21 December 2020/ Area guides

Office leasing guide: Bournemouth & Poole

If you’ve always wanted to work near the coast, Bournemouth and Poole are two great options for running a business in. Once the playground of fisherman, today the two areas are seeing prominent business growth and innovation. With a young and skilled population and a diverse mix of sectors, there are lots of exciting opportunities here.

Bournemouth

If you’re in the tourism business, Bournemouth is a great place to be. Its seafront and thriving nightlife attract some 4.5 million visitors each year. Tourist activity accounts for an estimated 8,500 full-time jobs – or 15% of all employment in the town.

Outside of leisure and holiday making, Bournemouth is also a regional centre of business. In fact, the town is home to a financial sector worth more than one billion in gross value added. Other sectors that are growing fast here include public services, distribution, banking and insurance. Notable employers include JPMorgan, Nationwide Building Society, Liverpool Victoria, Tata Consultancy Services and RIAS insurance companies.

Bournemouth University (BU) helps to develop plenty of young talent for businesses. The university was ranked one of the top 15 UK universities for employability in 2019, with 91% of graduates in work or further study within six months of graduating. BU deliberately partners with local, national, and international companies to ensure their courses meet industry needs and standards.

Looking at the town’s population overall, 65% are of working age, with three quarters economically active.

Offices to rent in Bournemouth

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Key business areas in Bournemouth

Bournemouth is known for offering both high quality and cost-effective locations for businesses, with a relaxed environment that nurtures creativity and innovation.

One of the popular locations for businesses is near Oxford Road, home to modern centres including Waverly House, Avalon, and Holland House. Just a 20-minute walk from the town centre, this location puts businesses close to lots of handy amenities and transport links, including St Paul’s roundabout linking directly to the A338 and the Executive Business Centre, BU’s business school. Companies you’ll find nearby include Lester Aldridge Solicitors, Trethowans Solicitors, software company ESET UK and advertising agency Thinking Juice.

Many businesses are also scattered around the town centre, which is filled with hotels and restaurants ideal for hosting clients. It’s also just a few minutes’ walk to the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC). Opened in 1984 and renovated in 2004, BIC is one of the largest conference and exhibition venues in the world, which has hosted many gala dinners, award ceremonies and business events. Its main hall can host up to 4,000 delegates.

Getting around in Bournemouth

Bournemouth has its very own international airport

Bournemouth International Airport has direct flights to 23 international destinations, including Cyprus, Italy, Finland, Greece, Malta, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and Turkey. An estimated 600,000 people travel through this airport every year. If you need to get to Heathrow, it’s easy to reach by road in under two hours. There are also frequent departures by bus heading to both Heathrow and Gatwick airport.

You can drive to London in two hours from Bournemouth

The main road into town is the A338, a dual carriageway that connects to the A31 and eventually the M3 into London or the A34 to the North.

There are two railway stations in Bournemouth

Bournemouth has two stations, the Bournemouth Railway Station and the Pokesdown Railway Station. Both stations are on the South Western Main Line, which runs from Weymouth to London Waterloo. The Cross-Country rail network also connects the town to Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle.

Business amenities in Bournemouth

Bournemouth has a great selection of hotels

As you can imagine from a seaside town, there’s no shortage of hotels to choose from. For a luxurious stay, you can choose from The Hilton or the four-star Bournemouth Highcliff Marriott Hotel, which offers fantastic sweeping views of the ocean and easy access to the BIC. The Connaught Hotel & Spa is a boutique hotel that also promises a comfortable stay, which includes an indulgent hotel spa, fully equipped gym, indoor swimming pool, and an AA Rosette brasserie and gin bar.

Hotel Collingwood is an ideal business hotel, offering spacious rooms, a gym and sauna, and meeting rooms with free Wi-Fi that can accommodate anywhere from 20 to 100 guests. Other good options include The Green House and Hotel Miramar, a country house hotel full of character and charm that offers a private dining area suitable for business celebrations.

