Looking for a night out in Bournemouth? Fancy a bite to eat? Here are some of The Rock’s top recommendations.

Bournemouth map ©bournemouth rock

Bournemouth map ©bournemouth rock

1. Aruba 

Best sea view

This is a bar for those who like fancy and colourful drinks in an exotic atmosphere, and are willing to pay a bit more for it. Drinks can be enjoyed on the balcony overlooking the Channel or inside the bar where you can also taste their delicious food. The crowd is more varied than that of the cheaper clubs which mostly attract students. Music is entertaining and up to date; quiet enough so you can talk but still loud enough to dance the night away.

2. Russell-Cotes Museum 

Best museum

One of the most unique museums on the South Coast is located on the cliff top in Bournemouth, with an entrance through a beautiful, Japanese garden. Inside, you will find a variety of styles presented in sculptures, paintings and other artwork from around the world and across the centuries. The building creates a special atmosphere, with a mixture of both public and private museums. It will keep you in for hours, searching for that one piece you will treasure the most.

3. Old Fire Station

Best dancefloor

Bournemouth has a plethora of nightclubs with one of its biggest and best being the Old Fire Station. Located in Lansdowne on Holdenhurst Road, the Old Fire Station has two floors, which play both a mixture of good time oldies and the biggest hits in the charts. It is ideally placed, being only a short walk from the train station, a 24-hour Subway sandwich store and three takeaway shops to feed the late night munchies. The building is a Grade II listed ex-central fire station and was transformed into a nightclub in 1995. Despite being converted into a modern dance haven, some of the building’s previous features have been retained. The fireman’s pole for example, which is 14m in length, goes through all four storeys and is the longest England has kept.

4. What Alice Found 

Best independent store

An Alice in Wonderland-themed vintage boutique in Pokesdown, owned by fashionista Nicki Grainger. With pearls spilling from dresser drawers and fairy lit changing rooms, this shop is a fusion of art and fashion, offering an exciting alternative to the high street. You get the feeling Alice must have experienced as she stumbled down the hole into Wonderland.

5. Waterstones 

Best book store

There’s a reason that Waterstones is arguably the biggest name in UK bookstores – it’s the best. Their selection of titles is unparalleled, covering just about any topic that you care to mention at decent prices. Whether you’re after a study textbook, the latest pulpy crime thriller or even another dose of Fifty Shades ‘mummy porn’, the UK’s largest book chain has everything you could need.

6. Days

Best Chinese

Day’s is the place for every main food group known to man. With an all-you-can-eat buffet of Chinese, Indian, roast, pizza, deserts and more, there’s something for everyone. Located in St Peter’s Quarter, almost a third of the floor space is occupied by food tables. So why not go for a bit of everything or get a plate of every type? Noise levels can be high at times but at Day’s you won’t be talking much. Decorations range from a beautiful water feature at the entrance, to fake seafood on the roof, giving character that comes together with mouth-watering smell of international cuisine.

7. South Coast Roast  

Best coffee shop

If you’re a person who resents chain coffee houses, loves home cooked food and enjoys good music, then look no further than the new Boscanova run South Coast Roast in Richmond Hill. A place to escape the elements during winter and relax with a beer in summer, South Coast Roast barista’s make you feel welcome whatever the occasion. You may also leave knowing more about coffee than when you arrived – I certainly did.

8. 60 million postcards 

Best place to take a date,

Best burger & Best pub

Located in the heart of Bournemouth, this indie-styled pub features one of the most relaxing, community-friendly atmospheres in town. During the day, it works as a restaurant serving American diner food, but when the night sets in it becomes a funky-styled venue that constantly features gigs and DJs. Some of its most attractive characteristics are its postcard-packed bar and very tasty cocktails. Drinks are quite pricey, but overall it’s a recommendable place if you have a few quid to spare and like your music indie.

9. Zoukinis 

Best vegetarian

Zoukinis in Westbourne is one of the only vegetarian and vegan restaurant in Bournemouth area. It uses locally sourced produce and the warm atmosphere will never let you down even if you are a confirmed meat eater.

10. Bellagio’s

Best Italian/Pizza

If stone baked pizzas, fresh pasta, and low prices sounds good to you, then Bellagio’s should catch your attention. Bellagio’s pizza and pasta on Wimborne Road offers all of the above with the option of ‘bring your own booze’. A warm atmosphere and friendly staff awaits any student group that visits this family run Italian restaurant. With starters averages £2.50 and main courses starting at £6.50 Bellagio’s is an ideal place to visit, if your desire to cook is lacking on a Friday or Saturday night.

 11. Sade Turkish bakery

 Best bakery

Charminster is certainly not short of places to eat, but one establishment stands out amongst the rest is Sade Turkish bakery. While of course providing a variety of breads, its best known for their signature lahmacun, the Turkish pizza with lamb and salad wrapped up that will leaving you craving more.

12. Joy

Best Indian

Whether you’re a lover of the spice of a Vindaloo or the rich, creamy taste of a Tikka Masala, this wonderful restaurant in Charminster Road stands out as the best in contemporary Indian cuisine. With a stylish interior design, Joy offers customers dress-up food at dress-down prices, while the availability of a takeaway service means you can enjoy it all from the comfort of your own home. A must visit for all curry lovers.


13. Nippon Inn 

Best Japanese

Nippon Inn in Charminster Road not only has a brilliant pun in its name but a friendly atmosphere teamed with outstanding food which, though a little bit more expensive than student budget frozen pizza, is still value for money. If you have a love for cheesy Japanese pop songs, trying something new and a plethora of beautiful tasting authentic food then Nippon Inn really is the place for you. Dishes that stand out are the Miso Ramen (perfect lunch time hangover cure), the Chicken Katsu Curry (for the less adventurous) and their sushi which stands up well against other leading competitors.


14. The CrookedBook

Best second-hand store

This gem of Boscombe is a place where Saturday shoppers can browse the vintage bookshop as well as sip on a Chai latte; surely the perfect combination on a cold day. Located on Christchurch Road, The Crooked Book is open 10-5 daily and helpful staff are always on hand to help you browse their stock or engage in conversation. This is truly a perfect place for friends and couples to meet on weekends.

15. Urban Reef

Best seafood 

Located on Boscombe promenade, Urban Reef is an informal bar, café, deli and restaurant. This unique location offers panoramic views over the Bournemouth Bay and to the Purbecks area as well as great food.

16. Coriander

Best MexicanBournemouth map ©bournemouth rock

Claiming to be the oldest independent restaurant in Bournemouth Coriander provides a relaxed atmosphere and value for money. You better have an empty stomach when sitting down at their cosy tables, as they don’t do things by halves and the range of choice will leave you with little restraint.