"Poole" Poole by bwk_michael

Poole Travel Guide: 68 reviews and 228 photos

About Poole

Poole is a large coastal town and seaport in Dorset on the south coast of England. The town is 20 miles (32 km) east of Dorchester, and Bournemouth adjoins Poole to the east. The Borough of Poole was made a unitary authority in 1997, gaining administrative independence from Dorset County Council. The town had a population of 138,288 according to the 2001 census, making it the second largest settlement in Dorset.

Human settlement in the area dates back to before the Iron Age. The earliest recorded use of the town?s name was in the 13th century when the town became an important port, prospering with the introduction of the wool trade. In later centuries the town had important trade links with North America and at its peak in the 18th century it was one of the busiest ports in Britain. During the Second World War the town was one of the departing points for the D-Day landings of the Normandy Invasion.

Today, the town is a popular tourist resort, attracting visitors with its large natural harbour well known for sailing and yachting, museums, the Poole Arts Centre and award-winning beaches. The headquarters of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), luxury yacht manufacturer Sunseeker, and Merlin Entertainments are located in Poole, and the Royal Marines have a base in the town's harbour. Poole is home to Bournemouth University, The Arts Institute at Bournemouth and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

The Sandbanks

Sandbanks is a small piece of land on the edge of England jutting out over the mouth of Poole Harbour on the English Channel coast at Poole in Dorset, England. It contains one of the most highly awarded and popular beaches in Europe.

Sandbanks, whose main road is known as "millionaires' row", is only 1 km2 (0.39 sq mi), and has the fourth highest land value, by area, in the world.

There are exclusive homes both on Sandbanks and across the immediate region, stretching east from the Harbour to The Avenue (the eastern boundary of Poole). The adjacent areas of Lilliput, Branksome Park and Canford Cliffs, also have the largest collection of expensive properties outside London and are home to many celebrities. In 2005 a modest bungalow on the peninsula sold for three million pounds, despite its state of disrepair. In 2007 the same bungalow went on sale in the same condition for four million pounds. This also attracted the media's attention.

The Sandbanks and Canford Cliffs Coastline area has been dubbed as "Britain's Palm Beach" the by national media.

Aside from 3 mi (4.83 km) of beach, Sandbanks is also host to three hotels including the four star, historically important Haven Hotel, constructed some 100 years ago on the site of a previous hotel, which was both the home and centre of wireless experiments by Marconi in the late 1890s, being the third place in the world to boast a permanent wireless station.

Sandbanks is connected to Studland by a chain ferry, the Sandbanks Ferry, which runs across the mouth of the Harbour. The Sandbanks area of Poole Harbour (know as North Haven Lake) is widely used for water sports and by light marina craft. The North side also boasts several sailing, water sport and yacht clubs and is home to the Southern Headquarters of the Royal Yachting Association and an international sailing school.

Views from the North extend across Poole Harbour and to Poole. From the South views extend across the English Channel and to the world heritage coastline of Studland and Swanage to the West.

David Croft was born in Sandbanks. Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp has a house at Sandbanks.


Poole Quay was once the busy centre of Poole's maritime industry but today operates as a popular visitor attraction. It is lined with a mixture of traditional public houses, redeveloped warehouses, modern apartment blocks and historic buildings. The Grade II* listed Custom House was built in 1814 in the same style as one which had stood there since in 1747 until destroyed by fire, and now functions as a restaurant and bar. Nearby is the Grade I listed Town Cellars, a medieval warehouse built in the 15th century on the foundations of an older stone building dating from the 14th century and now home to the local history centre.Scalpen's Court, another Grade I listed building on the quay, also dates from the medieval era.
Attractions include the numerous restaurants, cafés, bars, public houses, views across the harbour and regular events and festivals held throughout the year. The Poole Pottery production factory once stood on the quay and attracted over 1 million visitors a year. The factory was vacated in 2001 and the site redeveloped into a new luxury apartment block and marina. A Poole Pottery outlet store remains but since the factory moved from the Quay, the business has struggled financially.Boats regularly depart from the quay during the summer providing short cruises around the harbour and to Brownsea Island, the River Frome and along the Dorset coast to Swanage. Public artworks along the Quay include ?Sea Music?, a large metal sculpture designed by Sir Anthony Caro, and life-size bronze sculpture of Robert Baden-Powell to celebrate the founding of the Scout Movement in Poole in 1908. At the western end of the quay near the mouth of Holes Bay is Poole Bridge. Built in 1927, it is the third bridge to be located on the site since 1834 and connects the industrial Hamworthy area and port to the town centre.

The Guildhall, built in 1761, it now functions as a Register OfficeA Grade II* listed building, the Guildhall was built in 1761, partly at the expense of the Members of Parliament of Poole.The new building included an open market house on the ground floor, offices for the Poole Corporation and a debating chamber and courtroom on the first floor. The building was also used for the Poole Court of Record, Quarter Sessions and the Magistrates' Court and until 1835 it was used for the Poole Court of Admiralty. Between 1819 and 1821 the building was consecrated as a Parish Church while the old St. James Church was pulled down and replaced with the present church.
During the Second World War the building was used as a canteen and meeting room for American soldiers prior to the invasion of France. The showers and washing facilities installed at this time were later converted into public baths which were used until the 1960s.

Poole has several public parks, the largest is Poole Park which lies adjacent to Poole Harbour and opened in 1890. The park is one of two Victorian parks in Poole and was designated a Conservation Area in 1995. The park comprises 109.5 acres of which 60 acres include the park's man-made saline lake. Facilities include two children's play areas, tennis courts, a bowling green and miniature golf. A cricket field and pavilion inside the park are home to Poole Town Cricket Club and water sport activities such as sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and rowing take place on the lake. A war memorial stands in the centre of the park as a monument to Poole citizens killed during the First and Second World Wars. In 2006 the park was redeveloped at a cost of £2 million; a new Italian restaurant and indoor ice rink were built and the lake was cleaned and dredged. Poole Park hosts several road races such as the Race for Life.

  • Last visit to Poole: Sep 2008
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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