If you’ve been to Bournemouth town centre over the last couple of years you would have noticed the magnificent Bh2 Leisure taking shape on the site of the sprawling Exeter Road car park right in the heart of town. Dubbed “West Central” in the planning stages, Bh2 Leisure cuts a formidable shape on the town’s skyline – providing a mixture of pretty Gardens-side eateries and one of global cinema brand the Odeon’s flagship cinema complexes.
Bh2 Leisure is home to thirteen restaurants, each given ample space to stamp their own signature style . The first restaurant to open was American diner TGI Fridays in early January 2017, marking the brand’s first foray into Bournemouth (there is a branch at Tower Park in Poole). TGI Fridays occupies a prime plot tucked between the Fern Glen car park and Bournemouth’s pretty Lower Gardens in a lower corner of the building.
The next business to throw open its doors was Chiquitos, a Mexican restaurant which has also enjoyed long-standing success at Tower Park and was keen to make a stake on Bournemouth Town Centre. Steakhouse supremo Miller and Carter opened its doors soon afterwards, drawing on its recipe for success from its local branch in Wallisdown.
Frankie and Benny’s and Nandos brought their winning formulas from their Castlepoint and Tower Park branches to the town centre building. And newcomers to the area but big-hitters on the restaurant scene Joe’s Kitchen, las Iguanas, Coast to Coast, Five Guys, Handmade Burger Co, The Real Greek and Llao Llao frozen yoghurt completed this tasty line-up of top-name dining destinations.
Of course, there’s no ignoring the fact that Odeon’s mammoth 10 screen cinema development has landed right in the heart of the Square within Bh2 Leisure. Sure, there were mixed feelings when the memory-steeped ABC and Odeon buildings along Westover Road powered down their projectors for the final time in over 80 years. But this cutting-edge cinematic complex brings together many of this global brand’s latest innovations in one of its most advanced venues worldwide.
The main cinema features a giant ‘iSense’ screen, which stretches floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall beaming unprecedented quality pictures from 4K digital projectors. Eight of the ten screens will feature giant recliner seats, which offer the ultimate in luxury viewing. Two screens will be all-recliner for a completely unique cinema-viewing experience. One of the cinemas, screen 5, is expressly styled for kids’ screenings and features a soft play area between the seating and the screen and plenty of room to stretch little legs. This room can be converted back to a more standard venue depending on the film being shown!
Wine and recline
You enter the cinema complex on the ground floor and from here you can pick up pre-ordered tickets from wall-mounted terminals, stock up on your cinema snacks and pop for a pre-film coffee in the Odeon’s very own branch of Costa Coffee. When it’s time for your film, head upstairs, perhaps picking up a drink from the licensed bar to take in with you (bottle of wine anyone?) and salivate over various hot food options including the novel ‘pizza and plank’ options.
If you’re wondering where to leave the car to enjoy the many attractions inside Bh2 Leisure, there is a convenient 175-space car park underneath the building so you can park up, dash inside and lose yourself in Bournemouth’s latest indoor attraction.