things to do in poole

Last Updated on: 5th February 2024, 05:36 am

Poole, located in Dorset and situated on the south coast of England, offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. From its famous natural harbor to its beautiful beaches, there is something for everyone in Poole. Whether you’re looking for family-friendly activities, outdoor adventures, or cultural experiences, Poole has it all. Let’s explore the top things to do in Poole and make the most of your trip to this coastal town.

When it comes to things to do in Poole, the options are abundant. From exploring the stunning Poole Harbour and its surrounding islands to enjoying the sandy beaches, there is no shortage of outdoor adventures. Families can make lasting memories at the fun-filled attractions, while couples can indulge in romantic walks along the waterfront. With a vibrant town center, Poole offers shopping, dining, and entertainment options that cater to every taste and interest.

For families visiting Poole, there are countless activities to keep everyone entertained. From thrilling water sports in Poole Harbour to relaxing beach days in Sandbanks, there is something for every age group. Families can also explore nearby attractions in Bournemouth, just a short drive away, and enjoy a day of adventure at the exciting theme parks.

If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, Poole has plenty to offer. Take a leisurely stroll along Poole Quay, where you can enjoy picturesque views of the harbor while savoring some mouth-watering fish and chips. The charming Old Town of Poole is perfect for couples who love history and culture, with its cobbled streets and historic buildings.

Exploring Poole doesn’t have to break the bank. There are many free and budget-friendly activities to enjoy, from relaxing walks in Poole Park to exploring the beautiful Compton Acres Gardens. With its stunning natural landscapes and diverse attractions, Poole is a destination that offers something for every visitor.

So, whether you’re planning a family vacation, a romantic getaway, or a solo adventure, Poole, Dorset, is the ideal destination. Discover the top things to do in Poole and create unforgettable memories in this beautiful coastal town.

Explore Poole Harbour

Poole Harbour, Europe’s largest natural harbor, is a captivating destination and a major attraction in Poole. With its breathtaking beauty and diverse range of activities, Poole Harbour offers a plethora of memorable experiences for visitors of all ages.

For adventure enthusiasts, the harbor presents an exciting array of water sports to engage in. From the thrill of windsurfing and sailing to the tranquility of kayaking and paddleboarding, there is no shortage of exhilarating options to choose from. Whether you are a seasoned water sports enthusiast or a novice looking to try something new, Poole Harbour provides the perfect setting to indulge your adventurous spirit.

If you’re craving a unique island adventure, Poole Harbour is also the gateway to several stunning nearby islands. Hop on a ferry and embark on a memorable journey to explore the enchanting wonders of Brownsea Island, Guernsey, or the Channel Islands. These picturesque islands offer a refreshing escape from the mainland, where you can immerse yourself in their natural beauty, discover wildlife sanctuaries, and embrace the tranquility of island life.

Exploring Poole Harbour is an absolute must when visiting Poole. Whether you’re seeking thrilling water sports or a serene island getaway, the harbor promises an unforgettable experience.

Water Sports in Poole Harbour

Poole Harbour’s vast expanse of water provides the ideal playground for water sports enthusiasts. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or prefer a more leisurely activity, Poole Harbour has something for everyone:

Water Sports Description
Windsurfing Ride the waves and feel the adrenaline rush as you navigate the windy waters.
Sailing Set sail and feel the gentle breeze as you explore the harbor’s picturesque coastline.
Kayaking Paddle your way through tranquil waters, immerse yourself in nature, and discover hidden coves and inlets.
Paddleboarding Balance on a paddleboard and enjoy a unique perspective of the harbor as you glide along its calm waters.
Wakeboarding Experience the thrill of gliding across the water’s surface, propelled by the wake of a speedboat.

Ferry Trips from Poole Harbour

Poole Harbour offers convenient ferry trips to several captivating nearby islands. Here are some popular destinations:

  • Brownsea Island: Explore the stunning natural beauty of this wildlife sanctuary and discover its rich history.
  • Guernsey: Immerse yourself in the charm of this beautiful Channel Island, with its picturesque beaches and vibrant culture.
  • Channel Islands: Visit multiple islands within the Channel Islands archipelago and indulge in their unique charm and landscapes.

