We highly recommend a day out in Poole during your stay at Ulwell Holiday Park. This pretty coastal town is a hive of activity, with plenty to see and do, especially in the spring and summer months. Whether you fancy a spot of retail therapy, an action-packed water sports lesson or an afternoon strolling along the quay, you won’t be disappointed with your trip. Here we list some of our favourite attractions in Poole as well as our pick of places to eat and drink.
Swanage to Poole
There are a couple of ways to get to Poole from our holiday park in Swanage. We suggest making the short drive to Studland and catching the chain ferry over to Sandbanks. From here you can park up and explore this exclusive spit of land, which is home to multi-million-pound properties. Or, you can continue on to the town centre or quay. Alternatively, you can drive through Wareham (approximately 30 minutes longer) or catch the Breezer 40 bus.
The Quay is one of our favourite places to visit in Poole. Enjoy a gentle stroll along the Harbour Walk, while watching the fishing boats and yachts return from sea. Stop and watch the crew land their catch and prepare the fish for market. Or, eye up the luxury motor cruisers being launched from the Sunseeker factory opposite.
If you have children in your party, Poole Quay is great for a spot of crabbing. If you don’t have your own gear, you can buy a drop net, bucket and bait from the kiosk by the harbour steps and spend a couple of hours honing your skills. Boat fishing trips can also be booked here if you fancy getting out on the water.
If fishing’s not your thing, there are plenty of other boat trips available. Treat the family to a sightseeing trip around Poole harbour or venture to Brownsea Island in search of wildlife. A boat trip is one of our favourite ways to experience the beauty of Poole Harbour. From the water you’ll enjoy a completely different perspective and some time to sit back and relax!
Top places to eat
You won’t be short of places to eat and drink if you decide to visit Poole for the day. There are a wide selection of fantastic cafes and restaurants on offer, some with harbour views. A selection of the best seafood restaurants can be found on Poole Quay. Sample freshly caught fish from local day boats in Rockfish and the Poole Arms. Slightly further round the harbour, you’ll find Rick Stein’s acclaimed Sandbank’s restaurant.
Photo credit: Peter Hurford, Flickr
If you’re not in the mood for a sit-down meal, there’s no need to worry – there are some excellent takeaway options. No trip to the seaside is complete without a portion of fish and chips. Grab a bench on the harbour and watch the world go by as you eat!
Watersports in Poole Harbour
Poole Harbour is the largest natural harbour in Europe and one of the best places in Dorset to try your hand at water sports. There are a host of activity providers operating from the shoreline, offering taster sessions, private tuition and equipment hire. We highly recommend hiring a paddleboard and exploring the sheltered waters of Poole Harbour with a qualified guide. They’ll help you master the basics and teach you all the necessary skills to be standing up in no time at all.
Kayaks, sailing dinghys, windsurfing and kitesurfing equipment is also available to hire.
There is a fantastic selection of shops in Poole, if you fancy treating yourself to something special to commemorate your trip. The Dolphin Centre is home to a number of high street favourites and there are some excellent independent shops to peruse in the surrounding streets.
Things to do in Poole
Poole is home to a variety of exciting attractions, with plenty of rainy-day activities if the weather takes a turn for the worse during your holiday. Just a short drive from the town centre you’ll find Tower Park entertainment complex, where younger members of the family can enjoy bowling, cinema, soft play and an indoor waterpark.
For adults, the Lighthouse plays host to a range of productions, live music performances and comedy nights throughout the year. Keen gardeners will love Compton Acres ornamental gardens and an afternoon spent relaxing in Poole Park.
Photo credit: Paul Lancaster, Flickr
We have a range of accommodation options on offer including deluxe caravan holiday homes, a wooden pod, self-catering studio, camping and touring pitches. Facilities include an indoor swimming pool, outdoor play park, restaurant and shop.