There are so many attractions in and around Poole. Our two houses are an ideal base to explore the area and see all these attractions.
These are just a selection of the wide range of attractions and activities available here in Poole and the surrounding areas. If you click on the name it links you to a new page with more details about the local attraction of your choice.
BROWNSEA ISLAND is one of the great attractions in Poole and within walking distance from our house to the ferry — National Trust Island in Poole Harbour.
Peaceful island of woodland, wetland and heath with a wide variety of wildlife The island is famous for being the birthplace of Scouting and Guiding.Fine walks and spectacular views of Poole Harbour.
A haven for wildlife, including red squirrels, peacocks and deer
Trails for young smugglers, historians and explorers.
Escape the noise and stress of modern life and discover nature in this unspoilt setting.
COMPTON ACRES – World famous gardens:- is another attraction in Poole. Compton Acres was built in 1929 and is a wonderful example of a historic garden in the UK. It is of late Victorian Mixed Style design with seven distinct gardens to wander around and enjoy, including the Italian Garden and the Japanese Garden.
LIGHTHOUSE – walking distance – Poole’s Centre for the Arts, (formerly known as Poole Arts Centre) has great shows and events within walking distance of our houses. The Lighthouse is one of the largest in the United Kingdom outside London with a 669 seat theatre, 1,500 seat concert hall, 150 seat studio, 105 seat cinema, an Image Lab/media suite, a large gallery for photography and digital art, a restaurant and three function rooms. It is situated just outside the main shopping centre / High Street in Poole. However, it is only a short walk from the centre of town and Baiter Park.
Take a walk down to Boscombe beach, see the surfers and stroll to the end of Boscombe pier for a top photo opportunity or to enjoy the sea air!
Bournemouth’s PIERZIP Line is the world’s first pier to shore zip wire experience with a launch tower towering high above the sea, giving an exhilarating “zip surf” over the waves to the beach.
ON THE BEACH – Summer Breeze with fireworks on the beach is a great attraction in Poole, takes place every Thursday in August from 7pm. Every Thursday in August people are guaranteed a great nights entertainment including live music, BBQ’s and a fantastic firework finale at 10 pm.‘Summer Breeze…on the Beach’ is set at Shore Road Beach, in-front of the Sandbanks Hotel Terrace. It includes a high-quality beach barbecue and live music. Family fun and entertainment is in abundance with a volleyball have-a-go area, tag rugby and street entertainers.
POOLE PARK – Walking distance – At Poole Park next to our holiday houses, you will find that there is something for all the family.
Feeding the ducks and swans, on Swan Lake.
The miniature railway which winds it’s way around Swan Lake, again very popular with the children and fathers !
By the lake you will find Gus Gorilla’s Jungle Playground, an extraordinary adventure playground for children, where you can try the spiral slide,rush down tube slides or have a ball in the huge ball pool.
For parents there is a restaurant, where if the sun is shining you can relax on the patio safe in the knowledge your children are having fun.
For the older members of your family you can watch cricket matches or watch the model racing yachts.
If you are interested in flowers, you can just stroll around the park enjoying the atmosphere of the Rose garden or just admiring the formal flower beds.
There is a bowling green.
You can try your hand a crazy golf or mini-pitch and putt.
There is a large play area for children with all the usual slides and swings etc, all in a safe area.
If you are feeling energetic you could always hire one of the tennis courts for a game !
DOLPHIN SWIMMING POOL – Walking distance -Swimming Pool & health/fitness suite & solarium. The Dolphin Swimming Pool can be found in the heart of Poole within walking distance of our houses, set handily next to Poole Bus Station. When the weather isn’t warm enough for a swim in the sea, why not have a swim in the Dolphin or have a workout in the onsite gym? The pool is nearly Olympic sized with a separate diving pool (With 1 metre, 3-metre boards and 5-metre platform) and learner pool, set away from the main pool. There are aqua-aerobics sessions & diving & swimming lessons held in the pool, contact the staff for details.
MOTORBIKE EVENINGS – During the months April – September, every Tuesday evening is “Motorbike Night”, or as it is now known, – “Coles Miller Dream Machines”. The show starts at 6pm, when the Quay is closed to all traffic, to ensure there is safe access for everyone to wander around at their own leisure. You will find an unprecedented collection of gleaming, sparkling machinery as motorbike owners from across the country gather to “show off” their machines.
