CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Dorset Magazine today CLICK HERE

A day in…Poole

PUBLISHED: 21:15 24 April 2013 | UPDATED: 00:12 25 April 2013

Banana Wharf above Poole Quay

Banana Wharf above Poole Quay

Hattie Miles 07907 645897

A harbour town with parkland, islands and a world famous peninsula

There are few towns or cities in Great Britain that better embrace their waterside location than Poole. From its charming old harbour to the magnificent new Twin Sails Bridge, the relationship between land and sea here is a harmonious one. Whether walking along its harbour side or chilling out in its 110 acre park, Poole’s relaxed vibe is apparent from the minute you arrive, making it the perfect place to enjoy quality leisure time.

Waterside Bliss

There is no better way to familiarise yourself with Poole and its locale than by taking a cruise around its magnificent harbour. Dorset Cruises (departing from The Quay) offer regular harbour boat trips, as well as excursions to Bournemouth, Brownsea Island and Swanage. Brownsea Island Ferries, which depart from both the quayside and Sandbanks, has a similar selection of journeys available, most notably a trip to the National Trust island of Brownsea – home to one of the UK’s last remaining colonies of red squirrel.

Poole Park was opened by the Prince of Wales back in 1890 and it continues to be one of the town’s best loved attractions. In addition to vast grassy areas, ponds and a large, manmade lake, the park is also home to two children’s play areas, tennis courts, a bowling green, miniature golf and a miniature railway. For on-site refreshments Sevens Boatshed offers breakfast, lunch, afternoon teas and an ever-popular Sunday lunch.

A short chain ferry service connects Sandbanks to Studland on the Isle of Purbeck - this is a must-do journey for visitors to Poole. Not only does this provide the opportunity to visit Studland - the picturesque National Trust beach and nature reserve - but passengers also get a great view of Sandbanks’ millionaires’ mansions on Panorama Road!

Shore Road offers spectacular views across Poole Harbour and its vast number of islands. Poole Harbour Watersports are based here, providing lessons in windsurfing, kitesurfing, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding (a similar range of sporting facilities is also offered at The Watersports Academy in Banks Road). The adjacent Sandbanks beach is perfect for sunbathing and if the weather’s a bit chilly wander along to Banks Road where Sandbanks Beach Cafe, Jazz Cafe or Cafe Shore offer tasty snacks, meals and hot drinks to keep warm!

Walk through time

A good way to explore Poole is to follow the Cockle Trail - an easy one hour walk through the streets and alleys of the old town. Simply follow the brass cockle shell plaques set in the pavement to discover Poole’s history of smugglers, pirates and sailors. For those who are feeling brave there is a guided ghost walk every Monday and Wednesday (meet at Scaplen’s Court at 8pm). To discover more about Poole’s exciting pirate and smuggler strewn past visit Poole Museum (4 High Street).

Traditional Flavour

In Poole’s old town it’s nostalgia galore. Children will love the Ginger Pop Shop (Old Orchard), which can be found just around the corner from The Quay. This Enid Blyton-inspired store stocks all 150 current print titles from the Dorset-loving author including Noddy, The Famous Five ( Brownsea was Blyton’s inspiration for Whispering Island) and The Secret Seven there are also heaps of vintage gifts and collectables not to mention ‘lashings’ of ginger beer!

Those with a sweet tooth will adore Truly Scrumptious (5 High Street), which sells traditional confectionary measured out from jars – just like in the old days! Expect to find mints, liquorice, gums, chews and jellies not to mention retro classics such as Rainbow Drops, Parma Violets, Fizz Wizz and Love Hearts. More sweet delights can be found at The Fudge Shop (Kiosk 6) on the Quay, next to other kiosks selling piping hot fish ‘n’ chips, soft drinks and local ice cream.

If you’ve left room for a proper meal, Poole has a wide selection of fine establishments. Hotel du Vin’s (Thames Street) bistro restaurant is set within a Georgian town house and has a stylish menu, with a distinctive French twist. From moules marinère to Normandy chicken, the food here is trés magnifique!

