There are plenty of beautiful, bustling places to visit if you’re in Dorset, but if you want to see how the other half live, Poole has to be your first port of call. Nestled in between the popular tourist resort of Bournemouth and the dramatic Jurassic Coast, Poole is a great base for exploring the whole of the region, but it is just as easy to spend a day there.
Perhaps the most famous part of Poole is the world-famous Sandbanks Beach where you’ll find the homes of the rich and famous.
Sandbanks has some of the most incredible mansions you’ll find on the south coast and there’s every chance you might spot someone famous, people such as Jonathan Ross and Harry Redknapp have homes here.
Aside from the beauty of Sandbanks, Poole is also well known for having Europe’s largest natural harbour and a bustling quayside. The quay is the gateway to the harbour and the islands and is well worth a walk around. There are plenty of cafes and bars in this part of the town so you can sit back with some locally sourced refreshments to watch the ships and yachts coming in and out of the harbour. Naturally being the base of the rich and famous, there are a number of stunning yachts that can be seen, so if you are a boating enthusiast it’s a great place to while away the hours.
The harbour is the largest natural harbour in Europe and the second-largest in the world – Australia’s Sydney Harbour holds that crown – and there are plenty if incredible views and photo opportunities to be had here. On a clear day, you can see out to Brownsea Island, you could even hop on a little pleasure cruise out to the nature reserve there and see if you can catch sight of England’s remaining red squirrels among other wildlife.
Things to do…
Being a university town and sharing campuses with neighbouring Bournemouth, there are naturally lots of fun things to do in town. There are a number of pubs and bars serving locally brewed drinks as well as showcasing local music giving you plenty of reasons to stay in to the night. If you want something a little more energetic, you’ll want to try your hand at the many watersports facilities that Poole has to offer. For those looking for something a bit more cultural, Poole is home to the largest art centre outside of London and for the sports fans, you’ll find lots to keep you entertained with Poole Stadium in the town centre and a greyhound racing track.
Families don’t have to miss out either, just outside the town centre is an entertainment complex with everything from ten pin bowling, cinema, a water park and more!
Of course, you could just grab an ice cream made from the best Dorset dairy and wonder around the gorgeous houses being wowed by the architecture. As there is so much incredible local produce in the region, you’ll want to learn how to make the best meals out of it, so while you’re in Poole, be sure to book a session with the White Pepper Cookery School.
Take a food tour…
If you want to stock up on your Dorset food and drink, you’ll find plenty of producers in the Poole area. You can spice up your own cooking by grabbing a few herbs from Hari Hari who are based in the town or grab all the ingredients you need by also stopping by Sozages for some of the best sausages in the region or D J Wright Dairies.
If you’d rather some sweet treats, Ridiculously Rich by Alana is an award-winning artisan bakery or for those following a vegan or vegetarian diet, V Dorset are based in Poole too and supply a range of delicious vegetarian and vegan foods for all occasions.
If you’re a fan of spirits, Urban and Wild create and sell their own spirits created in the region, as do Lavish Food and Drink.
You might find that there aren’t enough hours in the day to fit everything in, in which case you’re in luck as Poole has a number of excellent places to stay, from luxury seafront accommodation to modest B&Bs there is something to suit everyone.