Bournemouth is a seaside resort on the south coast of England. It is located about 105 miles southwest of London. The town is bordered by Poole in the west and Christchurch in the east, and overlooks Poole Bay.
It was part of the historic county of Hampshire. A roundabout at the end of the Wessex Way called “County Gates” marks the divide between the historic counties of Hampshire and Dorset, and also marks the border between Poole and Bournemouth. For local government purposes, it was part of the non-metropolitan county of Dorset from 1974 to 1997. On April 1, 1997, Bournemouth became an independent unitary authority, though it remains part of the ceremonial county of Dorset.
Bournemouth is a popular tourist destination on South Coast of England because of the fine long (approximately 5 miles) beach that runs from Christchurch in the east to the border of Poole in the west, the wide range of accommodation and entertainment, the mild climate, and easy access to the New Forest, Jurassic Coast, Devon, and the Dorset and Hampshire countryside. The stretch of beach belonging to Bournemouth does not run the length of Poole Bay (although Bournemouth and its council would very much like you to believe that it does) since it concludes at the east end by Hengistbury Head and by the long golden sand beaches of Poole in the west. This section of the English coast enjoys some of the warmest, driest, and sunniest weather in Britain.
Rapid growth in Bournemouth has taken place. In 1880, it had 17,000 people, 60,000 by 1900 and had reached 150,000 by 1990. In the latest census, the town had a population of 163,441. Bournemouth is part of a built-up area which, along with Poole and Christchurch has a combined population of 383,713, the whole area being sufficiently populous to be one of the major retail and commercial centres in the south of England. Traditionally a retirement town, Bournemouth (mostly the Northbourne, Southbourne and Tuckton areas of Bournemouth together with Wallisdown, and Talbot Village areas of Poole), now houses many students who attend Bournemouth University (the administrative area and main campus of which is in fact located in Poole).
Poole is a coastal town, port and tourist destination in the traditional county of Dorset in southern England. The town has a population of 138,299 (2001) and is famed for its large natural harbour (the second largest in the world), situated on the shores of the English Channel. Poole is positioned on a very popular stretch of coastline, with the resort of Bournemouth to the east, Studland and the Jurassic coast to the south-west. The town has grown rapidly, and Sandbanks, a small sand spit across part of the harbour mouth, is so popular that it has the fourth highest land value, by area, in the world. There are exclusive homes both on Sandbanks and the whole of the area stretching east from the Harbour to The Avenue (the eastern boundary of Poole).
Prominent employers in Poole include Barclays Bank, Hamworthy Engineering, Poole Packaging, Sunseeker, Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Ryvita.
Poole Harbour is a popular location for watersports because it is sheltered and calm. Poole Harbour is also one of the largest centres for sailing in the UK with many yacht clubs including Lilliput Sailing Club, Parkstone Yacht Club and Poole Yacht Club. Parkstone Yacht Club has recently been hosts of the OK World Championships, numerous large National Championships as well as being organisers of Youth Week and Poole Week, two of the largest dinghy regattas of their type in the country. In 2006 they will be hosts of the J24 European Championship Regatta.
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