Student city guide: Bournemouth

Home to Mary Shelley and a location loved by the Beatles, Bournemouth is a brilliant town for students. Quirky pubs, clubs and bars play host to people from all walks of life. Over 25,000 students from both Bournemouth University and Arts University Bournemouth descend on the town every night of the week, making it a brilliant choice for those wanting to socialise.

What’s the big draw?

Bournemouth is host to some of the most beautiful sandy beaches on the South coast. There is a brilliant arcade on the pier with a Pac-Man air hockey machine which nearly every student will waste all of their well earned (ish) free time on at some point. There are gorgeous Victorian gardens, complete with hot air balloon, bandstand and a mini golf course, making it a brilliant place to relax and study, or, if you are brave enough to go on the balloon, view the sights from.

The town centre itself is split into two main parts, the Lansdowne/Old Christchurch area and the Triangle, which are connected by Bournemouth square. This makes travel around the city very easy and cheap as everything is within walking distance.

What’s the night-life like?

There is something for everyone in Bournemouth, whether you prefer to dance to chart songs in Halo or Cameo, or mosh to metal hits in Sound Circus, there is always somewhere to go. The SU club, The Old Fire Station, is admittedly overpriced and many club nights are sadly mediocre as more people have started going to other clubs; but the best night is definitely Friday, where Lollipop offers something for everyone.

The Old Fire Station also plays host to Comedy Nation nights, with famous comedians from across the country coming to perform. Brilliant comedy and a cheap drinks offer makes this a great night out for anyone.

There are new club nights starting everywhere, such as Transmission, a monthly blast of 60s music and indie hits held in The Winchester in the Triangle, which is a must see. The Winchester is the venue of choice for the Arts students in the area as it is more alternative and a bit hippy in nature.  

For students who enjoy more eclectic older music, fun atmosphere and a pint, the bar of choice is Buffalo in Winton. A short taxi or bus ride away from the centre, this bar offers gourmet food, cheap drinks (you have to try a Buckshot), pool table and live acts as well as friendly, chatty staff.

What can you do in the day? (cafes, restaurants, shops and facilities)

If the beaches aren’t a sure-fire attraction then there are many other places to go.

There are often events being held in Lower Gardens such as the Arts By The Sea festival held yearly and other exhibitions. As well as that, over winter, the Bournemouth International Centre hosts an ice rink, which is widely loved by students due to it being very cheap. There are loads of shops in Bournemouth, from independent shops to big chains, there’s always somewhere to go, with Castlepoint shopping centre being only a short bus ride away and hosting the town’s only Nandos.

One of the best places for a meal out has to be Harry Ramsden’s chip shop on the sea front. They offer possibly the best chips ever tasted and with an art-deco restaurant overlooking the sea; you just have to check it out.

Poole is also only a bus ride away from Bournemouth and is home to Lush Cosmetics and Poole Pottery, it has many brilliant independent shops such as a great record shop and comic book store.

Where’s the best place for non-millionaires to live?

The best place for students is definitely Winton. Equidistant from both the universities and the town centre, nearly all the students live there. The houses are big and cheap and there is always a nearby party to go to; not to say it isn’t quiet at night however. Nearby Charminster is less popular but equally nice, with smaller houses and a more compact feel to the roads; this is where all of the uni-let houses are, so is home to many first-years. Other students opt for Ensbury Park as it is very close to the university, but more expensive so not the best choice for those on a budget.

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