Farmer Palmers 1o minutes drive
Farmers Palmers was original a dairy farm which was diversified to a visitor attraction in 1998 and specially designed for a great day out for families with children 8 years and under.
Knowledgeable staff oversee the events and ensure the animals are well cared for in a clean environment. The animals live within Defra’s Five Freedoms of animal welfare. This has been recognised by Enjoy England, Poole & Bournemouth Tourism departments as well as the Tourist boards. The daily cow milking demonstration is educational, informative and entertaining, not to be missed! There are many indoor & outdoor adventure facilities for small children and their family.
kes and Dame Mary joined the side of Charles I. They owned some 8,000 acres (32 km²) of the surrounding Dorset countryside and coastline.
|LOCAL HISTORY CENTRE – Occupying a 600-year-old Woolhouse which is located next to Poole Museum, Poole’s Local History Centre has resources for all aspects of research. An extensive library is supported by microfilmed and digitised material.|
Wonderful Bournemouth beach stretches in both directions from Bournemouth Pier past Boscombe and into Poole.
All beaches are accessible from the Cliff Top where there is parking and easy access via zig-zag paths or by one of the Victorian Cliff Lifts.
As Bournemouth enjoys its micro-climate and some of the warmest sea temperatures in the UK it’s a great place to bring children and truly relax
Alum Chine is the largest of four chines within Bournemouth.
Here you’ll find shaded paths, the popular Treasure Island-themed children’s play area, a paddling pool, tropical garden on the cliff face and bowls, catering and toilet facilities within the adjacent Argyll Gardens.
|RockReef is an all year, all-weather adventure activity attraction on Bournemouth Pier.|
At the heart of the Pier you will find the new RockReef attraction featuring four great attractions in one, bringing the great outdoors indoors. The RockReef attraction is an exciting combination of fun, adventure, exercise and challenging activities.
| WATERFRONT & SCAPLENS COURT MUSEUMS –|
The Waterfront Museum is housed in historic buildings adjoining Poole Quay, with the entrance being through the Tourist Information Office, admission is free, although you are requested to make a donation towards the upkeep and development of these facilities.
Inside the building you will find a wealth of intriguing items in this fine local museum. You can discover the history of old Poole and learn more about its seafaring past, including a daring raid on the Customs House by Pirates, as well as the more respectable trade links with Newfoundland.
|SANDBANKS FERRY – The famous chain ferry. The Sandbanks Ferry, running between Sandbanks and Studland since 1926, is for many people, a “must do” on their visit to Poole. The chain ferry operates daily, carrying all manner of traffic across the mouth of Poole Harbour, cutting out the long journey time to places like Corfe Castle and Swanage from Poole by taking the direct route.|
|CASTLEMAN TRAILWAY. This 16-mile Trailway is suitable for walkers, cyclists and horse riders alike. It follows the route of the old Dorchester to Southampton railway, which was built in 1847 by Charles Castleman. The twisting stretch of track became known as the ‘Castleman Corkscrew’. The railway was closed in the 1960s by Dr. Beeching and the land sold. Public access has since been granted along the resurfaced path, which now takes visitors through some of Dorset’s most scenic countryside including heathland, mature pine forest and the River Stour valley.|
TOWER PARK – Tower Park is one of the premier entertainment spots in the South. You can find something for just about every member of the family all on the one site. The attractions on offer are:-
Indoor children’s activity centre. For more information click here.
Empire 10 screen multiplex cinema
10 full-sized cinemas means there are films to suit all tastes in the modern Empire Cinema complex.
Visit the Empire Cinema website at to find out what’s showing now !
Much more than bowling … offering 26 fully computerised ten-pin bowling lands. A great venue for an evening of bowling, whilst you can enjoy a meal at the restaurant or relax afterwards in the lounge bar.
|GUS GORILLA Gus Gorilla’s Jungle Playground is open seven days a week – 10am to 6pm. There are over 60 free car parking spaces right outside the door! Here are some of our exciting attractions…|
|SPLASHDOWN– The South’s best waterslides ! An exciting year-round water slide experience awaits you at Splashdown, featuring some of the largest and fastest rides in the U.K. There are 12 rides to suit all tastes, some of which are outside and subsequently only open during the high season.|
| BLUE POOL – Dorset beauty spot with a difference.|
Set north of the Purbeck Hills between Wareham and Corfe Castle off the A351.
