Arriving in Poole?
1. Explore Poole Harbour
Europe’s largest natural harbour is a great place to be among nature. See red squirrels on Brownsea Island, owned by the National Trust, take a harbour cruise to spot seals or learn more about medieval Poole on the Quay.
2. Bask on Bournemouth’s award-winning beaches
With seven miles of glorious sand, Bournemouth is a must-visit for families and anyone who loves the outdoor life. Get active on the water by surfing, paddle-boarding or jet-skiing or just hire a beach hut, build a sand castle and chill out.
3. Wander around Corfe Castle
This ruined castle on the Isle of Purbeck is less than half an hour’s drive from Poole. Built by William the Conqueror, it was one of the last Royalist strongholds in the English Civil War – a must for history fans. Don’t miss the pretty village that shares its name.
4. Get active on the Isle of Portland
This limestone ‘island’, connected to the mainland by Chesil Beach, is a unique destination in Dorset. Try out kayaking, climbing, abseiling or walking, enjoy the amazing views and fresh sea air, spot the lighthouse or just relax in a characterful local pub.
5. Say hello to the locals at Monkey World
Meet dozens of cute chimps in their 65-acre sanctuary and find out more about how Monkey World rescues apes that have been neglected or smuggled from the wild. Why not adopt a primate and support the centre’s work yourself?
Arriving in Portsmouth?
6. Go back in time at the Historic Dockyard
Portsmouth, the home of the Royal Navy, gives you the chance to visit the historic warships HMS Victory and HMS Warrior, together with a host of museums and the exciting Action Stations attraction. Henry VIII’s flagship Mary Rose is also on the site.
7. Serious shopping in Gunwharf Quays or Southsea
Just minutes from the Portsmouth International Port, you can choose from more than 90 famous brands at Gunwharf Quays - a popular designer outlet. By contrast, stylish Southsea offers independent traders, quirky shops and amazing restaurants.
8. Savour Jane Austen Country
The picturesque village of Chawton houses the novelist’s country cottage where she wrote Pride and Prejudice. Walk in Jane’s footsteps amid the rolling hills of north Hampshire, then relax in tea shops and country pubs.
9. Try wine tasting on the South Downs
English winemakers are going from strength to strength producing high-quality sparkling and white wines. Many welcome visitors, especially in summer. Check out Hambledon Vineyard, Hattingley Valley, Three Choirs or Tinwood and find out for yourself.
10. Enjoy scenic West Sussex
Ten minutes’ drive from Portsmouth and you could be driving along country lanes, visiting historic houses, watching top-flight horse racing and classic car events at Goodwood or wandering around the narrow streets of Chichester.