The Countrywide Great Tour route: places to eat and things to do in Poole

Poole Harbour at Sunset (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Poole Harbour at Sunset (Getty Images/iStockphoto) - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Poole will be a part of the The Countrywide Great Tour route this summer. We take a closer look at the town and round up a few places to eat and things to do

The route

The route - Credit: Archant

The Countrywide Great Tour begins on 4 July and takes place over 64 days visiting all sorts of coastal locations across the UK. Cyclists will begin to arrive in Poole on the afternoon of 14 August after a ride down the coast from Southampton.

Stage 42: Southampton to Poole

Stage 42: Southampton to Poole - Credit: Archant

If you’re taking part yourself or supporting a friend or family member in the tour, there’s plenty on offer in the Poole. Here are a few places to enjoy a meal out and some things to do...



The Stable - 2 High Street, BH15 1BW

Specialising in gourmet pizzas topped with locally sourced ingredients and West Country ciders, this is one of the newest branches of The Stable brand.

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The Quay

Anywhere near The Quay, hunger isn’t a problem. The most popular hostelries have been serving excellent food for years, many using local fishermen’s fresh catch-of-the-day. Some of Poole’s ancient mills and harbour buildings have long been converted into restaurants and bars but, more recently, a plethora of eateries has burst onto the scene on The Quay and in High Street.



Rockley Park Quay for my Car

Poole Quay hosts a unique, themed car event every Friday evening from July to August from 6pm – 9pm


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!


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.


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.



North of Poole’s stylish new Twin Sails Bridge is the upper harbour area known as Holes Bay. Though very shallow at this point, the harbour has two deeper channels - Creekmoor Lake and Upton Lake - which lead into Back Water Channel before the new bridge. At its northernmost end, the railway to Weymouth crosses the harbour on an embankment and steel bridges across the two channels. Beyond this, there’s a little wooded island called Pergins Island which is clearly visible from the shoreline below Upton House which is where this walk starts.


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