10 of the best things to do in Southbourne
- Credit: Archant
As one of Bournemouth’s most lively suburbs, Southbourne offers independent shops, a knitting café and its own eponymous local beer with a dash of coastal inspiration
Gifts from the Seaside
Run by interior designers Rachael Johns and Louise Mitchell, Coastal Creatives (103 Southbourne Grove) has a superb range of unique seaside-inspired gifts, jewellery and art work. Check out their coasters, placemats and cushions made by Dorset-based designer Caroline Tucker, carrying iconic coastal images such as lighthouses, beach huts, ice-creams and VW Camper Vans!
Just down the road Sugar Mango (37 Southbourne Grove) is another great place to shop, offering a wide range of semi-precious stoned jewellery, gifts, bags and home wear items. They also have their very own on site jeweller who can design and make special bespoke items for you.
For vintage fans Southbourne borders Pokesdown Vintage Quarter - head north to the end of Southbourne Grove and turn left onto Christchurch Road. Here you will find a cornucopia of retro treasures include Clobber, What Alice Found, Love From Hetty & Dave and Cotton Candy.
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If you are looking to sample a local tipple, look no further than Southbourne Ales. Launched in 2013 by local resident Jennifer Tingay, the brewery produces a range of ales inspired by the area’s coastal surroundings including Paddler (a 3.6% light ale), Sunbather (a 4.0% Red Ale), Headlander (a 4.2% bitter) and Beach Comber (a 5.7% brown ale). Try a pint for yourself at Southbourne establishments including The Grove Tavern (27 Southbourne Grove) or the Southbourne Ex-Servicemens Club (21 Stamford Road). You can also take home some bottles to try, which are on sale from The Jolly Vinter Too (1099 Christchurch Road).
A Tight Knit Community
The Close Knit Yarn Café is café at the front and knitting shop at the back. Open from Monday to Friday from 9:30 to 5pm and Saturday from 10am until 4pm, the café offers lunches, cakes, hot and cold drinks and snacks, while three ‘Knit & Natter’ groups are held on Mondays (2-4pm), Thursdays (10am-midday) and Saturdays (2-4pm). Never tried knitting? A beginners’ class takes place on Mondays from 5:30pm to 6:30pm. Visit closeknityarncafe.co.uk for more information.
There’s Plenty in the Larder
With a wood-fired oven at its heart, The Larder House (4 Southbourne Grove) is a charming restaurant and bar serving local and European cuisine. Above the restaurant is a new speakeasy cocktail bar called The Library which is open Thursday to Sunday, with live music often on Thursday nights. Visit thelarderhouse.co.uk for more information.
Keep active on cold wintery days and nights at St James Institute on Stourfield Road. This not-for-profit organisation offers activities for local residents including dancing, table tennis, snooker and educational lessons. A new extension to St James’ Small Hall - funded by £34,000 worth of funding from Sport England’s Inspired Facilities Fund - has been designed specifically to inspire young and old to get into playing table tennis. For more information visit st-james-institute.org.uk
Something of a Southbourne institution, Sweeties at 25e Southbourne Grove sells a dazzling array of old-fashioned confectionary. Poured from jars, weighed and sold in paper bags, it’s just like the old days! Next door, the Pipe Shop also brings back memories of yesteryear with its quirky range of pipes and cigars.
Take a Stroll
There is nothing better on a crisp winter’s day than wrapping up and taking a walk along Southbourne’s Blue Flag beach or strolling along the cliff top. From Southbourne Grove, head along Grand Avenue to access Southbourne Overcliffe Drive. Fishermans Walk connects Southbourne Grove to the beach via a woodland pathway or head along Southbourne Road and Tuckton Road to explore the award-winning Seafield Gardens - a 2.4 hectare recreational area, which is home to a bowls club, tennis courts and a striking red brick water tower. The eastern boundary of Southbourne ends at Hengistbury Head, a sandstone headland, which is a nature reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Where Creativity Rules
Create It All (154 Seabourne Road) is a craft shop best known for its creative workshops, which include scrapbooking, decopatch and mystery craft nights. The workshops are run by professional tutors on a huge range of different crafts, for all ages and abilities and private courses can be held for birthdays, hen parties etc. In addition to group workshops, one-on-one tuition is also available. Visit createitall.co.uk for more information.
There are a host of plush hotels and B&Bs based in Southbourne if you were looking for an extended visit. These include Westcoates House Guest House (9 Southbourne Overcliffe Drive) and Beach Lodge Guest House (61 Grand Avenue). Cliff House Hotel (13 Belle Vue Road) meanwhile has 14 rooms graded into three different categories – Superior (non-garden view), Premier (garden view) and Premium Plus (garden view), all including free Wi-Fi, parking, Nespresso coffee machine and complimentary toiletries. For more information visit cliffhouse-hotel.com.
A Little Taste of Italy
Deli Rocks (23 Southbourne Grove) is a perfect place to stock up on gastro gifts for Christmas or some treats for yourself. Browse their mouth watering range of pastas, meats, cheeses, olive oil and sauces. The delicatessen and espresso bar is also a great place for coffee or lunch… their homemade pizzas are phenomenal!
Let’s Move to Southbourne…
Situated to the east of Bournemouth, between Boscombe and Christchurch, Southbourne has a vibrant and mixed property market with families, retirees and first time buyers all looking to embrace its coastal lifestyle. At the top end of the market Southbourne Overcliff Drive has some spectacular penthouse apartments with sea views which cost up to and in excess of £750,000, while a detached character house with the same coastal vista is likely to set you back £1.6m.
Away from the cliff top, there are an abundance of more affordable homes in roads leading off Southbourne Grove. The average price for a two bedroom flat in the area is £190,000, while the average price for a detached house is £350,000.
Pricing information from Youeye.co.uk (average prices correct as of October 2014).