Embark on a ferry journey from Poole Harbour and create unforgettable memories on these captivating island escapes.

Visit Poole Quay

Poole Quay, located at the northern edge of Poole Harbour, is a vibrant area that offers a delightful mix of shops, restaurants, and bars. It’s the perfect place to spend a leisurely afternoon or evening, immersing yourself in the lively atmosphere and enjoying the picturesque views of the harbor.

When visiting Poole Quay, there are plenty of exciting things to do. Take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront and soak in the maritime ambiance. Stop by the local shops and browse through unique souvenirs, artwork, and crafts that showcase the town’s rich heritage. If you’re a seafood enthusiast, don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in some mouthwatering fish and chips, a quintessential British delicacy, freshly prepared at one of the many seafood restaurants lining the quay.

Poole Quay is not just a gastronomic paradise; it also serves as the gateway to Poole’s historic Old Town. Step back in time as you explore the charming streets adorned with Georgian and Victorian architecture, discovering the town’s maritime history along the way. Marvel at the beautifully preserved buildings and landmarks, such as the 18th-century Guildhall and the medieval Scaplen’s Court. Wander through the vibrant Old Town Market and browse through a variety of local produce, crafts, and collectibles.

No visit to Poole Quay would be complete without admiring the stunning views of the harbor. As you gaze out towards the shimmering waters, you can watch the boats bobbing in the marina, or catch a glimpse of the famous Brownsea Island in the distance. The tranquil setting provides the perfect backdrop for relaxing and enjoying the fresh sea breeze.

Whether you’re looking for delicious food, a historic experience or simply a pleasant stroll by the water’s edge, a visit to Poole Quay is a must-do when exploring this coastal town.

Relax at Sandbanks Beach

Sandbanks Beach, located on the south coast of the UK, is a popular destination known for its stunning beauty and tranquil atmosphere. With its soft golden sands and crystal-clear waters, it’s the perfect place to unwind and enjoy a day by the sea.

Whether you’re seeking a relaxing sunbathing session, a refreshing dip in the ocean, or some fun-filled beach activities, Sandbanks Beach has it all. Here are some of the top things to do in Sandbanks:

  • Swimming: Take a dip in the calm and inviting waters of Sandbanks Beach. The refreshing sea is perfect for cooling off on a hot summer’s day.
  • Sunbathing: Soak up the sun’s rays and bask in the glorious coastal scenery. Find a comfortable spot on the beach, spread out your towel, and enjoy the warm British sunshine.
  • Beach Volleyball: Gather a group of friends or family members and challenge each other to a friendly game of beach volleyball. It’s a fantastic way to stay active while having fun.
  • Sandcastle Building: Unleash your creativity and build magnificent sandcastles along the shoreline. Let your imagination run wild as you sculpt the perfect sand masterpiece.

Sandbanks Beach has also been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag status, guaranteeing its cleanliness and adherence to high-quality facilities. It’s a testament to the pristine nature of this beautiful beach. When you visit Sandbanks Beach, you can relax knowing that you’re enjoying one of the best beaches in the country.

Beach Activities Location Availability
Swimming Along the shoreline All year round
Sunbathing On the sandy beach All year round
Beach Volleyball A designated area on the beach All year round
Sandcastle Building Throughout the beach All year round

Explore Upton Country Park

Discover the natural beauty and diverse attractions of Upton Country Park in Poole. With its sprawling 160 acres of picturesque gardens, woodlands, and open spaces, Upton Country Park offers an idyllic escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

For nature enthusiasts, the park boasts an array of stunning gardens, each with its own unique charm. From the peaceful Rose Garden adorned with vibrant blooms to the tranquil Japanese Garden featuring traditional elements, there’s a hidden gem waiting to be uncovered around every corner.

Upton Country Park also caters to families with its fantastic play parks. Let the little ones run wild and embrace their sense of adventure in the designated play areas, complete with exciting slides, swings, and climbing frames. Parents can unwind and enjoy the serene surroundings as their children embrace the joy of outdoor play.

