The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery is a beautiful and historic Grade II listed house – a cliff-top birthday gift of love from husband to wife, and one of the very last Victorian villas to be built in the town. It was then filled with exceptional objects from their travels, and art, painstakingly collected. Gifted then as a museum, this is the most incredible place to visit. With cafe and shop, it also has the most magnificent tropical-looking gardens, stunning sea views, and the large house with many, unique rooms (the Moorish Alcove, the Boudoir, and the Mikado’s Room, amongst others), all stylishly packed full of exhibits, souvenirs, art and items of great beauty. From Landseer to landscapes; most of the collection is of a classical style, not impressionism or abstract. This incredibly elegant museum and grounds also offer themselves, the unique Victorian villa and dazzling gardens, as a magnificent venue for art-filled weddings.
Not far from Bournemouth, in Christchurch, is the Red House Museum and Gardens. This was once a Georgian workhouse (built in 1764) but now is a fitting location for displays of social and local history, interactive archaeology and contemporary art. Also in Christchurch you'll find the Bournemouth Aviation Museum in which you can clamber into many forms of aircraft, and really get hands-on with many of the exhibits. This small museum is frequently described by visitors as "a hidden gem".
In addition to the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, there are a good number of galleries in which you can view and purchase the best in classic and contemporary art. Take a trip to the ARThouse Gallery which specialists in original contemporary artworks and prints, to Whitewall Galleries for the ever-changing exhibitions and adventures in contemporary artworks, or Coastal Creatives, a boutique gallery - award winning designers and wedding stylists who are passionate about "all things handmade". This is a one-of-a-kind gallery where work by around 200 designers and artists is showcased. And the Westover Gallery features artwork, jewellery and couture from national and international artists.