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Beautiful Poole

The best of Poole this summer

Neighbouring Bournemouth, Poole is a bustling coastal town, home to miles of award-winning beaches and a thriving watersports scene.

It is also a great base for exploring the rest of Dorset and its dramatic coastline.

The summer months are a hub of activity in Poole, with the famous Sandbanks beach and picturesque Poole Harbour, in particular, attracting visitors from near and far.

Stunning Poole Harbour

Kitesurfers enjoying the calm, shallow waters of Poole Harbour

Many people know Poole for its beautiful, natural harbour – the second largest in the world and the largest in Europe.

With over a dozen yacht clubs and marinas (not to mention the home of Sunseeker powerboats), the harbour is alive with all sorts of watersports, ranging from kitesurfing to waterskiing, wakeboarding to jet skiing, paddleboarding to windsurfing – the list goes on.

Or if you fancy something a little more relaxing, you can take a boat trip from the harbourside, enjoy the wonders of Brownsea Island or head further afield to areas such as Wareham, Swanage and the Jurassic Coast. You might even be lucky enough to spot dolphins and other marine mammals too.

The historic Quayside and Old Town

Poole Quay at sunset

Poole has an incredible history, dating back thousands of years. Wander around the cobbled streets of the Old Town and get a feel for the town in years gone by.

And if you are keen to learn a little bit more about Poole’s rich past, Poole Museum is well worth a visit as is Scaplen's Court, a charming medieval building dating back to the 1300s.

From the Old Town, head to Poole Quay, just a few minutes walk away, bustling with lots of bars, restaurants and pubs. In August, the Quay plays host to Rockley's Summer Spectacular with live music, entertainment and fireworks.

Sandbanks’ golden sands

Sandbanks has held the prestigious Blue Flag award for over 30 years

Home to some of the most expensive houses and land in the UK, Sandbanks is as well known for its famous residents as it is for its beautiful beach. 

It also plays host to a variety of events and festivals; this summer has already seen the likes of the Beach Volleyball Festival and British Beach Polo Championships taking place. The former has graced Sandbanks for over 20 years, producing and showcasing some of the UK’s top volleyball players. The British Beach Polo Championships is now the largest beach polo event in the world, having established itself at Sandbanks for over 10 years.

In addition to the sport, the annual music festival SandFest this year saw the likes of Chase and Status, Example and Jaguar Skills perform on the beach to a sell-out crowd. It’ll be back next year on 12 July so save the date!

Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts

Lighthouse, Poole The Lighthouse by night

Located in the heart of Poole town centre and just minutes from both the bus and train station, the Lighthouse is the largest regional arts centre in the UK outside of London.

From dance to comedy, music to visual arts, drama to film, there really is something for everyone to enjoy. The facilities at the Lighthouse are pretty impressive too, with a symphonic concert hall (home to the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra), theatres, a cinema and art galleries.

This summer sees an eclectic mix of performances taking place, ranging from Ian McKellen on Stage to Russell Howard and Friends and Shakespeare’s finest, including Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

More of the local area

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Some would say Bournemouth has it all - and it's not hard to see why. Hear from BU students on what they love about the town.