle of White on one side and the Purbeck Hills on the other. From family-friendly Durley Chine and Boscombe beach (with its musically-themed pier to promenade along) near to town; to peaceful Sandbanks, Hengistbury Head with its diverse wildlife habitats, and National Trust-owned Studland Bay a little further away.

Brownsea Island

If you’ve heard of Brownsea Island, which can be found in the middle of Poole Harbour, it’ll possibly be because it’s one of the few places left in the British Isles where you can spot red squirrels. Over the centuries, it’s also been a fort (defending the port from invaders), a hiding place for pirates and the setting for the first-ever Scout camp. Catch the ferry from either Poole or Sandbanks, and take a day to explore the paths and trails that criss-cross the island and the diverse wildlife that calls it home. It’s worth noting that Brownsea is closed during the winter months, although there are still occasionally special events to look out for.

Get Lost Sailing

If you haven’t already had your fill of the great outdoors, then a boat trip with this Poole-based company is a must. They’re most well-known for their thrilling high-speed excursions, but can slow things down for children or for those less sure on their sea legs, and they take in some of Dorset’s most spectacular scenery.

Keyneston Mill

Further inland is the 50-acre Keyneston Mill estate – the UK’s largest privately-owned botanical garden. The twist, though, is that it’s dedicated solely to aromatic plants and is the home of Parterre Fragrances. It’s a place with one foot in the UK and the other in France, combining the perfume-making heritage of Grasse with British-grown botanical extracts. Pay a visit to their cafe – The Scented Botanist – or take part in a workshop, where you’ll pick from the cutting garden and learn to make your own essential oils. They also have an array of events throughout the year – from cocktail evenings to open-air cinema screenings.

To eat

Boscanova and South Coast Roast

Behind these two cafes is a great deal of passion for coffee. South Coast Roast is our closest, while Boscanova is just across town, but both serve wholesome food and arguably some of the best coffee (roasted in-house) in the area. Boscanova also holds a monthly vegan supper club, and, should you want to learn more about what makes such a great brew, there are regular classes in espresso-making, latte art and ‘cupping’ (described as ‘an essential pastime of every coffee enthusiast’) at their nearby roastery too.

The Stable

If you’re not already familiar with The Stable (they have restaurants in quite a few towns now), they are, in their own words, ‘all about the pizza, pies and cider’. And they do each rather well: despite the number of locations, they’ve retained a unique sense of place by tailoring the menu to each town. Our outpost here in Bournemouth is set within the old tourist information building, with its striking architecture and huge windows complemented by the relaxed and quirky setting inside.

Rick Stein, Sandbanks

A short drive along the coast to Sandbanks (a small peninsula that juts out into Poole Harbour) will bring you to Rick Stein’s only Dorset restaurant. It opened just a couple of years ago, and our favourite thing – apart from the (naturally) perfectly cooked, classic seafood – is the view: floor-to-ceiling windows across one side of the restaurant look out over the water to Brownsea Island.

To shop

The Crooked Book

Boscombe (an area of Bournemouth just a ten-minute car journey east of our store) is where we’ll go to find some of this town’s most characterful shops, our favourite of which is The Crooked Book. Inside is a menagerie of second-hand books and vintage homewares. You can also enjoy your purchases alongside a properly-brewed coffee, while soaking up the welcoming atmosphere and taking in the lovely sense of local community.

The Squash Court

Another of our most-loved spots for shopping in the area is the market town of Wimborne Minster. It’s the location of Deans Court, a privately-owned house and garden with a shop and cafe in what was once its squash court, selling a mix of clothing and pieces for the home (think vintage linens, enamelware and old-fashioned scrubbing brushes). If you’re visiting in the warmer months, try and coincide with one of the house or garden open days (which generally take place between May and August).

Neptune Bournemouth

And while you’re in town, we’d love you to stop by.

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