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Poole Quay

Poole Quay

Poole’s historic Quay is a working quay, filled with plenty of daily hustle and bustle. Rich in history, there’s many a maritime tale it has to tell including that of the town’s favourite pirate son, Harry Paye; whose name, according to some, lives on in the local rock formation, Old Harry Rocks.

This infamous pirate was a privateer and smuggler from Poole in the late 14th and early 15th century. Every year, Pirates of Poole celebrate his life with a day of family-friendly, pirate-themed entertainment and fun on the Quay, to help raise funds for local charities. This year is the 600th anniversary and will be h‘aarrr’tily celebrated on 15 June.

For more insight into the town and Quay’s past, take a trip to Poole Museum (free entry), where you will also find the Poole Tourist Information Centre and its dedicated team on hand to help you. Set in a Victorian quayside warehouse in the Old Town area (just along the Quay at the bottom of the High Street), the galleries of the Museum are filled with collections guiding you along from prehistory to the 21st century. Throughout August you can also visit Scaplen’s Court, a Grade I-listed medieval building dating back to the 1300s. Or for more sea-themed stories, take a short walk along to West Quay Road to visit the RNLI College Headquarters (open all year) and enjoy a 90-minute behind-the-scenes tour. Part of Poole’s history has been created with clay and at Studio Poole you’ll find the world’s largest retail selection of Poole Pottery. Fancy giving it a go, yourself? Here you can get hands-on and create your very own masterpiece.

A great way to explore the Old Town is by doing the self-guided ‘Cockle Trail’, available from the TIC. Or use your mobile to follow the interesting and interactive Poole Trail (pooletrail.com) that features films and photos of the town’s past — look for the colourful ‘More to Explore’ signposts. Other guided and ghost tours are available.

Get your buckets and nets at the ready, as crabbing is a must when you visit; younger adventurers will love taking part in their own quayside quest of hauling in their own catch of the day. Or stick on your sea legs and set sail on a fishing trip or leisure cruise from the Quay. Voyage out on a Harbour cruise or stop off on Brownsea, the National Trust’s island of adventure. Home of the scouting movement, the first camp was held by Lord Baden Powell in 1907, and today you can enjoy den building, squirrel spotting, mini-beast hunting and more. Boat trips run daily across to the Island.

Poole and its surrounding areas are incredibly rich with nature; discover the local birdlife at the Birds of Poole Harbour HQ, located on Poole Quay. The team there are dedicated to educating people on the stunning variety of birds that call this picturesque location their home.  

And charmingly scenic the Quay is. Make the most of the views from one of the coffee shops, cafes, or restaurants as you enjoy tasty refreshments or tuck in to some local produce. You’ll always find delicious, fresh seafood on the menu.

Getting to Poole Quay is easy, with either a 15-minute walk down the High Street from the bus station, or on the ‘RouteONE’ bus service. Leaving every 15 minutes, jump on and off the circular route at your leisure — maybe stop at the Dolphin Centre for a spot of shopping before continuing your trip to Poole’s Quayside. (No Sunday service.)

For more information visit: www.pooletourism.com or sign up for regular updates at: www.pooletourism.com/newsdirect

Photo (top): Chris Jones

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