Poole is a lively coastal town in a sheltered position, nestled between Bournemouth and the World Heritage Jurassic Coastline on the stunning South Coast of England - a naturally beautiful place to spend your holiday, at any time of year.
Known for being Europe’s largest natural harbour, with its crystal clear waters and some of Britain’s best sandy beaches, it’s a haven for sailors and wildlife, and the perfect place to try your hand at any water sport imaginable.
There are plenty of exceptional beachside cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars to choose from, making it a great place to relax with friends. Poole is also a fantastic shopping hub with high street stores, independent shops and boutiques and the Dolphin shopping centre all offering ample opportunities for retail therapy.
Poole’s vibrant bustling quayside is a great spot to soak up the atmosphere of this historic maritime port, with its pirate heritage. Wander round the cobbled streets to take in the sights of the historic old town, visit the free entry Poole Museum to discover Poole’s story, and follow the traditional cockle trail.
For an adventurous day out, take the ferry across to Brownsea Island, home to red squirrels, kingfishers and oystercatchers. Nearby Studland Nature Reserve is another highlight for nature lovers, wildlife spotters and ramblers, whilst the dramatic dunes and heathlands are home to many species of wildlife and provide a beautiful scenic landscape.
From Poole you can easily access the magnificent Jurassic coast that reveals 185 million years of Earth’s history across a 95 mile span of coast between east Dorset and east Devon.
Set in a Victorian quayside warehouse, this interesting museum tells the story of Poole and its harbour from prehistory to the 21st century. Along with some fascinating exhibits, there’s a dedicated art and craft area for younger visitors, café serving delicious food and a programme of free family activities during school holidays
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Enjoy a range of cruises around Poole Harbour picking up from Poole Quay on board classic vintage motor yacht, The Dorset Queen. See all the sights of the harbour or try the number of special cruises which include a gin cruise, jazz cruise, and lots more.
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Poole's finest fruits de mer and fresh local fish restaurant with a warm and friendly atmosphere, just two minutes from the Quay. Serving classic French cuisine and signature seafood dishes featuring locally-landed fish, lobster and crab. Meat and Vegetarian dishes also available.
Guildhall Tavern, 15 Market St, Poole BH15 1NB (T: 01202 671717)
One of a small local chain of laid back Italian restaurants decorated in a cool modern style, and serving a wide range of freshly prepared, authentic Italian dishes. In prime location in the town centre the Alcatraz Poole Italian is open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Alcatraz Poole Italian 40-42 High Street, Poole (T: 01202 660244)
One of a small local chain of modern Italian restaurants specialising in wood fired Neopolitan pizzas . Add some fresh antipasti, salad or a mouth watering dessert to your order for a truly authentic Italian experience, all created with super fresh high quality ingredients. Some interesting Italian wines and aperitifs to choose from too. Kids menu available.
Baffi Pizza 12 High Street, Poole, BH15 1BP (T: 01202 681780)
Exceptional classical French dining, featuring delicious, locally sourced dishes served in this stylish bistro restaurant just off the historic Quayside along a narrow cobbled street in one of the most charming hotels in Poole.
Indulge in the nautical theme and dine under the stars in the courtyard with its sail-like awning, or retreat to the comfy sofas in the snug for an aperitif, cocktail, or nightcap. Enjoy wines expertly selected by the Sommelier to perfectly match your meal choices.
Hotel du Vin & Bistro Poole, Thames St, Poole BH15 1JN (T: 01305 819027)
Tuck into freshly caught, responsibly sourced, sustainable seafood whilst enjoying panoramic views over Poole Harbour across to Brownsea Island. Fish and chips to take away downstairs and a large upstairs restaurant serving seasonally caught fish and homemade dishes.
Hamworthy Beach is a family-friendly sand and shingle beach with a promenade, fringed with pretty beach huts and offering stunning views of Arne Nature Reserve, Brownsea Island and the Purbeck Hills in the distance.
The beach is popular among locals, boasting a jetty offering an excellent spot for fishing, large green gardens behind, a children's play area and a large seasonal paddling pool. There are also several opportunities to partake in watersports, including windsurfing, sailing and kitesurfing.
Dogs are welcome on the beach all year round, but not in the play parks or paddling pool.
Facilities include parking, toilets and cafe as well as nearby shops and public transport connections.
Shore Road is a golden sandy beach with a promenade that stretches for miles along the beautiful Sandbanks peninsula - perfect for a seaside stroll or cycle (except during peak times in July & August from 10am to 6pm when cycles are not permitted).
Famed for its Mediterranean-style cafes and outstanding views across the harbour to the Purbeck hills and Brownsea Island, this beach is very family-friendly thanks to its gentle slope into clean waters and seasonal lifeguard cover.
Dogs are not allowed on the main beach from 1st May - 30th September, however they are permitted on the promenade on a lead all year round.
This Blue Flag standard beach has several watersports hire shops and many other beach facilities, including plenty of parking, cafe/restaurant, beach shop, beach huts and deck chairs for hire, toilets and outdoor showers, and reusable water bottle drinking water refill points.
Set on a small peninsula, just a stone's throw from some of the most expensive and exclusive homes in the country, the world-renowned Sandbanks beach is one of the most beautiful and clean beaches on the South Coast of England.
This spacious, family-friendly beach is blessed with soft golden sand, crystal clear waters and breathtaking views of across the English Channel; and has earned the coveted Blue Flag status for 30 consecutive years.
Beach facilities include a crazy golf course, children's play area, barbecue area, toilets and a cafe.
There is a designated area for dogs at the western end of Sandbanks beach (near the chain ferry). Dog owners are requested to always keep dogs on a lead on the promenade.
(3)View all Reviews
Fantastic beach out of season, very dog friendly
Excellent. Clean and child safe
A nice property with good location to nearby beach and ferries. (Although ferry traffic gets busy on Panorama Road at times) Layout of property good on 3 levels. Only disappointment was level of cleanliness dirty floors and balcony furniture. Something easily remedied
Shell Bay beach is an unspoilt sandy beach, backed by dunes and heathland which gives it a beautifully wild feel. With spectacular views across the bay to nearby Bournemouth, it also provides a good vantage point for watching the ships passing in and out of Poole Harbour.
Except during the busiest summer months, the beach is usually a haven of tranquillity. Situated on the south side of the mouth of Poole Harbour, at the very tip of the National Trust owned Studland Peninsula, it's harder to reach but well worth the effort. Either drive along the full length of the peninsula from the Swanage end, and you'll find Shell Bay is the last of Studland's beautiful beaches. Alternatively, catch the ferry from Sandbanks which runs regularly and carries vehicles, foot passengers and cyclists across the entrance to the harbour to the opposite shore.
The beach is great for family-friendly bathing, fishing and a variety of watersports including sailing and windsurfing. It also has toilets and plenty of parking. There is a designated naturist area between Shell Bay and Knoll Beach.
Dogs are welcome all year round, during the winter months there are no restrictions but between 1 April and 30 September they are required to be on a short lead (max 2m).
Shell Bay Seafood Restaurant lies opposite the beach - an outstanding, Michelin-listed eatery with fine views out over Poole Harbour and Brownsea Island.
Branksome Beach is a wide, golden stretch of sand popular among locals and visitors alike, in part due to its Blue Flag status which highlights high standards of cleanliness on the beach and in the bathing waters.
The beach benefits from a promenade behind and many facilities including beach huts, shop, bar and restaurant. There is also good disabled access and a safe swim zone.
Watersports include swimming and windsurfing and there is lifeguard cover in the summer months.
Dogs are not allowed on the main beach from the 1st May - 30th September, however they are allowed on the promenade on a short lead.