For those seeking a bit of excitement, Upton Country Park offers thrilling Segway tours. Glide through the park’s enchanting pathways on these futuristic self-balancing vehicles, taking in panoramic views of the landscape while feeling the wind in your hair.

After a day of exploration, why not visit one of the park’s charming tea rooms? Indulge in a well-deserved treat and sip on a cup of tea or coffee while surrounded by the park’s natural beauty.

“Upton Country Park allows visitors to reconnect with nature, providing a tranquil retreat within easy reach of Poole’s vibrant town center. Whether you’re a keen gardener, a family seeking outdoor adventures, or an adrenaline junkie looking for an exhilarating experience, Upton Country Park has something for everyone.”

Escape the ordinary and immerse yourself in the beauty of Upton Country Park. It’s a place where nature thrives, laughter echoes through the air, and unforgettable memories are created.

Upton Country Park

Things to Do in Upton Country Park Gardens in Upton Country Park Play Parks in Upton Country Park
Explore picturesque gardens Rose Garden Adventure slides
Enjoy nature walks in woodlands Japanese Garden Swings and climbing frames
Embark on thrilling Segway tours Mediterranean Garden
Relax in tea rooms and cafes

Meet the Primates at Monkey World

Monkey World is an extraordinary animal conservation center located near Poole. It is home to a variety of primate species and offers visitors the chance to get up close and personal with these fascinating creatures. Monkey World’s mission is to provide a safe and caring environment for primates rescued from improper captivity or other difficult situations. Visitors can learn about the conservation efforts and the stories behind each primate resident.


If you’re a fan of monkeys and primates, Monkey World is a must-visit attraction. Here, you can witness these incredible animals up close and personal, while also supporting their conservation and well-being. Monkey World is dedicated to rescuing primates from all over the world, giving them a second chance at life in a safe and natural environment.


At Monkey World, you’ll have the opportunity to see a wide variety of primates, including chimpanzees, orangutans, gibbons, and lemurs. The expert carers at Monkey World work tirelessly to provide the best possible care for the primates, ensuring they have a comfortable and enriching environment.


Things to Do at Monkey World

There are plenty of things to do at Monkey World to make your visit even more memorable. Here are some highlights:

  • Take a guided tour to learn more about the different primate species and their individual stories.
  • Watch one of the daily feeding sessions or talks to see the primates in action and learn about their behaviors.
  • Explore the park at your own pace, following the marked paths and observing the primates in their naturalistic enclosures.
  • Visit the gift shop to purchase souvenirs and support Monkey World’s conservation efforts.

Animal Conservation at Monkey World

Monkey World is not just a place for entertainment, but also a vital hub for animal conservation. The center works tirelessly to rescue, rehabilitate, and care for primates that have been mistreated or abandoned. By visiting Monkey World, you are directly contributing to the ongoing conservation efforts and the well-being of these incredible animals.

Table: Primate Species at Monkey World

Species Conservation Status
Chimpanzees Endangered
Orangutans Critically Endangered
Gibbons Endangered
Lemurs Critically Endangered

Enjoy Family Fun at Farmer Palmer’s

Looking for a fun and educational day out with the family? Look no further than Farmer Palmer’s, a fantastic attraction in Poole that offers a range of activities centered around farm animals.

At Farmer Palmer’s, visitors of all ages can interact with and learn about various farm animals. From feeding and cuddling the animals to participating in daily animal activities, there’s plenty to keep everyone entertained. Kids will have a blast as they experience farming life firsthand and gain a hands-on understanding of where their food comes from.

Whether you’re petting fluffy rabbits, milking goats, or grooming ponies, the opportunities for animal encounters are endless at Farmer Palmer’s. It’s not just about fun; it’s also an educational experience that teaches children about the importance of caring for animals and the role they play in our lives.

farm animals at Farmer Palmer's

Families can also enjoy other attractions at Farmer Palmer’s, including outdoor play areas, tractor rides, and even a fantastic indoor soft play area for those occasional rainy days. The farm offers a wide range of facilities, including baby-changing areas and accessible facilities to ensure that everyone can fully enjoy their day.

