Neighbouring Bournemouth, Poole is a bustling coastal town, home to miles of award-winning sandy beaches (including Sandbanks, considered by many as one of the UK’s best beaches) and a thriving watersports scene.

As well as the abundance of outdoor space, there are plenty of indoor activities to enjoy too – such as museums, Tower Park leisure complex and The Dolphin shopping centre.

Plus it’s a great base for exploring the rest of Dorset and its dramatic coastline.

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 home to all sorts of watersports, ranging from kitesurfing to waterskiing, wakeboarding to jet skiing, paddleboarding to windsurfing – the list goes on.

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 and Swanage.

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 1400s.

From the Old Town, you can head to Poole Quay, just a few minutes’ walk away, bustling with lots of bars, restaurants and pubs. 

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. 

And when it comes to the beach, you won't be disappointed. Fine, golden sands offer the perfect spot to do as much or as little as you choose. 

Sandbanks is a great beach to visit year-round but it really comes to life in the summer, hosting sporting events and a boutique music festival.

Watch some of the UK's top volleyball players at the Sandbanks Beach Volleyball Festival and celeb-spot at Sandpolo – a firm fixture in Dorset's social calendar. Or, if music festivals are more your thing, SandFest is the ultimate boutique beach party, attracting the likes of Craig David, Faithless, Idris Elba and Tinie Tempah, to name just a few artists. 

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.

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