For lovers of seafood try Loch Fyne (47 Haven Road) or Storm Fish Restaurant (16 High Street). Storm is run by local fisherman Pete Miles and his wife Frances. Pete catches a lot of the fish on the menu and they pride themselves on sourcing as locally as possible including local rock oysters and palourde clams. They also offer a Kids’ Menu.

For lunch or a lighter meal try DELI on the Quay (Dolphin Quays) overlooking Poole Harbour and Brownsea Island. As well as boasting the best coffee in Poole their classic Dorset apple cake is to die for. They also have soups and sandwiches, made with homemade bread, and you can take home food hampers and wines as well as fresh produce from an extensive deli counter.

Entertainment Galore

If you’re after some world class entertainment then look no further than Poole Lighthouse (21 Kingsland Road) - the largest arts centre in the UK outside London. With its own cinema and 2,400 seater theatre, showing films, musicals, concerts and comedy, the Lighthouse is a beacon for arts lovers. It is also home to the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO) who perform a number of summer outdoor concerts with fireworks in Poole and Bournemouth.

During the summer months Europe’s biggest weekly motorbike meet takes places on Poole Quay every Tuesday from 6pm. This popular event, which runs from the first Tuesday in April to the end of September, showcases a glittering array of bikes and their proud owners. On Friday nights between May and August the bikes gives way to cars with themed events such as Beetles, TVRs, Italian Stallions and American Dream.

Out of Town

Just a short drive out of Poole town centre is Upton Country Park, which has over 100 acres of garden, open parkland, woodland and shoreline together with a magnificent Georgian Grade II-listed building which contains tea rooms, an art gallery and plant centre. The newly designed ‘Play Trail’ has plenty of things for children to see and do as they make their way round the park.

If they need to let off some more steam then beat a path to Tower Park - an entertainment complex situated near to Canford Heath. Another family favourite, the site is home to a ten screen Empire Cinema, Bowlplex and Splashdown water park – the biggest of its kind in the UK – as well as a host of restaurants and bars.

Lower Parkstone, known to many locals as ‘the Village’ or ‘Ashley Cross Village’, also has an excellent range of restaurants and bars to explore, including Patrick’s (1 Bournemouth Road), The Grove (28-30 Station Road) and Le Bateau (141-143 Commercial Road).


More from Out & About

From your first step, you will see superb views from hilltops and farmland footpaths on this walk

Read more
Sunday, November 11, 2018

Martin Clunes and his family have called West Dorset home for over two decades. Here he shares some of their favourite local places

Read more
Monday, November 5, 2018

To mark the centenary of the end of World War One we visit some of the memorials erected across Dorset to remember the fallen in the ‘war to end all wars’

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

This lovely walk takes us from watercress beds to a church famous for its life-size carvings of apostles

Read more
Thursday, October 25, 2018

Autumn is a great time to brush up on your gardening knowledge with the help of some experts, as well as see some well known gardens in a different light

Read more
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The guide to Dorset’s best firework displays and bonfire events happening in 2018

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Prepare to experience the paranormal this Hallowe’en as Visit Dorset reveals some of the county’s most haunted pubs, stately homes, historic buildings and tanks

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

From festive light switch-ons and Santa’s Grottos, to German Christmas markets and late-night shopping, we’ve covered what’s on in Dorset this season

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

Dorset villages are some of the most beautiful in England – think winding lanes, thatched cottages and a cosy pub or welcoming tea room. We suggest ten of the prettiest villages to visit in the county

Read more
Friday, September 14, 2018

Follow in the footsteps of the Romans on this lovely walk that takes in rare habitat, ancient woodland and glorious views

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

This challenging coastal walk rewards your efforts with spectacular views along the Jurassic Coast

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Marine photographer Steve Belasco shares some very special wildlife moments

Read more
Wednesday, September 5, 2018

TravelSupermarket has uncovered the top 25 most popular UK beaches on Instagram after analysing hashtags used for over 1,100 beaches and Bournemouth comes out on top

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Ride + Stride, Dorset Historic Churches Trust’s annual fundraising event, is a great way to explore and support some of the county’s more unusual places of worship

Read more
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search