Overlooking a picturesque harbour, Poole is a charming coastal town clustered with Georgian houses. A gateway to the dramatic Jurassic Coast and the protected landscapes of Brownsea Island, Poole is also home to one of Dorset’s most impressive estates.
Things to do in Poole
Poole Harbour lies at one end of the South West Coast Path, which extends for more than 1,000 kilometres and has been dubbed “Britain’s best walking route”. In addition to passing through the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Jurassic Coast, it winds through the fascinating Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape.
The trail offers spectacular views of the legendary Old Harry Rocks that lie just off the Isle of Purbeck. Some believe that a drowned 9th-century Viking, Earl Harold, was transformed into these chalk formations while others say that Old Harry is named after an infamous Poole pirate.
In the middle of Poole Harbour lies the National Trust-owned island of Brownsea where the Scout movement was born in 1907. Renowned for its healthy population of red squirrels that occupy its extensive woodlands, it’s also home to a lagoon frequented by sandwich terns and migratory avocets.
Gain insight into how the wealthy once lived at the lavish estate of Kingston Lacy, which was originally built in 1663 as the seat of the Bankes family. Its period rooms are decorated with antiques and fine art pieces gathered throughout the last 400 years, while tranquil gardens, a cedar grove and Victorian fernery surround the mansion.
Getting around Poole
Poole is located a 2.5-hour train ride from London and buses also make the journey via Bournemouth. Poole is small enough to explore on foot, with plenty of parking available for those driving.