Poole and its Harbour – “It’s a beautiful place…….”

Poole Harbour

Poole is reputedly the second largest natural harbour in the world – although I do sometimes wonder about that statistic. Whether or not this claim is entirely true doesn’t really matter as the harbour is so stunning that statistics are irrelevant.

The Harbour is a place of contrasts, Sandbanks is said to be the 4th most expensive place in the world to live and the glitzy restaurants and bars offer up a certain type of lifestyle whilst behind Brownsea Island and away from the built up parts of Poole it is easy to imagine Arthur Ransome penning Swallows and Amazons.


Poole Quay has a variety of temptations. Thankfully Poole has never succumbed to the gaudy amusement arcades (bar one small one) so the quay is a mixture of bars and restaurants and walking up and down the quay watching the boats go by is a predictably popular pastime.

Poole Tourism run a variety of events on the quay from May to September. Tuesday is bike night and if you are around is well worth a visit. Up to 2500 bikes can be present of all shapes and sizes and the atmosphere is great. Take the kids, have a BBQ, check out the bikes. Thursday is Party on the Quay (During august this becomes Party on the Beach in Sandbanks) with fireworks at 10pm whilst Friday is Dream Machines night with each week offering a different collection of vehicles

From Poole Quay walk away from Poole Lifting Bridge(s) and you will go past Baiter Slipway (the local public launch site) and onto Whitecliff which is great for kids, footballs, kites etc. Baiter Slipway on a busy day is well worth visiting to watch the whole range of launch techniques – it is not for the faint hearted!

Heading from Poole Quay towards and beyond the first Lifting Bridge takes you to the Twin Sails Bridge and the RNLI Training College. Both are well worth a visit.

Heading towards Sandbanks by road will take you through Lilliput and down the spectacular Evening Hill with panoramic views of the harbour. Along Shore Road on a windy day kitesurfers and windsurfers abound but once the tide goes out splashing around in puddles is the order of the day. The beaches on Sandbanks are special and run some six miles from Studland in the west to beyond Bournemouth in the east.


For views of the harbour in the Sandbanks area check out the patio at the Harbour Heights Hotel, along the beach is the Sandbanks Hotel and the Haven Hotel bar gives great views of the harbour (All these hotels are owned by FJB www.fjbhotels.co.uk). Just off Shore Road is Jazzys restaurant – a great Sunday morning haunt after a beach walk.

Within the harbour is plenty of space for all sizes and shapes of boats. The various Poole yacht clubs disgorge their sailing dinghies into the harbour for racing (usually Saturdays & Sundays) whilst the Sunseekers on Poole Quay undergo testing in the harbour during the week or stay moored at the factory waiting for us to gawp and gasp at weekends.  Poole Quay is also home to the various harbour and day tripper ferries. There are three or four companies operating and there is no better way to learn about the harbour

Poole Harbour is also home to the training wing of the Royal Marines boating operations. Their craft are usually to be seen on weekdays and can certainly wake up the dozing skipper who fails to notice them blasting past them at speed. The RNLI also have their home here in the harbour and you will see lots of training and test lifeboats out and about during the weeks.

From the ferry terminal throughout the year we see the lorry ferries operating whilst the summer brings back the passenger ferries.

In short there is never a shortage of things to do and see in Poole. with so many things to do in Poole if you come on a course with your family but they are not training they will have a fab time on the beaches, the quay, the shops and so on.

we look forward to welcoming you to Poole.

Want to learn more about Poole Harbour?

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This book is great and we have a copy ourselves. If you love Poole Harbour or just want to learn more about it this is well worth a read.