Bournemouth is a resort town located on the south coast of England. It has a population of over 150,000 people and is popular for its sandy beaches and its mild climate.
Getting to Bournemouth
If arriving by train - Bournemouth is served predominantly by South West Trains - you'll discover that your journey isn't quite over yet, because the railway station is miles out of the way. The best thing is to hop on a bus immediately, or get into a taxi and ask to be taken to The Square.
The Square is the ideal place to start a tour of Bournemouth. During the day, all the shops imaginable are within walking distance. Wander around for a few hours, refreshing yourself along the way in a few of the many public houses and bars strategically placed at regular intervals. You can get very drunk very easily while shopping in Bournemouth. This is not advisable, however. Bournemouth is about as close to cosmopolitan as you get in Dorset, and the prices for everything reflect this and magnify it three-fold. In other words, you need a big wad1.
Being a retirement town, everything is extortionately priced. The cynical might be tempted to posit the argument that this is so because the retail industry is well aware of the short remaining life-span of the majority of its clientele, and therefore aims to extract as much money as possible from them before they croak and leave it all to a cats' home. If you have the financial wherewithal though, stick with it until sunset.
Despite the fact that this is a seaside town, Bournemouth is busy pretty much all year round. Doubly so in summer, when the place floods with grockles. Grockles are people who come into Dorset from somewhere other than Dorset. Tourists, in other words. The tourist industry sustains this town, but also makes a right mess of it too. Come here in winter, not summer: you'll spend less time queueing and get less chewing-gum stuck to your new shoes.
Drinking and Clubbing
Nightlife is varied and expensive. The multitidinous pubs are joined by a plethora of bijou drinkeries in the early evening. Places to be seen are:
- Bar Med: Tries to be posh and fails.
- Yates's: They're all the same.
- Edwards: Erm... so are these.
- Jumpin' Jack's: Theme bar... although no-one's quite figured out what the theme's meant to be. Live music most nights.
- Hot Rocks: Surfer-themed bar, nice food.
- Slam: Tries to be posh and succeeds, provided you're minted2, you'll have fun here.
- K-bar: More of the same.
After time is called at the bar, staggering to one of the following nightclubs to finish the job might be a good idea, or a spectacularly bad one. Either way, it's fun trying to get in. Places to go are:
- Slinky: Also known as The Opera House and Boscombe. Trendy and big, it's a club mecca for the South West.
- Zoo/Cage: Second most popular venue in town.
- Berlin's: Disturbingly like a church hall.
- The Villa: Used to be a cool rock club called the Hot House. Underage drinkers rule here now. Avoid.
- Club X: Hard-to-find new rock club. 10 points if you spot it.
Aprés club, you won't go short of a bite to eat either. All the major fast-food franchises are open late Thursday to Sunday, and there are plenty of Kebab houses, burger vans and other, er... culinary 'delights' where cheap food may be consumed noisily and messily.
Trying to catch a cab now can be a bit difficult. They never seem to stop when you try to hail one after 1am. Your best bet is to pre-order one and arrange for it to pick you up from a residential address - just pick one and stand outside if you're alone. Alternatively, there are literally hundreds of hotels and B&Bs which seem to be permanently empty. Find one to crash out in local to the town centre early in the afternoon and stagger back there when you've had your fun.