Bournemouth Life and Travel Tips
(Bournemouth, Dorset, England, UK)
Bournemouth is a wonderful seaside resort to visit at any time of the year, although the summer months in Bournemouth are particularly busy. Even in the coldest winter, the town remains popular and people come to this seaside resort to enjoy the Christmas festivities, decorations and to do their Christmas shopping at the seasonal German-themed Weihnachtsmarkt market, next to the Lower Gardens and the Obscura Café.
The quietest time in Bournemouth is from January to mid-March and this is probably the only time when hotels reduce their prices, in an attempt to attract out-of-season holiday makers.
Tourism and Tourist Information
There are a number of tourist information offices, with the main outlet being situated in Westover Road, beside the Winter Gardens.
Bournemouth Tourist Information Centre
Address: Visitor Centre, Westover Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH1 2BU, England
Tel: +44 (0)1202 451700
Open hours: Monday to Saturday, daily - 09:30 to 17:30, also Sunday in May to September - 10:30 to 17:00
As in any large town or city, always maintain an awareness of your surroundings and try to blend in and not look like a tourist when visiting Bournemouth. Although crime levels in this friendly seaside town are extremely low, do be sure to look like you know where you are going and be particularly careful with hand baggage. Wear a bag or camera across your body, or even consider using a concealed money belt.
Places of Worship
The diverse seaside resort of Bournemouth is home to a large number of different cultures and most religions have a presence. Many of the churches in Bournemouth belong to the Church of England as places of worship for the Anglican faith, although all faiths are always welcome. Newspapers generally list times of services for the main denominations.
Pharmacies and Chemists
Most pharmacies in Bournemouth are open from at least 09:00 until around 18:00 and supermarkets often have in-store chemists. Local drugstores will usually open until 18:00, although some may stay open until later, and these usually have a pharmacy counter for dispensing prescriptions.
English is the most commonly spoken language in the Bournemouth and the United Kingdom, although regional dialects can vary greatly. There are many ways to say the same thing in the English language, so, in most cases, don't worry about trying to think of an alternative.
Tipping in Bournemouth is quite discretionary, with taxi drivers usually being given a 10% gratuity or thereabouts - although this is not essential. Bournemouth restaurants often include service charges and these are always clearly stated on the menus, otherwise a gratuity of around 10% is usually expected in recognition of prompt and courteous service. Hotel staff, such as luggage handlers, happily accept a tip of one or two pounds.
In all public buildings and on all public transport in Bournemouth, rules now restrict smoking and this is usually indicated by no-smoking symbols in prominent places. Pubs and bars in Bournemouth no longer permit smoking, following the arrival of an anti-smoking law throughout England at the beginning of July 2007.
Smoking in England is certainly not as fashionable as it once was, so it is always worth exercising discretion and sensitivity when selecting a place in which to smoke. The best advice would be not to smoke unless others around you do so, and certainly not close to families with children.
Invitations to Eat
Much business is done over the dinner table in Bournemouth and business lunches frequently take place at central restaurants recommended by your host. In most good restaurants there will be a comprehensive wine and beer list and tables usually need to be booked in advance. Business dinners in Bournemouth are also often conducted at home and these tend to be less formal affairs, with a pre-arranged time for arrival about half an hour before dinner is served. Although guests are not expected to arrive bearing gifts, a bottle of wine or flowers are very much appreciated and should be presented upon arrival. Social dinners are rarely formal affairs and guests will be encouraged to relax.
The British love pubs for their informality and social atmosphere. Pubs and wine bars in Bournemouth are most often places to meet and be seen, though each has its own standing in the local community, with some being frequented by business people, locals, celebrities and others by visitors and tourists. Most pubs and wine bars in Bournemouth are friendly places - if there is a good mix of people you can be sure that it is a good pub, otherwise, just close the door and find another nearby.
One of the most common social customs associated with drinking in pubs is that of buying a 'round' of drinks when drinking socially with a group. Members of the group take their turn, in no particular order, and as people's glasses empty it is a good idea to reciprocate and offer to buy the next round.
The belief that the British drink nothing but tea is today very much a myth. Many love drinking coffee, especially from the countless popular coffee shops in Bournemouth that have opened in recent years.