Bournemouth, the South Coast's riviera

Bournemouth has seen an influx of younger people driven by greater employment opportunities particularly in the financial sector.JP Morgan have a big presence here.

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This combined with an excellent quality of life and it's proximity to London has made it the choice of many.It is popular with students both at the University and with overseas students attending language schools over the summer.

bournemouth pier

So let's start at ground zero down by the Pier.

Having said how great Bournemouth is it must be stated the Pier and it's surrounds need some attention.

The Pier itself which costs 50 pence to just walk on, has a theatre, a bar and children's fairground of sorts but just does not inspire.Most of the people going onto it are getting boats to other places like Swanage or Wareham, or perhaps they just want to fish.

At the shore end of the pier is an amusement arcade,there is a second going west along the promenade.The less said about them the better.

imax bournemouth

As you look at the pier and turn to your left you will see one of the most hated buildings in Britain,The Waterfront.It contains a pub a KFC and a Chinese Restaurant.There is also an Imax cinema except there are no films showed.

Due to a legal dispute between the operate and the building owner there have been no films showed for years.The fact the building is also very ugly does not help either.Many want to see the whole thing demolished myself included.Bourenmouth deserves something better and will now get it as the Council has bought the building.A public consultation is now going on to see what use could be made of the site.

Whatever is decided no doubt this unloved building will come down.

There is a car park next to this hideous structure but as with other car parks in Bournemouth is expensive and fills quickly.I recommend the one off Upper Hinton Road if you are prepared to walk a bit futher, as in 5 mins more to get to the beach.It's a big car park, cheaper, and is never full.

Walk past the Imax building and the car park behind it you will come to the Eastcliff Promenade.Go past the Royal Bath Hotel and you will arrive at Russell-Cotes House.Go here to find out more about this amazing building left to the people of Bournemouth.If you continue eastwards along the promenade you will come to the Pier at Bosombe which is currently undergoing a big upgrade including the installation of an artificial reef.

The reef is now complete but I have to say on a couple of visit i have made,the reef only makes the waves break a little further out.They are not any bigger.

bournemouth beach fron level

Moving east along the promenade is the inevitable fish and chip shop in this case Harry Ramsdens,the one that started up north near Leeds.Well I am a veggie so I cannot comment on the fish but the chips are OK.

Speaking of fish,there is an Oceanarium to the right of the pier as you look at it.This a a good wet weather option if you have children.It is £20 for a family of four and is open from 10am to 9pm every day except Christmas Day.

There are various tanks showing sea life form all the oceans of the world and even a glass tunnel which sits at the bottom of one tank so you can get right up close and personal with the fish without getting wet.

Outside the Imax building is what looks like one of those flight simulators.Never tried it but by all means...

Looking back towards the town you will see the Pavillion which hosts concerts and shows though is earmarked for redevelopment.

Other that that you would be well advised to move away from the pier and proceed in a northerly direction to the Pleasure Gardens,yes that's what they are called.Here there is the crazy golf and a chance of a ballon ride.This is know as the Bournemouth Eye.A ride costs £10 and lasts 12 minutes.Great views I am told.

Walking through the Gardens you will come to The Square which as the name implies is not a square,hard to say what shape it is really.This is the commercial centre of Bournemouth where all the buses stop.This would be your starting point if shopping.

There is a Debenhams here as well as the usual banks and high street retailers.

bournemouth square

Go up Commerical Road and turn right into the Triangle and you will see Bournemouth Library a newish building on two levels,the lower one for books magazines and DVDs the upper for music, sheet and recorded.

bournemouth library

What do you like best about Bournemouth?

If you've been to Bournemouth what did you like best about it.What didn't you like about it.Any top tips for other visitors?

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