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Please note that any person or vehicle travelling for business or commercial venture, carrying commercial goods/samples will need to book via our freight teams and do not qualify for leisure fares. In addition, if the vehicle being taken is designed for the carriage of commercial goods it shall be reserved as freight regardless of its dimensions. For more information please call the Commercial team on 01481 728620 .

60 things to do in Poole

Poole is a buzzing seaside town in the east of Dorset, home of Europe’s largest natural harbour, award-winning beaches and beautiful cobbled streets.

 


Top 10 BEST Poole attractions

 



1. Poole Harbour

Poole is home to Europe’s largest natural harbour, it’s a site of conservation and one of the biggest attractions in Poole. The harbour was once one of the most important seaports for trading in Europe; it’s still a busy port where ferries depart to visit surrounding islands such as, Brownsea Island and those further afield including the Channel Islands and France.

Poole Harbour is a great spot for water sports, you’ll find visitors and locals enjoying windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, paddleboarding and wakeboarding.


2. Poole Quay

Poole Quay lies at the northern edge of Poole Harbour. Discover the exciting array of luxury sunseekers, ferries and shipping vessels that line the ocean just off the gorgeous quay. Explore the dainty old town and try some fish and chips with the fresh catch of the day.


3. Day trips by ferry to Guernsey

One of the best things to do from Poole is to hop on a ferry across to Guernsey! Explore the exciting town of St Peter Port with a day trip to Guernsey from Poole Harbour. Try some Guernsey fudge (made with real Guernsey cow’s milk!) and make the most of the onboard duty-free prices to stock up on the latest star buys.

 



4. Sandbanks Beach

Home to famous names and stunning homes, Sandbanks is one of the best places to visit in Poole. Considered as one of the best beaches in the UK, Sandbanks Beach is naturally beautiful and has held a blue flag for over 30 years. It’s perfect for families, with 2 lifeguard stations protecting the beach.


5. Upton Country Park

The country park is great for a family day out, the park is free admission and includes 160 acres of gardens & woodland, with play parks, woodland trails, tea rooms and Segway tours.


6. Monkey World

Get close to the primates in this extraordinary animal conservation centre. Learn about how some of the residents have been saved from neglect and given a better life with this fantastic organisation.


7. Farmer Palmer’s

Ever thought about being a farmer? Discover some of the cutest farm animals around. With regular animal activities throughout the day, you can feed, cuddle and find your farmer feet here.


8. Compton Acres

Compton Acres is one of the finest privately owned gardens in the South of England. Comprised of unique themed and ornamental gardens such as the grand Italian Garden, Compton Acres is a beautiful place to explore. For children, there’s an activity area, woodland valley and sculpture garden to discover.

 

9. Hamworthy Park and Beach

Hamworthy Park sits on Poole Harbour and is comprised of the park, with lots of open green space for games, kids play area, café, and a large paddling pool, which is ideal for children during warmer months. The park is just a short walk from Hamworthy Beach, which is dotted with vintage pastel beach huts and is the perfect spot to watch the sunset.


10. The Tank Museum

The Tank Museum is in Bovington Camp and is home to 300 military machines, which represent key battles of every major conflict since the First World War. The museum has 9 exhibitions which display various stories of the tank throughout important events of the last century.

 

Monkey World

Sandbanks Beach

blue sky and sea with saint peter port in background

St Peter Port

Things to do near Poole

 


11. Corfe Castle Model Village and Gardens

Corfe Castle is around 14 miles from Poole. Visit to see how this beautiful castle would have looked before it was destructed by Cromwell’s troops in 1964. Surrounded by beautiful gardens with a fossil corner and a croquet lawn, there are lots of things to do here for all ages.


12. Swanage Railway

Hop on board a slice of history on this steam train and cruise along the beautiful Dorset countryside. Look out for special events with Peppa Pig, Father Christmas, or simply treat yourself to a rustic evening meal on board, complete with champagne, to add an extra touch of sparkle.


