Poole beach has many more activities and more culture on offer compared to other beaches in this area, purely because it is not just a beach.
Of course, there are still some beach hotspots, and the dog friendly beaches in Poole include Branksome Chine and Branksome Dene. Dogs are allowed on the beach all year round at Branksome Dene, but only between September and May at Branksome Chine. There is a range of places to buy food and drink and the recently built rock groynes create individual bays to enjoy.
In my opinion, the best place to hang out in Poole is on the quay, as this is where all the action happens. Not only are there places to eat, things to do and places to get a drink, but it is a truly romantic spot once the sun goes down and the lights dance across the water.
Poole Museum is a must if you’re hanging out in this pocket of Dorset for the whole day. Set in a Victorian quayside warehouse, with an atrium extension dating from 2007, the Museum's galleries tell the story of the historic maritime town of Poole and its Harbour from prehistory to the 21st century. There is a wealth of resources to keep the family entertained for hours; imaginative displays include the massive Poole logboat and the foremost display of Poole pottery. There is also a visitor lounge and a terrace with great views of the Old Town and Quay.
After a bit of culture vulture-ing, Coffee Club on the Quay is the perfect place for a cuppa and a slice of homemade cake, and if the weather is good, you can sit outside whilst being refreshed with stunning views across the water.
For the next part of your adventure, it is worth hopping on a 20-minute ferry from Poole Quay on a direct route straight to the Brownsea Island. Brownsea Island Nature Reserve is one of the most spectacular nature reserves in Britain, with a diverse range of habitats and wildlife. Its sheltered lagoon is particularly important for large flocks of overwintering birds and for nesting terns in summer, with exceptional viewing from the bird hides. The pine woods are home to one of the few remaining red squirrel populations in England. In 1962 Brownsea Island was saved for wildlife and people when the National Trust took ownership and leased the northern part to Dorset Wildlife Trust. Since then, they have worked to protect the habitats of rare and threatened wildlife, which find sanctuary in its woods, reedbeds and lagoon. Members of Dorset Wildlife Trust don’t have to pay a landing fee on arrival at the island if they are only visiting the nature reserve, however, a valid membership card will need to be shown to the National Trust on arrival. If you wish to visit the rest of the island, you must pay the National Trust landing charges for this. The return trip from Brownsea Island takes 40/45 minutes this includes a cruise around the harbour, tide depending which route you take, around the 5 Islands, through Blood Alley or a Harbours Cruise along the North Channel.
By the time you get back from your jaunt on the water, you’ll be needing to satisfy your appetite. Da Vinci’s Italian restaurant offers casual pizza and pasta meals in a wooden floored room with large windows overlooking the harbour. Perfect for sharing a bottle of wine and clinking glasses whilst you watch the sun go down and the reflection of the starts appear in the water.
Follow in Becky's footsteps and explore Dorset for your next UK staycation.