Sandbanks is one of the most desirable holiday destinations in the UK. Perched on a beautiful peninsula on England’s south coast, just two and a half hours from London, its golden sandy beaches and laid-back vibe make it the ideal UK holiday escape.
Jutting out into the English Channel, Sandbanks enjoys spectacular sea views in almost every direction – across Poole Harbour, towards Brownsea Island and along the world famous Jurassic coastline.
Here you can spend your days pottering about on the beach, enjoying coastal hikes, catching the ferry to explore the unspoilt beaches at Studland or the enchanting Brownsea Island nature reserve, partaking in all manner of water sports, or simply finding a peaceful spot with a stunning seascape backdrop to sit and watch the world go by.
Due to its picturesque coastal location, Sandbanks has attracted significant property investment over the years and is now renowned for its expensive homes and high-end restaurants.
However, the main draw for most visitors are the award-winning blue flag beaches and sheltered bathing waters which are perfect for families looking for a stylish yet peaceful place to spend their holiday.
If you’re booking a holiday cottage in Sandbanks, here’s our pick of 10 things to do during your stay…
The golden stretch of Sandbanks Beach runs the length of the peninsula, offering safe areas for swimming, barbecues and a beautiful spot to watch the sun rise and fall. Shore Road Beach is also popular, with plenty of Mediterranean-style cafes to keep you fuelled and incredible views. For quieter, unspoilt beaches backed by dunes and heathland, head to Shell Bay and Studland. Nearby Bournemouth offers beaches with traditional seaside attractions, piers and arcades.
2. Take a Ferry Ride
The legendary Shell Bay chain ferry shuttles between the tip of Sandbanks and Studland across the bay, offering visitors the chance to day trip over to the Isle of Purbeck with its famous beaches, world heritage coastline and nature reserve.
The sheltered waters of Poole harbour offer ideal sailing conditions for beginners and experienced sailors alike. There are plenty of companies offering dinghy hire and sailing tuition. The Royal Motor Yacht Club also offers visitors berthing by arrangement.
4. Brownsea Island
The National Trust owned Brownsea Island is an idyllic spot. Resting in the middle of Poole Harbour, it’s well worth catching a ferry across to explore its cliffs and beaches, woodlands and heathlands. Spot an array of unique wildlife, including a thriving population of the rare red squirrel, wading birds and Sika deer.
5. Water Sports
The Water Sports Academy in Sandbanks offers one of the widest selections of water sports you will find under one roof. From sailing, to paddle boarding, kayaking, windsurfing, kite surfing, yacht charter, power boating, wakeboarding and water skiing –activities suit all ages, skills and experience and can be accompanied with a qualified instructor.
6. Mountain Biking
Sandbanks is a gateway to some of the best mountain bike trails on the south coast. Simply catch the chain ferry across the water and enjoy the challenging trails and stunning views from the Purbeck hills.
Located on the seafront at nearby Bournemouth, the Oceanarium aquarium makes for a visually vibrant and educational day out. Home to hundreds of mammals, fish, reptiles and invertebrates – from playful penguins to stunning sharks, curious green sea turtles and colourful clownfish – you’ll learn more about hundreds of incredible sea creatures here, as well as important displays on what we can all do to protect our beautiful oceans.
8. Fishing Trips
There’s a great choice of fishing charter companies operating in Poole Harbour. The best thing to do is have a stroll through Poole Quay and take your pick. Fishing is generally over reefs and banks up to 20 miles offshore depending on the weather conditions on the day. Mackerel, Bream, Conger, Skate, Cod and Dogfish are just a few of the species likely to be caught during the year.
9. Compton Acres
Just a stone’s throw from Sandbanks, Compton Acres is a must-visit for all garden lovers. Featuring ten acres of ornamental gardens with five different themes, including a subtropical area and a Southern Hemisphere collection, it’s a tranquil place to visit at any time of year. Also try the light and airy café and tea rooms serving an irresistible selection of hot and cold food.
10. Eating Out
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out in Sandbanks, especially when it comes to freshly caught, locally landed fish and seafood. From fine dining at Rick Stein to outstanding brunches at the cosy Caff Breakfast Kitchen, you’re sure to find your favourite spot to tuck in served with an incredible sea view.
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