13. The New Forest National Park

The New Forest National Park is just over a half an hour derive from Poole. It is a haven of wildlife with around 5000 ponies roaming wild around amongst the gorgeous woodland and country paths. Whether you choose to settle in a country pub, or explore the depths of the forest, the Forest has something for all ages


14. Beaulieu

Beaulieu is in the New Forest national park and home to the world-famous National Motor Museum. Discover over 285 vehicles, from F1 cars to land speed record-breaking vehicles for an exciting day for the whole family. Beaulieu is also home to Palace House once the gatehouse of the medieval Beaulieu Abbey; costumed guides give you a tour of what you can expect from a Victorian country house.

 

15. Marwell Zoo

Explore Marwell Zoo and get a chance to see 100’s of the different animals you can find around the world. With daily animal talks, a 140-acre park and numerous adventure playgrounds, Marwell Zoo is not to be missed.


16. Peppa Pig World at Paultons Park

Paultons Park is around 50 minutes from Poole and the UK’s number 1 family theme park. It has over 70 rides and attractions for the whole family. It’s home to Peppa Pigs very own theme park, with 9 fun rides perfect for toddlers and younger children.


17. Lyme Regis

A beautiful seaside town with gloriously colourful buildings lining the harbour, Lyme Regis is not to be missed. Fossil hunting, fishing, or simply ambling along the cobbled streets, the choice is yours.


18. Dorchester Dinosaur Museum

Transport yourself back to the prehistoric world of dinosaurs with Dorchester’s converted Victorian Schoolhouse. Prepare to be amazed by life-size sculptures and hands-on interactive activities to find out more about our exciting prehistoric history.

 

19. White Pepper Cookery School

Get hands-on and discover your inner chef with White Pepper Cookery School. Whether you’re a kitchen newbie or a cooking connoisseur, you can improve your skills here in this stunning Dorset location.


20. Bombay Sapphire Distillery

Discover for yourself the care, attention and skill that lies behind every single drop of Bombay Sapphire. Located in the picturesque Laverstock Mill, explore the flavours of botanicals that create the well-known gin’s unique flavour.

 

21. Crabbing in Mudeford

Grab a bucket and a crabbing line, pair it up with some bait and discover the little world of crabs that crawl close to the water’s edge. Are you brave enough to hold one? Make sure you let them crawl back into the sea when you have finished!

new forest pony eating green grass

New Forest

Mudeford

Dorchester Dinosaur Museum

Quirky things to do in Poole

 


22. Poole Speedway


The Poole stadium has been home to the Poole Pirates motorcycle speedway team since it was founded in 1948. Check out the fixtures to see what’s on and watch the team at one of their speedway events when you visit Poole.


23. English Oak Vineyard


Nestled in the Dorset countryside in Lytchett Matravers is the English Oak Vineyard. The boutique vineyard offers 23,000 vines which produce award winning English Sparkling Wine. There are tours hosted by the owners throughout the summer and it’s well worth a visit for a unique experience in the UK.


24. Walk to Old Harry Rocks


Enjoy a scenic 3.5-mile walk from Studland over to Old Harry Rocks. Take in breathtaking views of the Jurassic Coast on this moderate walk. The walk takes between 1-2 hours and is dog-friendly, however due to cliff edges they should be kept on a lead.


25. Outdoor Cinema at Upton Country Park


During the summer months the Adventure Cinema brings out an outdoor cinema experience to Upton Country Park like no other. Bring your own picnics, grab some blankets, and settle down in the Walled Gardens to watch one of the screenings on this summer including Maverick, Elvis, Mamma Mia or The Greatest Showman. Please check adventure cinema to book tickets.


26. Ghost hunting at Knowlton Church


For those who don’t scare easily, Knowlton Church is a ruined stone church built on a Pagan site near Wimbourne and it’s one of Dorset’s most haunted spots. Numerous sightings of ghosts have been reported including a cloaked figure, a weeping nun, and a phantom horse and rider. If you’d like a fright visit when it’s dark; if you scare too easily, the area is pretty to visit during the day for a relaxing walk.


27. Visit the Blue Pool


Located near Wareham, the colour changing ‘Blue’ Pool is a beautiful spot to visit. Take a walk through the quaint woodland and discover the colour changing waters of the pool, where the water changes from blue, to turquoise, to green. The pool is comprised of fine clay suspended in water, which diffracts the light causing the colour change. A peaceful spot, well worth a visit.

