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Local Attractions in Poole

There is so much to do in and around Poole, just look at the summary list below; they are all marked on the map further down. Our two house are right at the centre of the pointers on the map below. Just click on a pointer to see what is where.

These are just a selection of the wide range of attractions and activities available here in Poole and the surrounding areas. Further details are further down the page and if you click on the name it links you to a new page listing with more details about the local attraction of your choice.

Short Ferry from Poole Harbour.

BROWNSEA ISLAND - National Trust Island in Poole Harbour

  • Peaceful island of woodland, wetland and heath with a wide variety of wildlife, 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 un spoilt setting

10 minutes by car

COMPTON ACRES - World famous gardens 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.

Walking distance

LIGHTHOUSE - 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.

5 minutes drive

ON THE BEACH - Summer Breeze with fireworks on the beach, 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 10pm.‘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 - 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 !

Walking distance

DOLPHIN SWIMMING POOL - 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.

Walking  distance

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.

15 minutes drive

Farmer Palmers

1o minutes drive

Farmers Plamers 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.

Walking distance

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.

Walking distance

POOLE POTTERY - World famous pottery on Poole Harbour.Over the years, they have produced and nurtured some of the UK's most prolific visionaries, designers and ceramicists. As a result, they have played an important role in the art and design movements throughout the last century which continues in the twenty first century. Their proud history of design and innovation includes many distinctive contributions to such periods and movements as the late Victorian, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Modernism.

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 it's 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.

Wallking distance


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.

Walking distance

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.

15 minutes drive

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.

10 minutes drive

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:-

Monkey Bizness.

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.

10 minutes drive

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...

15 minutes drive

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.

20 minutes drive

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 waters 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. 

20 minutes drive

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

25 minutes drive

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 bush meat 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.


25 minutes drive

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.

15 minutes drive


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.

15 minutes drive


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 round 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 bird life along the harbour, although the traffic can be heard from the road in some areas.


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
  • Lnagham Wine Estate
  • Teddy Museum Dorchester
  • Portland Castle
  • Forde Abbey & Gardens
  • UK Llamas at Bearminster
  • Portland Museum
  • Moors Valley Country Park
  • Lyme Regis Museum
  • Henley Hillbillies off road driving quadbikes and shooting centre  near Dorchester
  • Haynes International Motor Museum
  • Highcliff Castle
  • 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
  • Nothe Fort
  • Mapperton House and Gardens

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