Bournemouth is one of Britain’s most popular destinations for leisure and business travelers. Set on the coast in the centre of Southern England its 10kms of sandy beach flies two blue flags for bathing water quality. The resort attracts visitors throughout the year to its 25,000 beds available in hotels, guest houses and self-catering apartments. There are over 150 restaurants around the town offering full range of international cuisines. Nightclubs abound offering disco, jazz, comedy and dance. Bournemouth is the major centre in the UK for learning English, attracting tens of thousands of students from around the world each year adding to the cosmopolitan feel of the town.

It is a popular tourist destination as it is situated on the south coast of England. The town is a regional centre of education and business, and forms the main part of the South East Dorset conurbation, with the adjoining town of Poole. It is also the largest town on the English south coast between Southampton and Plymouth. The town is notable as the home of the Bournemouth International Centre and is also home to several financial companies including JPMorgan Chase, Nationwide Building Society, Liverpool Victoria and Standard Life Healthcare. Some apparently Bournemouth-named organizations, such as Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, The Arts Institute at Bournemouth and Bournemouth University are actually located wholly or partly within Poole.

Bournemouth is a tourist and regional centre for leisure, entertainment, culture and recreation. The award winning Central Gardens are a separate major public park, leading for several miles down the valley of the River Bourne through the centre of the town to the sea (reaching the sea at Bournemouth Pier) and include the Pleasure Gardens and the area surrounding the Pavilion and the IMAX cinema.

The town is an important venue for major conferences, with the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC), which stands on the cliff-tops near the middle of the town overlooking the sea and the pier, often hosting the annual conferences of the main national political parties amongst its events. The centre has hosted the Labour Party conference on several occasions, in 2003 and most recently in 2007. The BIC also hosts theatrical productions and musical concerts.

Bournemouth contains places of worships for several denominations. The town has several examples of Victorian church architecture. These include St Stephen’s church, which was built for services under the influence of the Oxford Movement and was finished in 1898. Also included is the Richmond Hill St Andrew’s Church, part of the United Reformed Church. The Church was built in 1865 and enlarged in 1891.

Shopping Areas

The main shopping streets in the centre of town are just behind the seafront on either side of the River Bourne; indeed footpaths lead down to the sea (from The Square) through the lower section of Bournemouth Central Gardens.

The shopping streets are mostly pedestrianised and lined with a wide range of boutiques, stores, jewellers and accessory shops. There are major stores (Beales, Dingles, Debenhams, Marks and Spencer, BHS), modern shopping malls, Victorian arcades (including the elegant Victorian Arcade between Westover Road and Old Christchurch Road), and a large selection of bars, clubs and cafs. About a mile to the west of the town centre, in the district of Westbourne, there is an impressive selection of designer clothes and interior design shops. About a mile to the east, in the district of Boscombe, there is another major shopping area including many antiques shops and a street market. North of the centre there is a new out-of-town shopping complex called Castlepoint with supermarkets, DIY stores and larger versions of high street shops. Other supermarkets are located in the town centre (ASDA and Co-Op), Boscombe (Sainsbury’s) and between Westbourne and Upper Parkstone.

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