Why you should be doing some Christmas shopping in Westbourne
PUBLISHED: 12:42 26 November 2015 | UPDATED: 15:34 09 December 2015
Westbourne prides itself on its unique, independent and quirky shops, which is why it should be on your Christmas shopping list, says Andy Greeves
Westbourne, which is one of Bournemouth’s vibrant urban villages, really is a one-stop destination with so many interesting shops and hidden gems to visit. The fashionable district of Westbourne is a circular route of shops with a stunning Victorian arcade which runs through the middle of it. Unsurprisingly this is a rich hunting ground for unusual Christmas gifts.
Looking to spoil the gentleman in your life? Then pop into Mr Hunter on Seamoor Road which has a superb selection of men’s gifts and accessories such as ties, cuff links, scarves, hats, bags, shaving items and aftershave.
Attico in Westbourne Arcade is a treasure trove of unusual gifts, both old and new. Many of the items in store aren’t available on the high street and have been sourced both locally and from far and wide. There is a free personal shopping service and this Christmas there will be a gift wrapping service, with delivery too, if required.
For special Christmas sparkle Beau Bijou in Westbourne Arcade offers an amazing selection of contemporary and vintage costume jewellery as well as one off items. Looking for a good read? Then Westbourne Book Shop is a real gem. The new owner, Paul Angel, has a great selection of children’s books as well as all the classics and latest titles. If you can’t find what you’re looking for they do a free next day delivery service to the shop.
On Saturday 5 December Westbourne’s annual Christmas Festival and lights switch on takes place. There will be music throughout the day at various locations, including the main stage on Landseer Road with performances from The Jimmy Hillbillies, Sound of Soul, Do You Hear the People Sing? and Beatles with Wings (starring former Wings saxophonist Howie Casie). Heart Radio will be visiting with their Angels and musician Ray Dorset of Mungo Jerry (In The Summertime) switches on the Christmas Lights at 5pm.
Santa will be chauffeured in style by the fire fighters at Westbourne fire station before settling into his grotto in the arcade, where you can pop a letter to Santa in his special letter box or have a go at the free Reindeer Treasure Hunt and win some panto tickets. Need some time out? Don’t forget Lollipops Play Café is just around the corner in Landseer Road.
Westbourne’s reputation as a foodie destination means that during and after your retail therapy you can relax and enjoy a treat at one of the 50+ coffee shops, restaurants and bars. I promise that you will be spoilt for choice!
A local view
Westbourne resident, primary school teacher and mum-of-four Nicola Hart tells us about her local Christmas “My family and I love the Christmas Lights Switch-On event in Westbourne. It’s wonderful to see so many friendly faces, families and children our sons know from school joining together in something so unique and magical.
Westbourne is a haven of quirky, independent shops where you can buy individual gifts that aren’t mass produced like on the high street, so it’s great at Christmas time. My hubby can’t walk past Don Strikes without gazing wide-eyed at all the treasures in the window, eager to see which banjo or semi-acoustic guitar is in the window! The hardware shop in Westbourne Arcade is an Aladdin’s cave - the owners are very helpful and can always put their hands on anything you need.
When it comes to coffee Le Petite Prince on Poole Road does the best Flat Whites. Our family’s favourite place is Circo Lounge also on Poole Road, where we enjoy meeting friends with children for an early evening social. We have happily socialised there with families the last couple of Christmases and New Year’s Eves, before settling down at home. We also love Camdens on Seamoor Road for its live music nights.”
On Christmas Eve we go for an early walk and have a cooked breakfast at Avon Heath with friends from West Cliff Baptist Church, then we go to their Carols by Candlelight service at 6pm. Then it’s back home to get the children into their Christmas PJs, so we are ready for a special visitor.
Christmas Day is lots of visits from family, and Boxing Day is a walk down the chine and along the beach, whatever the weather. We love to walk through Alum Chine at any time of year. My children like to climb the fallen trees and every step of that Chine holds a happy memory or a story for us. We just love where we live!”
• Things to do in Westbourne - cafés, restaurants and shopping - Just off the A338, between Bournemouth and Poole, is the thriving urban village of Westbourne. Often seen as the ‘fashion district’ of Bournemouth this delightful suburb offers fabulous shopping with a wealth of independent shops, stylish restaurants and cool cafes to hang out in.
• 7 reasons to visit Westbourne - things to do and places to visit - With its wealth of independent shops, boutiques, cafés and restaurants it’s no wonder that this stylish suburb of Bournemouth is renowned for its fabulous retail therapy
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