Don’t forget to grab a bite to eat at the on-site cafĂ©, which serves delicious homemade snacks and refreshments. It’s the perfect spot to take a break and recharge before continuing your adventure at Farmer Palmer’s.

So, if you’re looking for a memorable day out filled with family fun and furry friends, make sure to visit Farmer Palmer’s. It’s an experience that will leave a lasting impression on children and adults alike, offering a unique blend of entertainment and education that you won’t find anywhere else.

Plan Your Visit to Farmer Palmer’s

Before you head to Farmer Palmer’s, here are a few key details to help you plan your visit:

  • Location: Farmer Palmer’s is located at Wareham Road, Organford, Poole, Dorset, BH16 6EU.
  • Opening Hours: The farm is open from 10 am to 5 pm.
  • Admission: Ticket prices vary depending on the season and age group. Please visit the Farmer Palmer’s website for the most up-to-date information.
  • Facilities: The farm offers free on-site parking, baby-changing facilities, accessible toilets, and a gift shop.

With fun-filled activities and adorable farm animals awaiting your family’s arrival, a trip to Farmer Palmer’s is guaranteed to be a day of laughter, learning, and lasting memories.

Discover Compton Acres Gardens

Compton Acres is a stunning privately owned garden in Poole, known for its unique themed and ornamental gardens. Visitors can explore the grand Italian Garden, wander through the woodland valley, and discover the sculpture garden. Compton Acres is a peaceful and beautiful place to spend a day surrounded by nature.

The gardens in Compton Acres are truly a feast for the senses. Each themed garden is meticulously designed and carefully maintained, offering visitors a slice of botanical heaven. From the serene Japanese Garden with its tranquil ponds and vibrant foliage to the exotic Palm Court with its tropical plants and palm trees, there is something to captivate every visitor.

One of the highlights of Compton Acres is the Italian Garden, a grand masterpiece that transports visitors to the Mediterranean. With its elegant statues, vibrant flower beds, and stunning water features, the Italian Garden is a testament to the beauty of Italian Renaissance design.

“Compton Acres is a peaceful oasis where nature’s beauty unfolds at every turn. It offers visitors a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse themselves in the serenity of the gardens.”

Compton Acres is not just a place for adults to enjoy. It also offers a range of activities for children, ensuring that everyone in the family has a memorable experience. Children can explore the dedicated activity area, where they can play and have fun in a safe and supervised environment. There is also a woodland trail that allows children to discover the wonders of nature and learn about the local flora and fauna.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a gardener, or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, Compton Acres is the perfect destination. With its themed gardens, tranquil atmosphere, and activities for children, it promises an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.

Key Features of Compton Acres Gardens:
Unique themed and ornamental gardens
Grand Italian Garden
Woodland valley and sculpture garden
Activities for children, including an activity area and woodland trail

Explore the Tank Museum

The Tank Museum, located in Bovington Camp near Poole, is a must-visit for history enthusiasts. It houses an impressive collection of over 300 military machines, representing key battles and events of the last century. The museum offers nine exhibitions, each showcasing different stories and aspects of tank warfare. Visitors can learn about the development and significance of tanks in major conflicts throughout history.

At the Tank Museum, you can immerse yourself in the world of military machines and discover the technology, tactics, and human stories behind these powerful vehicles. The exhibitions provide a fascinating insight into the evolution of tanks and their role in shaping modern warfare.

Tank Museum

Exhibitions at the Tank Museum

The Tank Museum offers nine engaging exhibitions, each offering a unique perspective on tank warfare. Here are some of the highlights:

  1. The Tiger Collection: Discover one of the world’s finest collections of Tiger tanks, including the only working Tiger I tank in the world.
  2. The Battlegroup Afghanistan: Explore the role of tanks in modern warfare and learn about their deployment in recent conflicts.
  3. The Trench Experience: Step into the trenches of World War I and experience the conditions faced by tank crews during the early days of armored warfare.

