10 of the best things to do in Poole - 2015

Panoramic view of Poole Quay

Panoramic view of Poole Quay - Credit: Archant

From its beautiful beaches to its quaint Old Town, not to mention the seemingly endless programme of local events, Poole has the power to wow visitors any time of year

A Top Performance

Live performances at Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts in 2015 include the Moscow City Ballet: The Nutcracker (10, 11 and 14 February) Moscow State Circus (February 20-22), Shakespeare’s Macbeth (March 17-18), Pucinni’s La Boheme (March 20) and Sebastian Faulk’s Birdsong (March 24-28). For ticket information and a full events calendar, visit lighthousepoole.co.uk.


Shopping Central

The Dolphin Shopping Centre is the largest indoor shopping centre in Dorset with over 120 stores. It is home to leading high street brands, as well as independent and specialist retailers. The Centre holds a number of free family-orientated events throughout the year. This February half term families can enjoy a pop-up eco garden, where children will be inspired to be green and get creative with recycled materials. Other events planned for this year include a fashion show, food festival and biscuit festival!


Walk on the Wild Side

At the heart of Poole Harwbour is Brownsea Island. Though usually closed to visitors (other than pre-booked groups) during the winter months, it is possible to visit on Winter Weekends between February 7 and March 15, on Saturdays and Sundays between 10am and 4pm. On February 7 and March 21, Dorset Wildlife Trust is hosting guided bird watching events called Winter Birds of Brownsea Island from 11am. Booking is essential and normal island admission charges apply. Details can be found at dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk or nationaltrust.org.uk/brownsea-island.

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Business Bliss

Founded in Poole in 1994, fresh handmade cosmetics brand Lush has grown into one of Dorset’s biggest business success stories, now boasting over 800 stores in over 50 countries around the world. At its original shop at 29 High Street, Poole, you can find a host of fantastic products for men and women, while the adjoining spa offers facials, massage and other body treatments that are relaxing and rejuvenating in equal measure. For treatment details visit lush.co.uk/products/treatments. Aside from Lush, other headquarters based in Poole include Sunseeker, RNLI, Mathmos (who produce lava lamps) and Ryvita.


Quay Location!

Poole Quay is a great place to relax and enjoy views over Poole Harbour – the second largest natural harbour in the world. Dining options include Banana Wharf, Deli on the Quay and the newly opened Quay Café. For those seeking a little pampering check out the Robin James lifestyle salon and spa.

Events happening on the Quay in 2015 include Poole Harbour Boat Show (May 9-10), Mini Steam on the Quay (May 16), Folk on the Quay (June 27-28) and the ever-popular Summer Breeze with Fireworks (held every Thursday from July 23 to the end of August).


Make a Date

Poole’s weekly bike meet Dream Machines returns to the Quay on April 2 and is staged there every Tuesday from 6pm until end of September. Tall Ship ‘Kaskelot’ will birth on Poole Quay from April 17-20, with the public invited to step aboard, while Quay for My Car will be held in Rockley Park every Friday evening in July and August, with displays of rare and remarkable motors. For those seeking something special Brownsea Island’s Open Air Theatre performance for this year is Shakespeare’s The Tempest (22 July – 7 August performances Monday, Wednesday and Friday).


Life’s A Beach!

Poole has five fabulous beaches including Sandbanks - winner of more Blue Flags than any other UK beach resort. There you can also find Sandbanks Crazy Golf Course, which is great fun for all the family, while the Sandbanks Beach Café is ideal for breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea. Sandbanks Beach also hosts the Beach Volleyball Festival (5-6 July) and the very glamorous British Beach Polo Championships (10 – 11 July). Visit sandpolo.com for more information.


Smugglers, sailors and cockleshells

Poole’s Old Town is packed with historic buildings, many dating back to the Georgian period such as the Guildhall, which stages many of the town’s wedding ceremonies. Other 18th century locations include West End House – available as a holiday let - and the former Mansion House which is now home to the exquisite Hotel du Vin.

You can take yourself on a self-guided walk around the Old Town, which highlights these fascinating properties and also brings to light Poole’s seafaring history. Pop into Poole Welcome Centre on the Quayside and pick-up a leaflet for The Cockle Trail for 50p, which will help you discover more about the Poole of yesteryear with plenty of tales about smugglers, sailors and ghosts thrown in for good measure!


A Time Traveller’s Guide

One of the many free attractions well worth a visit while you’re in the Old Town is Poole Museum, which has four floors of galleries and displays. Attached to the museum, in the medieval town cellars, is the Local History Centre where you can delve into Poole’s fascinating archives.


Pottering around

Poole Pottery Studio can be found at the heart of the famed Poole Pottery on the Quay where it is possible for visitors to watch items being made, as well getting the chance to paint their own mugs, plates, moneyboxes etc.

For full details visit poolepottery.co.uk.



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