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The local area guide to living in Bournemouth
Bournemouth is one of the most popular spots in the south of England, situated just a short distance away from Southampton. It lies within the county of Dorset and is both a tourist hotspot and the largest town in the region.
Bournemouth only began growing extensively in the late 19th and early 20th century, thanks largely to the introduction of the railroads. Since then, it has been considered one of the most attractive places to visit and live on the south coast.
It has a strong economy, supported greatly by employers including JP Morgan, Palmair and Lloyds. More than 90% of residents work in the service sector.
Nearby suburbs offer extra delights. Boscombe is well known for its arts and entertainment scene, while Westbourne is renowned for its excellent shopping district. Pokesdown, on the other hand, is popular for its boutique, quirky retro, vintage and antique shops. Students particularly enjoy Winton, which has two university campuses and excellent transport links.
Information about the local residents
Just over 180,000 people live in Bournemouth, a little under 70% of which are working age (the figure for the rest of England and Wales is closer to 60%). Overall, it has a slightly older population than the norm: there are far fewer children under the age of 16, and more retired people than you'd expect. In fact, it is a highly popular place to live for retirees.
Bournemouth, thanks to the powerful service sector, has a relatively low unemployment rate and a good reputation for job opportunities.
Bournemouth has some excellent options for parents looking to raise a family in the town. There are some top notch primary schools scattered across Bournemouth, of which a large proportion are rated either good or outstanding by Ofsted. Among the best are St Mark's Church of England Aided Primary School and Queens Park Infant School.
In terms of independent primary schools, Bournemouth is well stocked too. Talbot Heath School, a girls' school, has a very good reputation and offers education for both day and boarding pupils. Examples of good secondary schools include Bournemouth School and Bournemouth School for Girls.
For higher education, Bournemouth has two universities. Bournemouth University demonstrates good results, and The Arts University (truthfully located in Poole) attracts some of the top creative minds in the region.
Bournemouth has excellent transport links. The A388 is the primary artery road for locals, and it links to more major roads in the region well, allowing people to easily reach other areas of the South West and London. Bus services are also good, and regular. There are plenty of routes throughout the town and the surrounding villages and suburbs.
There are two railway stations within the area: Bournemouth and Pokesdown. They offer excellent connections around the country, making commuting more than viable. There are direct lines to Birmingham, Oxford, London Waterloo and even Manchester.
Just outside of town is Bournemouth Airport, which has a good selection of flights connecting to destinations including Dublin, Geneva, Rhodes and Lanzarote.
Bournemouth has excellent options for shopaholics. Most of the centre of the town is pedestrianised, leading to a large number of quality independent shops, cafes and boutiques popping up to complement the high street brands. Westbourne in particular (known colloquially as the Village) has some fantastic boutiques and beauty shops, alongside bistros and cafes. There are also regular markets in the area.
Only a short three miles from the centre of Bournemouth is Castlepoint Shopping park - the biggest shopping centre in the region. It has all the fashionable brands you'd expect and more.
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