Things To See and Do in Poole

There are so many things to see and do in Poole, the choice is endless.

Test your balancing skills while cruising around Poole Harbour on a stand-up paddle board, wander around the elegant Old Town or modern Quayside and gaze at the super yachts (we can all dream!) or escape the hustle and bustle with a day out at Upton Country Park.

Of course Poole is famous for it's superb golden sandy beaches, but it's not all about soaking up the summer sun - Poole really is a destination for all seasons.

Activities and attractions galore

Poole has over 50 miles of cycle network of which 28 miles of paths are away from traffic and include parks and paths by the sea.

Sandbanks beaches are the jewel of Poole’s crown. Relax on Poole’s three miles of award-winning Blue Flag beaches which are simply breath-taking at any time of year.

TheGallery at the Arts University showcases work by contemporary artists and designers from around the world. Their collections also include pieces on loan from major galleries and museums. It is open to the public and admission to the exhibitions and supporting events is free.

Designed specifically with under 8 year olds in mind, Farmer Palmers Farm Park on the outskirts of Poole is filled with fun things to do, play areas, animal feeding and of course lots of space for the kiddies to run around and burn off some energy.

Did you know that Dorset is becoming known for it's vineyards? Take a fascinating tour with the owners of English Oak Vineyard followed by wine tasting of their award winning produce.

The parks and green spaces of Poole are award winning, Poole Park is a short walking distance from the town centre and includes tennis courts, a bowling green, outdoor play areas and a fitness trail. The Ark soft play and Poole Park Railway are memorable favourites for all generations.

Upton Country Park is over 100 acres of award winning gardens, woodland and shoreline. Home to Upton House a grade II* listed Georgian mansion and a stunning walled garden with popular splash fountain, woodland play trail, Segway tours and tearooms.

Poole Harbour

Immerse yourself in Poole Harbour, the second largest natural harbour in the world. A harbour cruise with Greenslade Pleasure Boats or City Cruises Poole is the perfect laidback option to enjoy the stunning harbour scenery of Poole’s eight unique islands, including Brownsea Island. 

There’s no better place to see birds busy on and over the water than Poole Harbour. Take a bird-watching cruise and discover more from our local experts.

From Poole Port you can take a day trip on Condor's high speed ferry to Guernsey. Take advantage of their on-board duty free shopping and you may even spot a dolphin during your journey. Spend a few hours ashore exploring the Island before returning to Poole.

Experience the thrill of the water and try something new during your stay, Poole offers every watersport imaginable. Over 25 water based activities are accessible to all in the safe, shallow waters of Poole Harbour.

If you'd rather stay on dry land, taking a Purbeck Breezer bus around the shores of the harbour is a great way to see the sights - in summer some of the buses are open top, giving you un-interrupted views of the stunning scenery.

Brownsea Island

Grab your binoculars and explore all that the National Trust’s Brownsea Island has to offer, you may even spot an elusive sed Squirrel or the amazing array of birdlife along the way.

Famous for being the birthplace of the Scouting and Guide movement which all started with Lord Baden-Powell's experimental camp on the island in 1907, Scouts and Guides still visit from all over the world to camp on the site where it all began.

If you're a Famous Five fan, you may think that Brownsea Island reminds you of one of the islands in Enid Blyton's books. And you'd be correct, because it was the inspiration for ''Whispering Island' and 'Keep Away Island' which featured in a couple of her books. In Enid’s time, Brownsea Island was owned by the very reclusive Mrs Bonham-Christie, who would not tolerate visitors. Now, the Island is open to everyone but you will need to catch a boat to the Island from Sandbanks or Poole Quay.

Discover the history of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution 

Poole is home to the RNLI. See how volunteer crews and lifeguards from all over the UK and Ireland are trained with a behind-the-scenes 90 minute tour of the RNLI college including their world-class Sea Survival centre, which hosts the wave tank and Lifeboat simulator.

You can even stay in the RNLI hotel of have something to eat or drink in their bar and restaurant, all of which overlook Poole Harbour.

Poole Quay and historic Old Town

Stroll along the quayside, see the luxury Sunseeker yachts across the water and relax in one the traditional pubs or stylish cafés.

Visit the Tourist Information Centre to pick up one of the historic trails, then head to the beautiful Old Town to discover all about Poole’s past.

Tower Park Leisure Complex 

A great venue for all the family, whatever the weather, is Tower Park. Go watch the latest movies at the 10 screen cinema, have a go at ten pin bowling or bingo, slide down the flumes at Splashdown Waterpark, or let the little ones go wild at Lemur Landings soft play area.

And once you've worked up an appetite, enjoy a delicious lunch or dinner at one of the many restaurants - there are all your family favourites including Pizza Express, Taco Bell and Nando's. You can catch a bus here from Poole town centre or use their large, free car park.

Further Recommendations

Poole is such an exciting holiday location, we definitely recommend staying for a while so you can enjoy all Poole has to offer!

For all the information you need to plan a Poole holiday, please visit Poole Tourism's official website or sign up for the latest destination and event news and special offers.

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Brownsea Island

The perfect day’s adventure, this island wildlife sanctuary is easy to get to but feels like another world from the moment you step ashore. The island sits in the middle of Poole Harbour, with...

Farmer Palmer's Farm Park

Farmer Palmer's is where young adventurers can frankly ‘let their hair down’ without older children around to stifle their enjoyment! Designed specifically for children aged 0-8years,...

Splashdown Poole

Please note, tickets are ONLY be bookable through the Splashdown website. Splashdown is an all action water park with some of the UK's best water flumes. A roaringly good welcome awaits those who...


Welcome to TheGallery at the Arts University Bournemouth - a major resource for contemporary art and design in the South of England. We seek to enhance the cultural capital of the students, staff...

City Cruises Poole

City Cruises operate daily from Poole Quay and Swanage Pier. We offer a wide selection of cruises along the Jurassic Coast, trips to the Victorian resort at Swanage and the Steam Railway, Poole...

Condor Ferries Boat Trips

If you're looking for a day out with a difference that's really great value, join us on one of our high speed journeys to Guernsey. You can travel on foot or with your vehicle, and...