A fine dining paradise

The seafront is where you’ll find the most popular restaurants, and they all come highly rated. Arbor restaurant offers fine dining without the pretence or price tag, serving beautifully plated and imaginative food. The intimate Restaurant Roots comes Michelin recommended, while Westbourne Grill House prides itself on producing locally sourced, traditional British cuisine.

For flavours from around the world, El Murrino serves up mouth-watering Italian, Lolas Restaurant has authentic Spanish tapas and, for a filling work lunch, the Moose Kitchen is a Canadian restaurant that offers buffalo wings, seafood chowder, cheesy nachos, burgers and meatloaf. And for the vegans, Plant Hustler makes a selection of tasty plant-based burgers and hot dogs.

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Bournemouth is a popular destination for conferences

Coastal towns are always attractive for conferences, offering delegates the chance to work and play. The BIC is the most popular – and largest – conference centre in town, but you’ll find most hotels include meetings rooms perfect for seminars and workshops. For another option just a short distance from the BIC and beach, The Ballroom can hold up to 60 guests.

Other amenities in Bournemouth

If the coastline isn’t where you like to stretch your legs, Bournemouth also has over 1,000 hectares of parks and gardens – making up 20% of the entire borough. Many of these parks have been awarded Green Flags, in recognition of their good maintenance. Play a round of tennis in the Bournemouth Central Gardens or explore the Alum Chine tropical garden overlooking the bay.

For shopping, The Arcade boasts Victorian architecture with rows of extravagant shops and pop-up stalls. Other major shopping areas include Castlepoint and the Sovereign Shopping Centre, which has everything from clothes to jewellery and groceries.

And for those into fitness, The Gym offers 42 cardio machines, a functional training area, a large free weights area and on-site showers.

Notable tenants in Bournemouth

  • JPMorgan Chase
  • Nationwide Building Society
  • Liverpool Victoria
  • Tata Consultancy Services
  • RIAS

Key agents in Bournemouth

  • IW Group Services
  • CBRE
  • Vail Williams LLP
  • Avison Young
  • Cowling & West

Offices to rent in Bournemouth

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Interesting facts about Bournemouth

  • A 2007 survey by First Direct found Bournemouth to be the happiest place in the UK. In 2019, the town also won the British Travel award for being the best UK seaside town.
  • Famous musicians that have played concerts at the BIC include Tina Turner, Tom Jones, Coldplay, Kelly Clarkson, Imagine Dragons, The Script, Little Mix, Kylie Minogue, and Snow Patrol.
  • JRR Tolkien, the author of Lord of the Rings, lived in Bournemouth from the 1960s until his death in 1973.
  • BU graduates have helped create the visual effects for several Oscar-nominated films, including Gravity, which stars George Clooney and Sandra Bullock. They even won the Best Visual Effects award for it in 2014.

Poole

Just a 20-minute drive from Bournemouth is Poole, a coastal town in Dorset that forms part of the Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole Council. The town is perhaps most famous for its port, which remains one of the busiest in Britain today, regularly receiving shipments of steel, timber, bricks, fertiliser, and grain. Also making use of the shipyards is Sunseeker, the world’s largest privately-owned builder of motor yachts. Their local operations in Poole employ over 1,800 people.

But it’s the service sector that makes up the principal economy of Poole, with most employees working for the service economy of residents and tourists. A few big-name brands have established their headquarters here, including Barclays Bank, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, Fitness First, Animal, Lush and Merlin Entertainments, which is the world’s second-largest theme park operator behind Disney. Outside of this, expanding sectors include marine technologies, advanced manufacturing and engineering, as well as the creative industry.

The town has an abundance of creative talent, thanks in part to the Arts University Bournemouth, which sits within the borough. The university was ranked the UK’s top specialist art and design university by The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021 and provides courses in art, performance, design, and media.

Offices to rent in Poole

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Key business areas in Poole

There are many industrial estates within Poole, including Branksome Business Centre, Poole Trade Park and Nuffield Industrial Estate, home to several companies in construction and engineering. In fact, Poole is home to the largest number of industrial estates in South East Dorset.

