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  • Bournemouth
  • Hi all

    Apologies for my first post being non-bike related but I noticed that there are several users from the Dorset area as there was a similar thread a few months so am hoping you may be able to help..

    I am relocating to Bournemouth for work in a couple of months so need to find a flat to rent, and was wondering about areas. A few people have said to avoid West Howe and Boscombe….are they particularly bad areas? Someone suggested I consider Charminster, but is this quite studenty? I’d ideally like to live walking distance (within 30 mins or so) into Bournemouth and to work which is at the Talbot campus of the University. Any ideas?




    Boscombe is a dump, best (only) good thing about it is the O2 Academy there!
    A lot of students live in Winton area, my friends lived on Frederica Rd., which was typical student/few locals area around there.
    They’re in Westbourne now & it’s better in that there’s more shops & bits nearby. Charminster Road area is ok.

    Things may of changed – but – Winton area fine. Some students. More locals. Get a trusty pub/commuter bike if you can – gives you a bit more scope on locations and time to travel into town, as well as avoiding the buses. You can stick to quiet back roads too when cycling about mostly.

    Rough guide only but maybe worth considering – Winton Charminister IIRC probably more like 30 mins to Talbot in one direction and maybe more like 1 hour walk in the other direction to town centre / beach. Or vice versa, although I think you could maybe find other locations / or parts of the area where this differs.

    rough guide = walking time.

    I live in Charminster, work in Boscombe and my parents live in Talbot Woods so I’m well placed to answer!

    Charminster is a good area, not too far from the Talbot campus (though not as close as Winton), it’s an easy 20-30 mins walk to the town centre or the railway station too depending upon which part of Charminster you’re in. Lots of restaurants, bars etc…definitely livelier than than Winton (where I used to live). Parts of Charminster are very studenty though, I live in Hankinson Road and there’s loads of noise at night now that they’re back. Conversely, when I lived by Richmond Park on the other side of Charminster we had no student houses on our road.

    West Howe has no redeeming factors, don’t move there. It’s also in the wrong location for you. Boscombe isn’t anywhere near as bad as people make out…sure The Crescent and Churchill Gardens are seriously dodgy, personally I think Springbourne is worse (I remember the night that there were 2 separate murders on the Holdenhurst Road within hours of each other). My girlfriend lives in Pokesdown within 5 minutes walk of Boscombe…it’s fine. It’s all vintage shops and nice cafes.

    Boscombe itself has changed, whilst the surf reef has failed it did herald major investment…the promenade/pier looks great now and the likes of Urban Beach/Urban Reef, Reef Encounter, Koh Thai, Boscanova, The Crooked Book, etc have really improved the area. I’ve never had any trouble there and I work on arguably the worst road in Boscombe. However, Boscombe is beyond 30 mins walk of the university.

    Your options are Winton or Charminster really. Talbot Woods is seriously expensive and there are hardly any flats there and Wallisdown is beyond dull and isn’t anywhere near Bournemouth or Poole town centres.


    Have a look at Westbourne. IMO the nicest and most interesting part of Bournemouth. And not too far from the Talbot campus.


    I lived on Manor Road near East Overcliff (have a look on Google Earth). I worked up at the Uni and cycled it in about 20mins. While never needed, the bus station is fairly nearby. Good balance between beach, town, access to train station and The Reef bar on the beach (really good breakfasts!). It’s a cycle along the beachfront to the ferry so to get some decent biking on the Purbecks.

    Thanks for all your responses, that’s really helpful. I’m awaiting the arrival of my contract for the new job but once everything is formalised I’ll be taking a trip down to start the house hunting in the next couple of weeks.

    Having spoken to a couple of letting agents they say that flats are hard to come by, and when anything decent comes up it gets snapped up super quick. I will be renting my house up North out while I am down there so ideally would be looking for a furnished place but the letting agent advised me to ‘consider being open minded’ about whether I take furnished / unfurnished! I can see myself sleeping on the beach if it’s as bad as they are saying! So might have to just book into a hotel or get a short term let for a few weeks to tide me over.

    Just remember that letting agents here (like anywhere else) are sharks and they’ve got a vested interest in rushing you into signing up for something. I’ve never found it too hard to find flats here.


    Parts of Boscombe are bad but most of it is ok, not nice and posh but perfectly fine for an urban area. People who go on about how Boscombe is the worse place ever are either regurgitating the standard local response about Boscombe or have had a very sheltered life.

    ^ What he said.


    I’d echo what has been said above. Maybe throw in Upper Parkstone and the Surrey Road area. Southbourne would be my idea but maybe a bit far away from the uni. Ignore the scaremongering estate agents, it’s winter in a coastal town, also check gumtree for landlords looking to avoid fees.

