Hidden gems to visit in Bournemouth and Poole

Check out our favorite fantastic finds across the Bournemouth and Poole area….

Pokesdown Vintage Quarter

1.Why not fall down the rabbit’s hole to Pokesdown Vintage Quarter. Situated between Boscombe and Southbourne. Offering a selection of little retreats from retro boutiques and independent art galleries to patisseries and cafes. Lose yourself in a cosy nook of a bookshop or feel like Marie Antoinette, surrounded by delicious cakes smothered in cream, during your vintage afternoon tea. We highly recommend this blast back to the past filled with nostalgic and vintage gifts.

Brownsea Island

2.How about an island escape? It’s not exactly Richard Branson’s Necker Island but our local Brownsea Island has a lot to offer from a castle originally a Device Fort constructed by Henry VIII to a bird sanctuary and nature reserve run by the National Trust. Only accessible by ferry from Poole Harbor with a small charge to visit the island. This ferry trip allows you to encounter gorgeous views of Sandbanks and if you are lucky, you can get a cheeky peak at Harry Redknapp’s house. In addition, you are shown around the rest of the islands accompanied by some excellent commentary. Brownsea Island is an island hop away! You can truly relax by exploring the nature reserve, tracking those famous Brownsea Island red squirrels and also wild peaccocks (no grey squirrels allowed). Or why not lay back in the sunshine eating homemade cake from the Brownsea Island cafe. Not only was this little island the first scout encampment but is has also been pillaged by Vikings, used by pirates as a secret hideout and been blitzed by the Nazi’s in WW2.

Bournemouth upper gardens

3.Escape amongst the wild flowers into your very own secret garden. Bournemouth upper gardens is so peaceful compared to Bournemouth Lower Gardens. Where to find it? Just follow the lower gardens in the opposite direction of the sea, it is a short walking distance from Bournemouth town center. The upper garden’s plants are based on three continents plants (European, Asian and South American plants) it can truly feel like you’re trekking through a South American rain forest in the long summer grass. My personal highlights of the upper gardens are the Coy pond and the two wooden tracks running on each side of the gardens. Feel free to bring your own picnic, don’t forget your bread to feed the ducks at the beautiful Coy pound and then take a leisurely stroll in the afternoon on the wooden paths! Every time I venture on the lovely wooden tracks, it feels like I am retreating into the wilderness, back to nature, away from everything and everybody, I am in my own little world!

Bournemouth upper garden
Justin enjoying the great outdoors, on the wooden tracks of the upper gardens!


Bournemouth upper garden in spring
Bournemouth upper garden in spring

Russell Cotes museum

4.Take a trip through time back to the 1990’s by visiting the jewel of Bournemouth town, the dream house on the cliff belonging to Annie Russell-Cotes. It is a gorgeous Victorian manor house with a stunning sea view, packed with rich history and a brilliant collection of art. If you have had enough of sunbathing on the beach, walk two minutes up the road and check out the Russell Cotes museum! Like us Merton Russell-Cotes and Annie Russell-Cotes used their travels to bring back gems from all over the world. Here you will not only see the couple’s lifetime collection, you will be immersed in a story packed with love, travel and success. This museum retells the story of a generous businessman and how he enriched the lives of the people of Bournemouth…… Wow, it truly is a real life Hollywood blockbuster!


5.Perfect for a rainy day. Westbourne is a little oasis, featuring a lovely Victorian Arcade and a wide varied selection of boutiques, bookshops, restaurants, 42 cafes, galleries and award winning independent shops like us. And it’s only a five-minute bus journey from Bournemouth town center! Westbourne will surprise and delight you, offering you a relaxing shopping experience, as everything moves at a slower pace. It’s definitely the place for you if you are tired of the monotonous high street offering, if you are looking for something different and if you’re longing for a bit of a personal touch and some character!

Westbourne Victorian Arcade


“The best places are the ones that make you realise how small you problems really are!”

Love Scape


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