Bournemouth Arcade (also known as Gervis Arcade, the Royal Arcade and often simply ‘The Arcade’) is a grand Victorian covered row of shops cutting between Bournemouth’s popular high street on Old Christchurch Road and well-heeled Westover Road. Beautifully presented all year round – particularly at Christmas – and filled with premium retailers, there’s plenty to catch your eye, whether browsing for gifts or taking shelter from the elements.
Originals and classics
You’ll find high street names mixing with unique here – from Ernest Jones and Essential the jewellers to Goldman Arcade Jewellers, Waterstones and Cath Kidson to Space NK, White Stuff and L’Occitane too. Far from a cut-through between two of Bournemouth’s busiest parades, The Arcade is reason enough for a whole shopping trip in itself.
Ernest Jones the jewellers occupies the first retail unit in the arcade on the Old Christchurch Road side. This retailer was established over 60 years ago, as a diamond and watch specialist. You’ll find jewels and gifts for all occasions from special birthdays to weddings to Christenings and, of course, engagements. They also provide a jewellery and watch cleaning, repair and resizing service.
High street favourites
Sharing the mouth of the arcade is upmarket department store House of Fraser. The shop stocks popular brand menswear and ladieswear, kids clothing, beauty, luggage, home and garden, kids and toys, electricals and garden items. There is a ‘Click and Collect’ point on the second floor for people who have shopped ahead online, a parent and baby room, watch repairs on the lower ground floor and even a branch of Virgin Holidays! There is also a coffee bar and restaurant if you’re planning to stay a while and kit out your whole life in one visit!
Barnaby’s Opticians is just inside the arcade, dispensing designer and luxury eyewear, sunglasses and eyecare services. The business was founded nearly 40 years ago, as one of the first boutique opticians in town and supplies big name specs and sports eyewear. They accept external prescriptions and can provide lenses from many of the top eye lens manufacturers. The store is elegant and inviting with beautifully presented stock from the likes of J.F. Rey, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Italia Independent, Tom Ford, Dior, Bvlgari and Maui Jim Sunglasses.
Take a moment
Popular bookseller Waterstones is a firm fixture in Bournemouth Arcade, with a beautiful and enchanting façade that beckons you in to the world within. The store has a fine section of books and occupies three floors of this grand building. The Lower Ground Floor is where you’ll find the non-fiction titles including cookery and travel, crime, manga and sci-fi plus a comprehensive selection of reference and academic text books. The Ground Floor is home to your fiction, a vast selection of children’s books, graphic novels, gifts and click & collect if you’ve pre-bought online. If you can’t resist opening the cover of your literary purchase, take it up to the First Floor café. This is a delightful retreat with cosy corners and intricate styling will envelope provides a tranquil space, warm drinks and delicious treats to while away an hour or two.
Gifts and accessories
Another long-standing resident in Bournemouth Arcade is Essential, a fashion jewellers founded in 1990 in Southampton and since spread its reach and popularity with seven shops along the South of England. Essential displays its wares in blocks by style and colour so you can make a beeline for the sort of jewellery you need to complete that outfit or make the perfect gift. Essential stocks lots of silver jewellery, body jewellery, chains, hoops, watches, scarves and accessories and your inner magpie could kill too much time wowing over the pretty trays and racks seeking for that coveted item.
White Stuff is next door, a big-name, stylish casual clothing company. Each store is unique but all carry the same charm and warm welcome that tempts to you spend time browsing the racks. Uniquely you’re welcome to bring in your pet, which makes it so much easier then wondering if Fido will still be tethered where you left him outside or has he taken himself off to the Gardens for walkies! White Stuff sells menswear, ladieswear, children’s clothing, accessories, shoes, gifts and home décor without pretence but with great style.
Arcade Jewellers is a good old fashioned jewellery store, family-run and founded back in 1982 when they opened in Boscombe, Bournemouth and Christchurch. The town centre branch has been in Bournemouth Arcade since 2009 and the company is renowned for its expertise and competitively-priced new and diamond jewellery, gold jewellery and gemstones. But its specialism has always been its range of second-hand jewellery, antique jewellery and pre-owned quality Swiss watches and antique clocks. This approach means Arcade Jewellers and its stable-mates stretching down to Dorchester in the west and Salisbury to the north have a vast spectrum of unusual stock which keeps customers returning time after time to find that perfect piece. Arcade Jewellers also carries out repairs on the premises, some while you wait, and a silverware showroom on the first floor.
Charles Fox is an esteemed jeweller on the Westover Road side of Bournemouth Arcade. It proudly declares its 140 years’ experience (established 1876) and has been run by the company from this time until the present day. The shop in Bournemouth Arcade opened a century ago and is still as magnificent as it was back then under the management of the fourth and fifth generations of the family. The name is known all over the south coast for its jeweller and watchmaker services and back in 2007 they were proud to install a Rolex Service Centre – the only one in the county. If you want to make a big jewellery purchase or the advice of an expert, Charles Fox’s ensuring success speaks volumes.
Cath Kidson is a well-known, kooky brand of clothing and accessories founded in West London in 1993 selling car boot finds with big bold prints. She developed a signature vintage style of floral prints, strawberries, spots, rosses, cowboys and puppy-dogs and her modern vintage stores can now be found around the world. The Bournemouth branch is – unsurprisingly – beautifully decorated and showcasing her extensive range of wares ranging from bags to accessories, fashion and homeware to things for the kids.
Popular workwear and fashion brand Timberland – known for its trademark Yellow Boot – has a shop along Bournemouth Arcade selling a selection of the 40-year-old company’s range of boots and rugged footwear plus coats. Today the footwear range if extensive and branches out to women and kids too but it will forever be synonymous for rugged, waterproof and reliable boots build to withstand whatever your life throws at them.
The mouth of the arcade opening out onto Gervis Place (facing Westover Road) is home to chic French cosmetics and toiletry brand L’Occitane en Provence. The business started in France back in 1976 but has since made a name for itself globally for its luxurious, natural soaps and fragrances which harness the very essence of Provence living. Today they have more than 2300 shops and spa centres around the world and are recognisable by their orange logo and chic facades. The shop in Bournemouth is a relatively new fixture (2016) but fits in with the other Bournemouth Arcade businesses seamlessly.
Sitting at the other side of the Bournemouth Arcade entrance is SpaceNK Apothecary. This British cosmetics retailer stocks beauty products from around the world with its signature Body, Spa, Man and Woman collections. It also carries over 60 specialist brands including Sunday Riley, Tom Ford, Oskia, Diptyque, Living Proof, Oribe, Eve Lom, NARS, Jurlique, Laura Mercia, Model Co, Caudalie and Aromatherapy Associates.
Bournemouth Arcade is enviably located between two of the town’s most popular shopping streets enclosed by a magnificent, all-weather Victorian roof. The businesses within do their utmost to maintain the classy and sophisticated tone set by the arcade, which makes for an enjoyable experience, whether you’re on a shop-till-you-drop or happy to browse the beautifully-tended window displays.