 

Old Harry Rocks

English Oak Vineyard

Poole Speedway


Things to do in Poole when it's raining 


28. Cinema

Choose from the Cineworld at Tower Park or the BH2 Odeon in Bournemouth and prepare for a magical movie experience to hide from the rain.


29. Oceanarium

Explore the depths of the ocean with the waterside Oceanarium by Bournemouth Pier. Daily feeding talks mean you can find out all there is to know about otters, sharks, penguins and a whole host of other creatures in the underwater world.


30. Bowling

Available in Tower Park or along Poole Road, get competitive and see how many strikes you can score! You can even try your luck in the onsite arcades or treat yourself to a creamy milkshake at the café.


31. Dolphin Shopping Centre

This shopping centre is home to an array of your favourite high street brands, as well as some unique specialist stores and retailers. Find out more about the centre’s sustainability efforts at the eco-hub, an eco-friendly hub to relax, enjoy and learn.


32. Arts University Bournemouth Gallery


Get an exciting first glimpse at the latest talent in arts, crafts and textile design. The gallery showcases artists from around the world including works from major galleries and museums. A hidden gem that is not to be missed.


33. Westover Gallery

Established in 1995, the Westover Gallery is one of the South West’s leading independent galleries, featuring artists from local, national and international regions. Prepare to be inspired.


34. Poole Museum and Scaplen’s Court

You will be spoilt over the gorgeous architecture here as Poole Museum is based in a Victorian quayside warehouse and Scaplen’s Court is a grade 1 listed medieval building, dating back to the 1300’s. Find out about Poole’s maritime tales and fun historical facts.


35. Russel-Cotes Museum

Once a dream clifftop house gifted by Merton Russel-Cotes to his wife in 1901, and now an enchanting museum and gallery, discover the delights of this building for yourself with its amazing interior décor, artefacts and exquisite garden.


36. Mr Mulligan’s Indoor Crazy Golf

Three exciting courses to putt your way through, each with a different theme. Choose between comic book style, an apocalyptic crash scene or an unearthly light experience or, if you can’t decide, try them all!

 

 

 

Oceanarium

Bowling

Russel-Cotes Museum

Things to do in Poole for families


37. Adventure Wonderland

Dorset’s award-winning family theme park has a host of rides and attractions to make for a fantastic day out for all the family.


38. Splash Down

Get wet and wild at this all-weather waterpark. Whether you are you brave enough to slide down the vertical drop or more tempted toward drifting downstream gently on a rubber ring, there is something to please everyone.


39. Brownsea Island

Its own haven just off Poole Quay, Brownsea Island is a must-see for all of Poole’s visitors. Red squirrels, beautiful woodland and stunning views, Brownsea Island provides a perfect place for a picnic and peace.


40. Poole Trail

A fun, interactive way to learn about Poole’s history. Follow the trail on your smartphone or tablet and you can find multimedia insights into specific sites and objects around the town and museum.


41. Crazy Golf

Leading up to the tip of Boscombe Pier, Boscombe’s crazy golf is a fun and eco-friendly way to get competitive. With biodegradable golf balls filled with fish food, the balls are unleashed into the sea at the final hole to feed the fish below!


42. Moors Valley

Beautiful woodland and play parks make Moors Valley a great day out for all the family. Whether you chose to ‘go ape’, or follow the play trail, you will be sure to have a fantastic day out.


43. Lemur Landings Soft Play

As one of the largest indoor entertainment arenas in Dorset, Lemur Landings has it all, including a playframe, climbing walls, bridges, multi-slides, and even a ball cannon blaster! Your little ones won’t run out of things to do.


44. Harbour and Islands Cruise

Take in fantastic views as you cruise around the Sandbanks peninsula, Brownsea Island and Studland Bay. With live commentary, your cruise will give you the local facts and history to make your journey informative, as well as picturesque.

