As well as your high street favourites, the coastal town of Bournemouth is home to an enormous selection of unique and unusual shops for souvenir purchases or a simple day of window shopping. The Coastal Creatives Boutique Gallery lets you take a little bit of the beach home with unique seaside crafts, driftwood furnishings and kitsch goodies, or you can visit Hengist Kites to buy a kite, landboard or buggy for a day on the sand.
Visiting late in the year you'll be able to take a walk around Bournemouth's Christmas Market open from the end of November, and of course the town offers a number of surf shops for visits in the summer. Add to this the wonderful vintage boutiques you may just happen upon whilst browsing round, and Bournemouth is truly a shopping heaven! Notable are the monthly Boscombe Vintage Market, and the retro places on Christchurch Road (the Vintage Quarter!).
Bournemouth shopping centres include the Sovereign Centre (host not only to many shops and other outlets, but also to gigs and many fun and charity-related events), the Castlepoint Shopping Centre (the LARGEST shopping park in the whole of the UK) and the Avenue (small and relaxed), all with well-known brand names. They have free car parks, but are easy to reach if you're leaving the car behind. Otherwise, take a little spare money to Bournemouth's many attractions, most of which include their own gift shops.
The tree-lined Westover Road is where you'll find the designer labels and independent boutiques. Westbourne is known for its selection of independent boutiques, patisseries and restaurants. There is also a Victorian Arcade where the original designer added gargoyles to the decoration. To the east of Bournemouth's centre is Boscombe where you'll find a good choice of antique and bric-a-brac shops amongst the pedestrian streets in Boscombe's Victorian centre.