The ancient sea port of Poole overlooks one of the largest natural harbours in the world. The harbour has served as a sanctuary from stormy weather for centuries and has changed very little since pirates and smugglers sailed theses waters. In recent years the port are has become one of the most popular yachting havens in the country, with a working waterfront catering for both commercial and leisure craft. The harbour area is also a haven for watersports, boat trips and fishing trips.

Poole Island Dorset
Poole Coastline (by Max Pixel (CC0))

Stylish redevelopments on the harbour front have created an interesting mix of both historic and modern. The Quay area has a great choice of bars and eateries mixed in amongst the old wharf buildings. The Old Town, which spreads out behind the Quay, is filled with fine old 17th-c warehouses and stone buildings. It is a lovely place to visit, offering wide range of interesting things to do and see. On the quay stands the late-18th-c red brick Customs House, behind which the Old Quarter extends inland to the parish church and Old Guildhall. Visitors can browse the interpretation panelsĀ along the Cockle Trail (self guided walk) or visit one of the town's fine museums to find out more about Poole's historic past.

Poole has one of the most beautiful sandy coastlines in the UK, that stretches for over three miles and includes one of Britain's best blue flag beaches: Sandbanks.

Several islands are located in the harbour, the largest of which is Brownsea. Regular boat trips run out to the islands, around the harbour and out to Old Harry Rocks. Boat trips along the Jurassic coast are also available, including RSPB guided bird boat trips in winter. For the more adventurous there is a wide range of both water-born and land-based sporting activities available from sailing to cycling.

Poole also lies at the start of the South West Coast Path, which runs for 630 miles around the coastlines of Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, finishing in Minehead, Somerset.

What to see and do in Poole

Brownsea Island

The island covers around 500 acres, mainly covered with woodland, marsh and a few small lakes. The northern part of the island is a nature reserve and public access is by guided tour or nature trail only. The island is one of the few places where red squirrels still thrive.
Read more about Brownsea Island.

Harbour Cruises

One of the best ways relay and take in the scenery is from a harbour cruise, where you can tour the harbour and visit all five of Poole's unique islands.


Poole Pottery Museum

The famous Pool Pottery Museum has the largest collection of Pool Pottery on display anywhere in the world. This famous ceramic-ware was started in 1873, by Jesse Carter, a builder's merchant and iron monger, who purchased a run down pottery in order to manufacturer ceramic tiles. The early tiles were of the lustre type and later became art nouveau in style. All were originally hand made and hand coloured. By the early 20th-c the company started to produce colourful ceramic pottery. Pool has always had a strong design ethos, from Art Deco to the clean modernist lines of the 50s and onto the psychedelic colours of the 60s, each pottery design reflecting the spirit of each era. Pool Pottery is now highly desirable and very collectable.

The working craft sections, shops and showrooms are open daily. The working studio (on the ground floor) allows visitors to watch several skilled potters at work.

Opening times: Daily, Mon to Sat 9am to 5.30pm, Sun 10.30am to 4.30pm (closed Xmas & Easter) Free Entry
Location: The Quay, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1HJ - Tel: 01202 668681 - Website
Facilities: Shop, cafe, visitor centre.

Poole Museum

The Museum tells history of Poole with interactive displays and hands-on exhibits over four floors. Exhibits include a very fine public collection of Poole Pottery.

Opening times: Tue-Sat from 10am, Sun from 12 noon Free Entry
Location: 4 High St, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1BW - Tel: 01202 262600 - Website
Facilities: parking (250 metre), gift shop

Poole Park

Located adjacent to the harbour, the park contains a range of amusement facilities, play areas, all-weather play facility, cricket pitches, crazy golf course, putting green, tennis courts, a miniature railway, lake and a mini marina.

Opening times: daily from 9am (closed Xmas) Free Entry to Park - Admission Charge for facilities.
Location: Poole, Dorset, BH15 2SE - Tel: 01202 265265 - Website
Facilities: parking, cafe and refreshments

Upton Country Park

Located just three miles out of the town, the park covers some 100 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, woodland and shoreline. The park is also home to the Grade II listed Georgian Mansion of Upton Hall, with a walled garden and splash fountain. Woodland trail, tea rooms and gallery.

Map of Poole


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