Business parks are also in good supply. There’s Brixey Business Park, which includes a modern development of 24 warehouse and office units, filled with businesses in industries ranging from software development to home improvements. Romany Works Business Park markets itself as a place for entrepreneurs and small to mid-size businesses, while Arena offers workspace and facilities designed to create a vibrant business community.

Bayside Business Centre offers good links to the town centre and is surrounded by retail parks, supermarkets, gyms, and restaurants. And office space in and around Fleets Corner near Waterloo Road, close to the Lush HQ, offers good access to major roads.

Getting around in Poole 

The main road into Poole’s town centre is the A350, which runs from the M4 motorway in Wiltshire to Poole. But there are lots of ways to get around this harbour town.

Poole has four railway stations

Poole has four rail stations on the South Western Main Line, which stretches from Weymouth to London Waterloo. These include Branksome, Parkstone, Poole Railway Station in the town centre, and Hamworthy. If you’re looking to travel to London, each station receives about three trains an hour heading to and from that direction.

There are many local bus services in Poole

Within Poole, most bus services are run by morebus, which has been serving Poole since 1983. You can also catch services from the Bournemouth-based Yellow Buses and Damory Coaches.

If you’re looking to catch a bus into London, the Midlands or the Heathrow and Gatwick airports, Poole is a calling point for National Express Coaches, offering frequent and direct services.

Business amenities in Poole

Poole has hotels for every budget

Whether you’re looking for a budget hotel or a more luxurious option, Poole has a variety to choose from. Some of the most recommended hotels include the Hotel du Vin, which offers 38 smart and stylish rooms with a relaxed maritime atmosphere. The quayside Thistle and Harbour Heights Hotel both overlook the stunning Poole Harbour, where guests can dine al fresco on the terrace. Thistle also offers a modern meeting room that can accommodate up to 60 guests.

To treat clients or colleagues to the ultimate coastal stay, the Haven Hotel is perched on the Sandbanks peninsula and offers fine dining in The Point restaurant.

Poole is a seafood heaven

It’s not surprising that a harbourside town is full of seafood options. In fact, the town is thought to produce some of the finest oysters and mussels.

The Poole Arms is the oldest seafood bar in town, serving everything from seafood casseroles to freshly-dressed crab. Ideal for a work lunch meeting is Oriel on the Quay, decorated with hand-painted murals and views of the glistening sea, where you’ll be treated to cuisine from a handful of experienced chefs.

Looking to wine and dine clients? At Italian Diva, head chef Marcello Calipa serves up the best of Italian cuisine. And at Rick Stein, you can look forward to iconic seafood dishes including oysters with cabernet sauvignon vinegar and grilled Cornish lobster.

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Other amenities in Poole

There are some great shopping options in Poole, including the Dolphin Shopping Centre, home to a selection of over 80 leading high street brands and independent retailers, and Poole Retail Park, with many homeware tenants.

For those who love sailing as an after-work hobby, the Poole Yacht Club has a long history of providing racing, sailing, cruising, and social activities. Poole Harbour and Poole Bay are also great locations for other water sports, including windsurfing, kitesurfing, and water skiing. And for general fitness, the Poole leisure centre provides a 60-station gym, group fitness studio and a 25-metre swimming pool.

Notable tenants in Poole

  • Barclays Bank
  • The Royal National Lifeboat Institution
  • Fitness First
  • Animal
  • Lush
  • Merlin Entertainments
  • Sunseeker

Offices to rent in Poole

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Interesting facts about Poole

  • During the Second World War, Poole was one of the main departing points for the Normandy landings.
  • Poole makes an appearance in some well-known movies. The African Queen features Poole harbour, while 2001 – A Space Odyssey was filmed at Compton Acres.
  • English director and screenwriter Edgar Wright was born in Poole and attended Bournemouth University. He directed the famous 2004 horror-comedy Shaun of the Dead.