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Things to do inPoole

Visitor information for Poole in Dorset

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From basking on the UK’s best beach – Sandbanks – to learning a new water sport or discovering miles of walks and cycleways, Poole is packed with ways to broaden your horizons and make the most of precious time out.

Adventurers of all ages can explore Poole’s stunning natural harbour, the largest in Europe, all year round. With its eight unique islands and striking peninsula, the harbour is a haven for sailors, wildlife and water sport enthusiasts and is the gateway to the world heritage Jurassic Coast.  

Start your adventure with the cliff-top woodland walkways, pirate play areas or by climbing giant woodland insects along Poole’s three miles of award-winning golden sands. Family-friendly Blue Flag beaches offer the perfect place for seashore detectives to play, explore and sharpen their sandcastle skills; whilst for the more adventurous, Poole Harbour’s safe and shallow waters are ideal for trying one of over 25 water-based activities.  

Buzzing with wildlife, the superb range of habitats and rare heathland around Poole Harbour make it one of the best places in the UK to spot birds, particularly in winter and during migration. Nurture your nature detectives and discover some of the UK’s rarest birds and reptiles by taking one of the many RSPB guided trips and walks designed for novices and experts and learn more about this world-class habitat.  

Poole Park has something for everyone, with play areas, a cricket pitch, tennis courts, tree climbing, pitch and putt, go-karts, water sport taster sessions with Rockley Park or the famous Poole Park Railway with its half-mile trip around the wildfowl lake. For the perfect family pit stop, visit The Ark in Poole Park for fantastic soft play, ice rink, café and ice cream.

For retail therapy, shop in comfort at Dorset's largest covered shopping centre, The Dolphin Centre, with shops ranging from top high street favourites M&S, Primark and Next to bespoke stores such as Beales and Animal as well as 1,400 parking spaces. 

More shopping is available on Poole High Street, which winds its way down to the bustling quayside. Weekly markets take place every Thursday and Saturday on Poole High Street. 

Poole is also home to the South’s finest privately owned gardens, Compton Acres, where distinctive Japanese, Italian and heather gardens transport you across the world. Relax in the restaurant or pick up treats and gifts in the deli and shop.

Tower Park Entertainment Centre is one of the original centres of its kind, and is a great destination for a huge range of activities and choice of dining venues. Situated just on the outskirts of Poole, on the A3049 and close to Bournemouth, the Park is a lively venue attracting both families and those in search of evening entertainment. Splashdown - Experience the newest ride Velocity, spin in the awesome Spacebowl, experience the scary Screamer and come face to face with the Dragon - if you dare to enter the lair! Younger ones can enjoy the water too in the under 8’s children’s wet play area. Lemur Landings is one of the largest indoor soft play centres in Dorset, with multi-level play frames, multi-slide bridges, tunnels, ball cannons and much more. Bowlplex offers 24, fully computerised tenpin bowling lanes and also features 4 full-size pool tables, a variety of fast food and video game entertainment amusements. The Empire Cinema offers wide, comfortable seats, 3D, full air conditioning, Dolby stereo surround sound and a selection of food to complete the cinema experience. 

Upton Country Park is an early 19th Century merchant’s residence. The newly expanded grounds include more areas and trails to explore as well as the beautiful grounds and formal gardens. The woodland and parkland areas feature a rustic play trail with plenty of opportunities to see rare bird species on the SSSI protected wetland habitat.

From Poole Harbour Boat Show to Poole Regatta, Poole is packed with events on and off the water to keep you entertained. Music lovers are spoilt for choice with three festivals featuring world-class performers from the worlds of folk, classical and blues, plus rampaging pirates, classic cars, and vintage and arts events for all the family.

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You can also explore all of the Poole venues on our Poole Map.

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Latest Poole Features

26 Mar 2018
Resort Dorset Magazine 2018 The popular Resort Dorset magazine for 2018 is out today. Our free title offers visitors the chance to discover all the best things to see and do across the county. Resort is packed with great attractions, activities, food and drink, shopping, events and more ideas for great days out. You'll also find lots of money-saving vouchers! Keep an eye out for the bright yellow dispensers and pick up your copy soon - they'll be found in many hotels, holiday parks, shops, ... Read more...
27 Feb 2018
10 of the Best Dorset Places of Interest Dorset is blessed with more beauty spots and landmarks per square mile than anywhere else (ok we just made that up, but it's got a lot). With its stunning countryside, breathtaking coastal views, historic monuments and spectacular natural features, you don’t have to look far to see why visitors just can’t get enough of what Dorset has to offer. One of the great advantages is just how accessible everything is – many sights are close together and you could ... Read more...
27 Feb 2018
Brownsea Island Brownsea Island is the largest of the islands in Poole harbour. It has been owned by The National Trust since 1962 and is open to visitors from March until October. Brownsea Island by Ian Woolcock / shutterstock.com A visit to Brownsea Island begins for most visitors with an exciting ferryboat trip across Poole Harbour from Poole, Sandbanks, Bournemouth or Swanage. The island is dramatically located at the entrance to the harbour and has spectacular cliff top views of the ... Read more...

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