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What to do in Westbourne during Christmas 2016

PUBLISHED: 14:44 05 December 2016 | UPDATED: 14:44 05 December 2016

Impressive fire displays by Simon at the Light Fiesta

Impressive fire displays by Simon at the Light Fiesta


This Bournemouth village by the sea prides itself on its dazzling array of independent shops. It is the perfect place to find unusual Christmas gifts, says Laura Booth

Bursting with independent shops, restaurants and bars, as well as popular high street brands, Westbourne is the ideal place to seek out that unusual gift for under tree or to pop in a stocking. And from 25 November the Westbourne Traders Association is even providing free Westbourne shopping bags for your Christmas shopping in stores.

At Christmas the Westbourne Arcade, a stunning Victorian shopping arcade in the heart of this urban village by the sea, provides a wonderful alternative shopping experience. Here you will find Scape an award-winning family run independent furniture and gift shop, selling an interesting range of products including gorgeous wooden furniture sourced from India, unique art and mirrors as well as quirky gifts.

Looking for something special for the man in your life? Barry at Baks Menswear, on Seamoore Road, has a great selection of suits, shirts, jackets and footwear, including British brands such as Gibson London, Hawick Knitwear and Guide London.

If you’re too busy to cater for your own Christmas gathering, pop into Cook on Poole Road where you can browse their extensive range of frozen homemade seasonal dishes, canapés, puddings and cakes for all your party needs – and no one needs to know you didn’t make it yourself!

If you need to recharge during your shopping expedition with a spot of lunch, a coffee, afternoon tea or a supper with friends you’ll be spoilt for choice. Westbourne is a true foodie haven with oodles of award-winning eateries such as Indi’s, Renoufs, Camden and Dot. Teas, as well as Café Rouge, Coffee Club, Le Petit Prince, Patisserie Angelique, Pizza Express, Plates and Co, Spanish Taste and Taj Mahal. New to Westbourne is the Mediterranean restaurant Le Beyati on Poole Road, and there’s a delicious new Christmas menu at The Libertine, a delightful pub and kitchen on Alumhurst Road. Here you can tuck into delicious comfort food such as slow-cooked shank of lamb with buttered mash, sautéed green beans and red currant gravy and spiced apple and plum crumble with vanilla pod custard. It is perfect venue for enjoying a Christmas meal with family, friends and colleagues or a Christmas party.

Festive events in Westbourne

Santa will be arriving at his Grotto, which is located at the Westbourne Arcade, on 26 November. Run by Parkstone and Westbourne Rotary, your visit to Santa’s Grotto will be both magical and support a good cause and runs until 17 December. If you don’t get a chance to see Santa in person the Westbourne Post Office has a special Christmas post box for your letters to Santa.

Look out for the various street entertainers who will be brightening up the coastal town, including stilt walkers, a barbershop quartet and balloon modellers. Some local retailers will also be providing free of charge activities along the Nut Cracker Trail including Letter to Santa, Christmas card making and gingerbread decorating.

A spectacular new event is the Westbourne Christmas Light Fiesta, which will transform this urban village into a winter wonderland party on 3rd December. Instead of a traditional countdown and switch on, this exciting event which runs from 4–6pm, will provide an evening of light-themed entertainment featuring state of the art technology as well as Simon Chainey’s awe-inspiring fire show, free UV face painting by Diamond Faces, free glow bands and balloons. And festive themed stilt walkers will be wowing the crowd, from dizzying heights, complete with LED light toys. Find out more at discoverwestbourne.co.uk.

A local view - Lia Martin, Chair of the Westbourne Business Association

I love to shop in Westbourne and there is plenty to enjoy along Poole Road: I marvel at the fresh fruit and vegetables and stunning array of dried fruit in Parachute. I adore the macaroons from Petit Prince, and I can never resist the exquisite handmade chocolates from Chocol8 or settling into one of the comfy armchairs in Woosters for a coffee and a slice of homemade cake.

If I have a Christmas party to get ready for Tigerlily is the place for an award-winning manicure, you’ll find well-priced cocktail dress at Zsa Zsa, and something fabulous to go with it in Gemma’s shoes.

When seeking out gifts for my trend-setting nephew I head to Les Enfant and I regularly buy gifts from Zaks, Dee’s, Attico and Scape. For keen the reader I pop into Westbourne Bookshop, and I love browsing the new Christmas shop in Letterbox in the Westbourne Arcade - its like being in your very own stationery sweet shop!

Gallery 65 on Seamoor Road has great originals and prints, including some by local artists, as well as gorgeous handmade wrapping paper and greetings cards. If you’re looking for a special piece for your home So Furniture has lots to tempt, as well as the best sales assistant - Murphy the spaniel. When the shopping is done, I like to see what’s on at The Colosseum in Westbourne Arcade, with just 19 seats its the UK’s smallest cinema – it’s the perfect location to enjoy a festive film such as White Christmas.

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