100 Things to do in (and around) Bournemouth 83 – The Avenue

There has been a lot of change to town shopping centres such as Bournemouth over the past few years. Many stores, such as the former Beale’s and House of Fraser Department stores now lie empty. Two local inititiaves which have bucked the trend are housed in former department stores; Bobby’s (was Debenhams) and The Avenue (was Bealesons).

The Avenue Bournemouth
The Avenue

The Avenue is located in Bournemouth’s main pedestrian shopping street (Commercial Road). It can also be accessed from the rear via Avenue Road, which runs alongside The Gardens. When I first started coming to Bournemouth in the 90s, this indoor shopping centre was a lively place, but over time footfall has dropped and units become vacant. Now, to quote from The Avenue’s own website;

The Avenue at Christmas
The Avenue at Christmas

“The Avenue is being re positioned as a place where local independents will mix with bigger brands. A coffee come bike repair shop will provide the only covered cafĂ© in the town centre. There will be offices, event spaces, a giant TV screen for public screenings and in due course a roof top bar and places to live.

The Avenue Abandoned Escalator
The Avenue Abandoned Escalator

Instead of being places to simply buy stuff, town centres need to offer something more interesting and meaningful. Four smaller spaces have been created specifically for smaller independents.”

The Avenue Abandoned Escalator
The Avenue Abandoned Escalator

The process is only just beginning, but The Avenue is slowly starting to transform into something a bit different to your everyday high street shopping experience.

High Street Stores

There are still some high street names in situ:

  • HMV
  • Sports Direct
  • The Perfume Shop
  • The Works

Independent Stores

In addition, there are an array independent shops:

  • Beauty Park
  • i Accessorise
  • jewelworx
  • Lead Out Coffee and Bikes
  • Saltrock
  • Simons Leather

Pop Ups

My favourite thing about The Avenue are the Pop Ups. According to the Avenue’s philosophy: “Pop ups provide opportunity for new ideas to be trialled, vintage clothing, street food, food markets and themed events all provide reasons to visit.” For me, as a local, I love visiting The Avenue and Bobby’s to see what’s new since my last trip.

Lucanart Stories of the Sea
Lucanart Stories of the Sea

Lucanart – Stories of the Sea

At the rear of the complex, from now until Christmas, you can see ‘Stories of the Sea’; the art and photography of local artist Miroslav Lucan, aka Lucanart.

Lucanart Stories of the Sea

Not only can you admire Miroslav’s work, but the man himself is likely to be on site if you want to have a chat, buy some merchandise or even just admire that magnificent moustache.

Miroslav Lucan
Miroslav Lucan

As well as the completed work on display, you can see Miroslav working on a new maritime themed piece.

Lucanart Work in Progress
Lucanart Work in Progress

Loading Dock

The complex’s former loading dock has been repurposed as a multi function event space with plans for a rooftop bar overlooking the Gardens. The Loading Dock hosts events like the South Coast Makers Market

Loading Dock
Loading Dock

It’s some way off reaching completion, but I look forward to visiting The Avenue in 2023 to see how the development is progressing. Plus, of course, do some shopping and see what’s going on in the pop ups.

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3 responses to “100 Things to do in (and around) Bournemouth 83 – The Avenue”

  1. […] left, right and centre and the place was at risk of becoming a ghost town. Luckily, places like The Avenue and Bobby’s have helped ensure that the town centre remains a fun place for a bit of retail […]

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