These are just a few examples of the immersive and educational exhibitions you can explore at the Tank Museum. Whether you’re a military history buff or simply curious about the world of tanks, a visit to the Tank Museum is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

Exhibition Description
The Tiger Collection Discover one of the world’s finest collections of Tiger tanks, including the only working Tiger I tank in the world.
The Battlegroup Afghanistan Explore the role of tanks in modern warfare and learn about their deployment in recent conflicts.
The Trench Experience Step into the trenches of World War I and experience the conditions faced by tank crews during the early days of armored warfare.


In summary, Poole is a delightful coastal town in Dorset, England, offering a wide array of activities and attractions for people of all ages. Whether you’re a nature lover, an adventure seeker, or a culture enthusiast, Poole has something to suit your interests.

One of the highlights of Poole is its magnificent natural harbor, which is the largest in Europe. Exploring the harbor, engaging in thrilling water sports, and taking ferry trips to the nearby islands are unforgettable experiences that should not be missed.

Additionally, Poole boasts stunning beaches like Sandbanks, where you can unwind and indulge in beach activities. The charming Poole Quay offers picturesque views of the harbor and serves as a gateway to the town’s historic Old Town, where you can immerse yourself in maritime history.

Moreover, Poole offers family-friendly attractions such as Upton Country Park, Monkey World, Farmer Palmer’s, Compton Acres Gardens, and the Tank Museum, providing opportunities for educational and enjoyable experiences for children and adults alike.

In conclusion, with its diverse range of attractions, beautiful natural landscapes, and wealth of cultural and recreational activities, Poole is a perfect destination for a memorable trip. Plan your visit, explore all that Poole offers, and create unforgettable memories in this charming coastal town.


What are some of the top things to do in Poole?

Some of the top things to do in Poole include exploring Poole Harbour, visiting Poole Quay, relaxing at Sandbanks Beach, exploring Upton Country Park, meeting the primates at Monkey World, enjoying family fun at Farmer Palmer’s, discovering Compton Acres Gardens, and exploring the Tank Museum.

What activities can I do in Poole Harbour?

In Poole Harbour, you can participate in water sports like windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and wakeboarding. You can also take ferry trips from Poole Harbour to nearby islands such as Brownsea Island, Guernsey, and the Channel Islands.

What can I do at Poole Quay?

At Poole Quay, you can take a stroll, enjoy the views of the harbor, and indulge in some fresh fish and chips. Poole Quay is also the gateway to Poole’s historic Old Town, where you can explore the charming streets and learn about the town’s maritime history.

What makes Sandbanks Beach special?

Sandbanks Beach is famous for its golden sands and clear waters. It’s the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun. The beach is also great for various activities such as swimming, sunbathing, beach volleyball, and sandcastle building. Sandbanks Beach has been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag status, ensuring cleanliness and high-quality facilities.

What attractions are there in Upton Country Park?

Upton Country Park offers 160 acres of gardens, woodlands, and open spaces. You can enjoy play parks for children, woodland trails for nature walks, tea rooms for refreshments, and even Segway tours for a unique experience.

What can I expect at Monkey World?

Monkey World is an animal conservation center where you can get up close and personal with various primate species. It’s an opportunity to learn about conservation efforts and the stories behind each primate resident.

What is there to do at Farmer Palmer’s?

At Farmer Palmer’s, you can interact with and learn about a variety of farm animals. Visitors can feed and cuddle the animals and participate in daily animal activities. It’s a great place for children to experience farming life and understand where their food comes from.

What can I explore at Compton Acres?

Compton Acres is a privately-owned garden known for its themed and ornamental gardens. You can explore the grand Italian Garden, wander through the woodland valley, and discover the sculpture garden. Compton Acres also offers activities for children, including an activity area and a woodland trail.

What can I see at the Tank Museum?

The Tank Museum houses an impressive collection of over 300 military machines representing key battles and events of the last century. There are nine exhibitions showcasing different stories and aspects of tank warfare, allowing visitors to learn about the development and significance of tanks in major conflicts throughout history.