The Blue Pool at Furzebrook constantly varies in colour. Very fine clay in suspension in the water diffracts light in different ways producing a spectrum of colour sometimes green sometimes turquoise.
Set in a deep clay bowl, steps lead down to the water’s edge or up to views of the Purbeck Hills. The Pool is surrounded by 25 acres of heath woodland and gorse interlaced with sandy paths that seem to take you to another world.
| CORFE CASTLE 20 minutes drive|
– Medieval Castle and village. Thousand-year-old castle, an iconic survivor of the English Civil War, rising above the Isle of Purbeck.
One of the most evocative ruined castles in England
Over 1,000 years of turbulent history
Castle View visitor centre explores the lives (and deaths) of past residents
Extensive country estate to discover and explore
The Swanage Railway operates a steam train service to Corfe
| Monkey World|
20 minutes drive
Set amongst the woodland of Dorset lays 65 acres of sanctuary for over 150 primates. Monkey World was set up in 1987 by Jim and Alison Cronin to provide abused Spanish beach chimps with a permanent, stable home. Today Monkey World works in conjunction with foreign governments from all over the world to stop the illegal smuggling of apes out of Africa and Asia. At the park, visitors can see more than 150 primates of 15 different species.
There are currently 56 chimpanzees at Monkey World, which makes it the largest group outside Africa. Monkey World has rescued chimps from Spain, Greece, France, England, Austria, The Netherlands, Israel, Cyprus, Dubai and Taiwan where they were being used and/or abused in laboratories, as exotic pets, as photographer’s props, or as circus animals. Their exact histories vary, but the majority of them share part of the same story. Born in Africa chimps are taken from their family groups as youngsters. Poaching expeditions for bushmeat and the capture of young animals results in the slaughter of adults as they try and defend their babies and extended family. It is estimated that the removal of one infant will result in the death of up to ten other chimpanzees. The young animals are smuggled out of Africa and then sold illegally abroad.
| National Tank Museum 20 minutes drive|
The Bovington Tank Museum is the foremost collection of armoured vehicles in the United Kingdom. With almost 300 vehicles on exhibition from 26 countries, it is the most wide-ranging collection of tanks and armoured vehicles in the world and includes one of two working examples of a German Tiger I tank in the world and a British World War I Mark I — the world’s oldest surviving combat tank.
The collection is held at the Bovington Army camp in the county of Dorset in South West England, about 1 mile (2 km) north of the town of Wool and 12 miles (20 km) west of the major port of Poole – grid reference SY829883. The camp trains all sections of the British Army in tracked vehicle driving as well as repairing and maintaining the vehicles in its workshops. The museum is situated within the camp.
|Lulworth Cove is one of Dorset’s best and most well-known attractions. It’s ideal for the budding photographer, geographer or simply for a leisurely walk along the Natural World Heritage Coastline and the challenging hills.|
20 minutes drive
Explore the secrets of the ocean in an adventure that will take you to some of the world’s most amazing waters. The Oceanarium Bournemouth brings you face to face with marine life from the furthest reaches of the globe – more than just an aquarium, a vibrant experience through the oasis of water. The Oceanarium is a fully interactive experience with touch screen games, feeding demonstrations and talks, plasma screen documentaries, walk-through underwater tunnel and exhibits to help you discover more about this fascinating underwater world.
| THE BOURNEMOUTH EYE 20 minutes drive – |
– Float above Bournemouth Town in a tethered Balloon. There are flights every day from the beautiful Lower Gardens in central Bournemouth. The Bournemouth Eye, Bournemouth’s highest attraction, is a spherical helium-filled balloon with an enclosed gondola that carries 25-30 passengers. Tethered by a high tensile steel cable, the balloon lifts to a height of 500 feet while providing a panoramic view of the English Channel and surrounding area (over 20 miles) from the highest public observation point in Bournemouth.
