Poole is a large coastal town and seaport located in the historic county of Dorset on the gorgeous South Coast. Poole’s natural harbour is the largest in Europe, making it a delight for sailors, wildlife, jet skiers and much more with plenty of space to enjoy the water and splash around.
Take in the sights of Poole’s beautiful old town, which is the historical heart of Poole and once part of the medieval town which dates back to the Iron Age. Stroll through the narrow streets before heading out towards the quay.
Rain or shine, there's plenty for everyone in Poole. There's a number of blue flag beaches including the world famous Sandbanks Beach and if the infamous British weather decides to dampen your outdoor fun there’s a multitude of museums, attractions and indoor leisure facilities. There’s always an impressive calendar of family friendly events throughout the summer months to keep everyone entertained. Take a look at our recommendations below for the best things to see and do, and give summer a big send off.
Most local buses ran by Morebus – based at the town's bus station and served Poole since 1983
Splashdown is an all action water park with some of the UK's best water flumes. There are a total of 13 fantastic rides to choose from, from Buccaneer Splash for the little ones, to Velocity for the more adventurous. Some of the rides are seasonal but all are open during the summer months.
Find out how our crews and lifeguards are trained with a behind the scenes 90 minute tour of the RNLI College. Conducted by a dedicated volunteer tour guides, tours cost just £7.50 per person or are free to RNLI College Hotel residents. During your tour, you'll get the chance to explore the RNLI College and its training facilities, including their world-class Sea Survival centre, which hosts the wave tank and Lifeboat simulator. Tours take place daily Monday to Saturday.
It’s easy to see why it’s been the winner of the prestigious Blue Flag award for a consecutive 31 years. With its soft, golden sands and breath taking views, it's no wonder that Sandbanks is considered one of the best beaches in Britain. You'll find crazy golf, children's play areas, a slackline, barbecue areas and a café along this stretch. You can even hire a beach hut.
Located in the heart of Poole, Lighthouse welcomes thousands of visitors each year to experience a broad range of live events all year round. It's the largest regional arts centre in the UK and home to the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Lighthouse holds a symphonic concert hall, mid-scale theatre, small-scale studio theatre, independent cinema, art galleries and function rooms for you to enjoy.
Poole Quayside and the lower high street has an array of unique, independent gift shops and outlet shopping. Poole also has Dorset’s largest shopping centre - home to some much-loved high street favourites.
Eating in Poole gives you some excellent choices too. You can take your pick of Poole’s delicious hotspots: the town is awash with bustling restaurants, cafes and bars. Alternatively, if you just eating fancy fish and chips from their paper, some of the best fish and chips on the south coast can be found here.
With its own fishing fleet, Poole is renowned for its seafood and the 'catch of the day' is a highlight on many menus. In the heart of Sandbanks, with views across Poole Harbour, you’ll find Rick Stein’s restaurant which is the perfect place to sample some of the local produce.
Recommended by the Guardian Sunday Magazine and BBC Radio Five Live, Harlees is arguably one of the best places to go and feast on delicious fish and chips. Dine in with the added bonus of a bird's-eye view of the harbour or takeaway and choose your own view.
There are plenty of places to stay dotted all over town. Whether it’s a period hotel or a cosy family-run B&B you are sure to find the perfect place to stay in Poole.
If you’re looking for a seaside getaway where you can try new experiences and learn new things, Rockley Park Holiday Park is the place for you. With their very own sailing school and water sports centre, indoor and outdoor pools linked by a SplashZone, and a climbing wall to have a go on, you already know that there’s plenty of excitement just waiting for you. This fun-packed park is located on Poole Harbour, right next to a wonderful nature reserve.
Situated just off Poole Quay in the heart of the Old Town, Hotel du Vin & Bistro offers the perfect location for a weekend in Poole. This upmarket hotel hosts 38 individually designed rooms and suites, a trademark bistro serving classing French dishes with a British twist, a cosy bar area, intriguing Laroche wine tasting cellar, and outside courtyard terrace for alfresco dining.
Newly refurbished in March 2018, Cranborne House is situated at the end of a quiet leafy pedestrian cul de sac, and is a locally listed 'Old House' of Poole. Built in the mid to late 1800's, it boasts many original Victorian features such as a beautiful cast iron veranda. It's also in close walking distance to the train and bus stations, Poole Speedway Stadium, the Lighthouse Theatre, the local hospital, the Dolphin Shopping Centre and the Quay, and just a short drive to the ferry terminal.