‘I visited a coastal village near a pretty beach and there was a big drawback’ | Travel News | Travel

Westbourne in Bournemouth is a bustling coastal village that’s home to bars, restaurants, delicatessens, a variety of independent shops and bakeries.

The village is mostly known for being a shopping area and has a beautiful Victorian arcade in the centre filled with an eclectic mix of gift shops and cafés.

The upmarket village is based around two roads – Poole Road and Seamoor Road – which are linked by the arcade.

I’ve visited Westbourne many times over the years to meet friends and family for coffee and to explore the fantastic shops.

The village feels akin to Chelsea’s King’s Road with artisan bakeries, posh gastro pubs and bustling restaurants just steps away from one another.

The main difference is Westbourne boasts a wealth of independent shops and cafes – you won’t find fast food joints and well-known clothing brands here.

Westbourne is home to the UK’s smallest cinema, Bournemouth Colosseum, which has just 19 seats. Visitors can enjoy a drink at the bar before watching a cult classic in one of three screening rooms.

When it comes to dining, grabbing a drink or enjoying a slice of cake, Westbourne has plenty to offer with more than 50 venues.

One of my favourite places to enjoy a glass of wine is the award-winning Renoufs, a cheese and wine bar.

Renoufs, which now has six locations across Dorset and Hampshire, is extremely popular – and for good reason.

The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming and has become the go-to place to gather friends and family for a catch-up or a special celebration.

Another favourite of mine is Chez Fred, a traditional fish and chips restaurant, that serves some of the best cod and chips I’ve ever eaten.

The restaurant, which opened in 1989, offers great value for money, delicious specials and homemade ice cream.

If it’s coffee and a cake you’re after then Patisserie Angelique and Ounce Coffee are the places to go.

Patisserie Angelique offers French pastries, delicious chocolates and great coffee while Ounce Coffee offers customers delicious takeaway coffees and cakes as well as houseplants, clothing and homeware.

Just down the road from Westbourne’s bustling centre is the beach at Alum Chine. The beach is lesser known compared to neighbouring Sandbanks and Bournemouth but is just as nice, if not better.

Alum Chine Beach is my favourite beach in this part of Dorset. It’s located just over a mile from Bournemouth Pier and is served by a Land Train which regularly runs along the promenade in the summer months.

The beach is quieter than Sandbanks and Bournemouth and is therefore less touristy. The sandy beach is wide and clean and the water is shallow.

For families, there is a Treasure Island-themed adventure playground as well as a lovely walking route which runs from West Cliff Road down to the beach.

Nature lovers can explore the fantastic tropical gardens at Argyll Gardens at the top of the cliff.

Bournemouth is home to a few famous chines which cut into the cliff face but this is by the most stunning.

While I love Westbourne and the surrounding areas, there’s one aspect of the coastal village that’s always disappointing – the lack of parking and the amount of traffic.

Westbourne is well-served when it comes to public transport but it’s also a busy area that’s filled with cars.

Attempting to find a parking space close to the centre can be a long process which often leads people to parking in residential roads.

The village is also on the route to Bournemouth which means during rush hour, or the height of summer, the entire area can be gridlocked with traffic.

I will definitely be visiting Westbourne again for a cup of coffee and a wander around the shops. I’ll just make sure to take the bus.

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