WALFORD MILL CRAFT CENTRE – This craft centre aims to promote high-quality crafts
| Swanage Steam Railway|
25 minutes drive
Welcome to Dorset’s premier standard gauge preserved steam railway. The award-winning Swanage Railway currently operates on the six miles of track between Swanage and Norden, through the beautiful Isle of Purbeck, passing the magnificent ruins of Corfe Castle. Trains operate on the Swanage Railway every weekend and Bank Holiday from mid-February to the end of the year, and every day of the week from April to October.
| Wimbourne Model Town|
20 minutes drive
Built well over 50 years ago, the magnificent 1/10th scale models continue to surprise and amaze visitors from all over the world with their superb quality and realism.
Re-creating the historic market town of Wimborne Minster exactly as it was during the 1950s, you can get really close up and even touch the buildings, checking out every minute detail of over 100 shop window displays. Peer into the Butchers, the Ironmongers, the Bakery and the Fishmongers, not forgetting the stunning interior of the Minster Church. As you begin to explore in more detail, your mind will turn to wondering just how the group of skilled and dedicated model makers achieved such amazing ‘life-like’ results – working as they did over five decades ago in a rural England still recovering from the war years.
|ROYAL SIGNALS MUSEUM– The story of the evolution of battlefield communications – including new SAS exhibition. The Royal Corps of Signals Museum is located in Blandford Camp in the beautiful Dorset countryside and only a stone’s throw from the scenic and interesting Georgian Town of Blandford Forum. It is the national museum of Army communications and the exhibits and displays show the part that communications have played in the many wars and campaigns of the last 150 years. The Museum collection is regarded as being of national importance and the excellent Archives are recognised by the Public Record Office.|
| The Old Town of Poole is situated just behind the Quay and has a lovely charm, with its narrow streets, walkways and cobblestones. Here you will find small unique shops, art galleries, museums, and the well known Poole Pottery is located adjacent to the Quay.|
The Cockle Trail
Take a walk around the Cockle Trail, following the brass plaques in the pavements in the Old Town, to discover some 750 years of Poole’s history. The walk takes approximately 1½ hours and an accompanying leaflet available for 30p (price 2005) from the tourist information centre will guide you around with informative text.
|UPTON COUNTRY PARK – 100 acre of gardens, open parkland, woodland and shoreline for the family to explore. The park is owned and managed by Poole Borough Council. The park was built by Poole Merchants and passed through many families, including the Llewellins, until it was opened to the public in 1976. Comments – A pleasant walk through a variety of formal and more natural features. An excellent opportunity to watch the birdlife along the harbour, although the traffic can be heard from the road in some areas.|
| BEAULIEU –|
The National Motor Museum, few car museums in the world can match the unique collection of the world-renowned National Motor Museum at Beaulieu. Managed by the National Motor Museum Trust, Beaulieu is also the home of the world-famous Beaulieu International Automobile and Automart. Whether your interest is as an individual, a motor enthusiast, or as a member of an interest group or educational party, when it comes to cars, motorbikes, commercial vehicles, motoring eccentricities and memorabilia, the National Motor Museum is firmly in the driving seat.
With the Collection now comprising some 250 vehicles – from some of the earliest examples of motoring to legendary World Record Breakers like Bluebird and Golden Arrow – you are sure to find something to fascinate you. 37 miles from Baiter Park
|KINGSTON LACY – Fine old National Trust house set in lovely grounds.|
|KINGSTON MAURWARD GARDENS – Gardens and Animal Park set in the beautiful Dorset countryside, this is a well-hidden secret of Dorset!|
|Other attractions include:|
Kingstone Maurward Gardens and Animal Park
Weymouth Sand Sculpture at Sandworld
The Keep Military Museum at Dorchester
Langham Wine Estate
Teddy Museum Dorchester
Forde Abbey & Gardens
UK Llamas at Bearminster
Moors Valley Country Park
Lyme Regis Museum
Henley Hillbillies off road driving quadbikes and shooting centre near Dorchester
Haynes International Motor Museum
Fleet Air Arm Museum
Athelhampton House and Gardens
Dorset Heavy Horse Farm park Verwood
Dorset County Museum
Dinosaur Museum Dorchester
Donkey walking adventures Blandord Fashion Museum
Bennetts Water Gardens
Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens
Sherborne Castle and Gardens
Mapperton House and Gardens