Brownsea Island, owned by the National Trust and home to the red squirrel (perhaps occasionally Bill Oddy!) is one of five lovely islands in Poole Harbour and the sandy beach at Sandbanks is a regular award winner. Harbour cruises will take you along the Dorset coast and even to the Isle of Wight, or you may hire your own self-drive motor boat.
Poole Quay is a hive of activity with fishing boats, yachts, powerboats and pleasure cruisers. The Quayside has plenty of waterside attractions...
Come throw a pot! There are famous factory pottery shops, little gift shops, a plethora of pubs, cafes and restaurants, and the Waterfront Museum expertly traces an historic past you will enjoy exploring.
Poole has a prosperous town centre with big name shops, a quaint old town cobbled streets and most conveniently the bus station is right in the Dolphin Shopping Centre - the biggest undercover shopping centre in Dorset.
The railway station is close by too and there is excitement every time the barriers come down across the long pedestrianised High Street as people rush to watch the trains - the view from the footbridge is especially good.
Reputedly the "finest gardens in Europe" the splendid world famous Italian and Japanese gardens at Compton Acres are an important and tranquil stop for many visitors with marvellous views overlooking Poole Harbour and even a deer sanctuary.
Poole Park offers peace and beauty, and frequently wins national awards for its gardens. There are rides on the miniature railway, a cafe and both indoor & outdoor children's playgrounds.
Poole is a major sailing centre with superb facilities and a wide range of watersports activities including a huge windsurf following. The new Town Quay Boat Haven accommodates up to 100 berths.
Tower Park is a big leisure complex with a 10 screen cinema, indoor & outdoor water rides at the Water Park, 30 computerised ten pin lanes at the Megabowl, bingo, amusements, fun galore and a huge variety of eating places.
Open top buses will ferry you from Poole via Alum Chine to Bournemouth and beyond to Christchurch.
Pleasure boat trips from the Pier, around Poole Bay, the Dorset Lakes, Brownsea Island, and Westward along the sunshine coast past dramatic cliff scenery and visits to traditional seaside towns Swanage and Swanage .
Paddle, swim in the sea, or just laze away the hours on the sands. Poole has it all!
Throughout the summer there may be awe inspiring fireworks displays. The area offers excellent golf courses, tennis courts, and Bournemouth "next door" is an all year round centre of activity and excitement.
Anthony Caro's Sea Music sculpture provides fabulous views across Poole Quay, its shops and attractions, towards Dolphin Quays and beyond to the Sandbanks peninsula and around the Harbour with beautiful Purbeck scenery as the backdrop.
Not far from Poole: Branksome