Moors Valley

Crazy Golf

Brownsea Island


Free things to do in Poole



45. Poole Park

Poole park is fully equipped with playparks, ponds, fitness trails and ducks, don’t miss out on the chance to get outside and play at this lovely park, only a stone’s throw away from the town centre. Refuel at one of the various cafes that are dotted around the gardens.


46. Bournemouth Pier 

Sit and admire the view with a cocktail at the Aruba bar or try your chances in the arcade. Feeling more adventurous? Try the zipwire and swing your way onto the shore before relaxing on the award-winning beach.


47. Poole Old Lifeboat Museum and shop 

Proudly showcasing a historic Poole lifeboat, the Old Lifeboat Museum and shop sits on the edge of Poole Quay and offers visitors a chance to discover more about the maritime history. All proceeds from the shop go towards the RNLI charity.


48. Bournemouth Aviary 

The Bournemouth Aviary has existed along the Pine Walk in the lower gardens for the past 50 years and is entirely run by volunteers. Open all year round, the aviary is a home for exotic birds that either been rescued or born there. Discover their amazing colours and birdcalls.


49. Fossil Hunting in Kimmeridge Bay 

Unleash your inner Indiana Jones and see what fossils you can find among the gorgeous Kimmeridge coast. With rock formations dating over 100 million years ago, you will explore a slice of history in this picturesque bay.


50. Hengistbury Head 

Whether you chose to walk, cycle or bob along on the land train, Hengistbury Head is a gorgeous place to take the whole family. Refuel at the café before climbing up Warren Hill to admire the spectacular views over the sea.

 

Hengistbury Head

Bournemouth Pier

Fossil hunting


Outdoor activities in Poole 



51. Cycling

Discover the beautiful Dorset coast on two wheels. Whether you choose to cruise down the beach promenade, or explore the country clifftops, Poole and Dorset have a range of cycle hire spots and paths to set you on your way.


52. Walking 

All you need are a good pair of shoes and you are ready to go! Discover the hidden gems of Poole in the windy back roads so you can beat the crowds and find your own little slice of heaven. With numerous parks, cafés and historic sites, no route is the same.


53. Kayaking 

For those wanting to get wet and wild, there are numerous places to get your fix. Whether it’s paddling on the sea or floating down a New Forest river, you’ll be sure to find a kayak waiting for you.


54. Climbing

The Project Climbing Centre is located at the top of the Dolphin Shopping Centre and is the best place to find your feet when it comes to bouldering or scaling up the tremendous climbing walls. How high can you climb?


55. Windsurfing 

Feel the wind in your hair with the option to try out windsurfing on the popular Sandbanks quay. Whether you are a newbie or an expert, you can get on the water and find your flow.

 

Walking

Windsurfing

Paddleboarding


56. Sailing 

A seasoned sailor or a slightly nervous starter, there are a range of places where you can choose your course. There is no better place to cruise the fresh, sea air than on the lovely Dorset coastline.


57. Paddleboarding 

Are you balanced enough to stand up and explore Dorset’s coastline with the waves beneath your feet? Or maybe just lie down and soak in the glorious sea air? With multiple places to hire boards or get lessons, the choice is yours.


58. New Forest Water Park 

Whether you want to brave the floating obstacle course or wish to have a go wake-boarding on the rocky waves, there’s an activity for everyone here – don’t forget a warm change of clothes!


59. Studland Trekking Centre 

Pull on your jodhpurs and fasten up your riding helmet to see the glorious countryside or coastline on horseback. With different rides suited to different levels, even if you haven’t ridden before, you can make the most out of this fantastic experience.


60. Durdle Door

Don’t forget to visit this world heritage site on Dorset’s coastline, fully finished with a glorious natural limestone arch. Expect amazing views of Durdle Door Beach, Lulworth Cove and Old Harry Rocks.

 

Take photos and tag Condor Ferries to tell us about the excitements you got up to. Discovered something that isn’t on our list? Contact us and let us know so we can share your knowledge with the rest of our explorers.

Now you’ve seen the excitement on offer, click here to book your journey to Poole and explore it all for yourself!

Don’t forget to check out our fabulous duty-free offers onboard our ships to make the perfect present, or simply just to treat yourself.