    All good points that you make – I’m not going to pushed into a flat by a letting agent as I know all too well what they can be like. Even if it means staying in a hotel for a few weeks would rather wait until I find something suitable than rushing into the wrong place.

    TheBrick – yes that’s an interesting point re. Boscombe, will certainly go and look round there as I’ve noticed a lot of decent looking flats on right move coming up there, I just wasn’t sure how rough or otherwise it was. I currently live in Manchester and have to cycle through Moss Side each day to work so I can’t imagine it being as bad as that!

    Benjbish – last time I was down I had a look round Upper Parkstone and went for a drink in Ashley Cross which all seemed a nice area, though possibly a bit expensive but certainly another one I will out for.

    Are most of you peeps from Dorset originally or have any of you moved from elsewhere? Wondering how easy it wil be to meet people as I’ll be moving on my own.


    I’ve lived in the area all my life, grew up in Parkstone and have lived in Charminster, Boscombe East (which is, oddly, not in Boscombe) and Southbourne and now live in Christchurch (which is nice but well outside your desired walking radius).

    Rent is relatively high everywhere here and if it seems cheap, it will be for a reason.

    Boscombe is one of the less desirable areas – I would live there on my own if i needed cheap rent, but not with a family – that said, it’s nothing like the rough parts of any of our major cities.

    Southbourne is good value, but again, outside your walking radius, as is Parkstone (at least for walking to Bournemouth).

    In your shoes I would maybe have a look at the Deans Park / Cavendish Road area and also that end of Charminster.

    Have you spoken to the Uni about accomodation ? They may be able to offer some help.

    Generally though, the price will give you good idea of how ‘nice’ a particular area is.

    rusty trowel

    Buy a bike to commute and live in Broadstone.

    Poole>Bournemouth 🙂

    Ooooh now you’re opening up a whole new possible range of options! I do have a bike, and even a car so could commute further….I was just thinking in an ideal world it would be lovely having the option to walk to work. But if Poole has potential housing options then I could consider that too I guess….though I had been led to believe that Bournemouth ruled and Poole was its second rate neighbour….;)

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    Personally I think I’d be tempted to split the difference and go somewhere in the middle like Parkstone as suggested above. Decent bikes shops on hand, closer to the better beaches and Purbecks and nightlife in each direction.

    But my views probably should be taken with a pinch of salt as I haven’t lived in Dorset (Broadstone actually) for a long time now!

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    Poole is a proper town with history. Bournemouth isn’t.
    Lower Parkstone would be a good call.
    You will certainly open up better choices if you forget the walking to work bit.

    I grew up in Bournemouth before moving to the industrial wasteland also known as The North when I was 14. I had fond memories of growing up there, and although the riding isn’t a patch on other areas of the UK, there’s plenty of riding within an hour, and being close to great sandy beaches was fantastic.

    Depending how tomorrow mornings job interview goes, the family and I will be moving back to the area very soon 😀

    I joined a night ride with the Dorset Rough Riders about a month ago and found them to be a friendly, welcoming bunch and the riding over the heathland near Colehill, Verwood, Ringwood forest etc was nice, albeit different (flatter) to what I’m used to!

    I moved here 10 years ago, it’s a fairly transient place…I’d say that
    around half my friends here are transplants from somewhere else.

    Also re: Bournemouth/Poole…as I’m sure you’re aware they form a sprawl. Actually, along with Christchurch and other outlying settlements the South-East Dorset Conurbation is said to be:

    1) The largest non-industrial conurbation in Europe
    2) The largest urban area in the country that doesn’t contain anywhere
    with city status.

    A lot of people (young people especially) don’t really view Bournemouth and Poole as separate towns anymore…it would make a lot of sense if
    the two unitary authorities merged and Christchurch disentangled itself from East Dorset District Council and joined them.

    rusty trowel

    For mountain biking access, Poole is better than B’mouth.

    Short ride to the Sandbanks ferry for Purbecks rides and Canford Heath for fun 1-2 hour blasts.
    Also BIG group rides happening all year round, with either the Rough Riders or with Ritchie and the Ride Cycleworks boys.
    For roadie alternatives there are the 3 local clubs all running group rides as well as Primera doing theirs.
    New Forest still in reach within 20-30 minutes for road rides depending on which part of Poole you’re in.
    Desirable areas would be Lower Parkstone, Broadstone, Corfe Mullen (bit far out) and Sandbanks if you are a millionaire 🙂
    Most of Oakdale is fairly nice and some of the Canford Heath estate is quite nice, as is Bearwood. Westbourne is nice if you want a Bournemouth postcode.
    Charminster/Winton are more ‘busy’ and more like normal towns with lots of students and a more diverse population and vibe. Boscombe has some ok bits but is too far from trails too put up with the grotty parts of it (the High St on an evening is grim).

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