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Poole, United Kingdom: Beauty by the Ocean
The town of Poole is a tourist resort in the county of Dorset that has a population of close to 150,000 people. Once a vibrant shipping port, the town now takes advantage of its mild weather and beautiful beaches to attract visitors to its shores.
Much of the town centres on its natural harbour, which is home to ships and watersports, in addition to being lined by parks, beaches, pubs, and restaurants. Visitors to Poole quickly realise that there is always something to do in town, especially during the summer months.
Visit Poole Quay
One of the top attractions in the town is Poole Quay, which is a wharf along the ocean that is home to pubs, bars, hotels, and historic buildings. This area was once the centre of the town's shipping industry, but has since become more commercialised and is now perhaps Poole's main draw for tourists. Historic buildings in this area include Customs House, Town Cellars, and Scaplen's Court, the latter two of which were built during the medieval era. The wharf is also near the town's ferry port, which is just across the harbour.
Walking along Poole Quay, visitors will find all kinds of attractions like museums and restaurants, in addition to having access to guided tours and treasure hunts. Harbour cruises leave from this part of town, as well, for those who want to see the area from the water.
Head to the Parks and Beaches
A number of parks can be found in Poole, starting with Poole Park. This park is right by the harbour, and close to the hotel district, and features man-made lakes and ponds for visitors to explore. The park also has tennis courts, a lawn bowling green, a mini-golf course, a restaurant, an indoor skating rink, and a miniature train. Other parks in the town include Baiter Park and Whitecliff Harbourside Park.
Of course, Poole is well known for its beaches, due to its idyllic seafront location. There are five beaches within the town, starting with Sandbanks Beach. This beach has received the Blue Flag, meaning that it has achieved the highest levels of cleanliness and provides an outstanding experience for visitors. Besides swimming, other activities at this beach include slack-lining, mini-golf, and a playground. The beach has a designated barbecue area and there is a café on-site, as well, so guests don't have to return to their hotels for lunch.
Shore Road Beach is another popular beach in town. This beach is used more for watersports like windsurfing than swimming, although there are designated swimming areas. Canford Cliffs Beach is located right along a cliff face, making it one of the more scenic beaches in Poole. It is possible to see wildlife on the cliffs above and the on-site volleyball nets and football goals ensure that there is always something to do. The Branksome Beaches are made up of Branksome Chine and Branksome Dene, which is a dog-friendly beach. These beaches are full of bars and restaurants, making them a fun place to spend the day.
Attend Some Annual Events
The largest event in Poole is Summer Breeze on the Quay with Fireworks. This event features live music on Poole Quay and is the time of year when the restaurants, bars, and hotels get very busy. A breath-taking fireworks display closes the festival each year. Every November 5th, another festival featuring fireworks heads to Poole Quay. Street entertainers and live music are also featured during this event.
During the Christmas season, the Lantern Parade takes place. This event is largely for school-aged children, as they lead a lantern procession through town to the Guildhall. From there, a festival takes place, complete with Christmas carols and food. The Lantern Parade is what officially kicks off Christmas time in Poole.
Catch a Sporting Match
Sports have a special importance in Poole, starting with watersports. The town often hosts large sailing events and two of the largest dinghy regattas in the country take place each year in Poole. Booking a hotel room in advance is a good idea when attending one of those events. In addition, Poole Stadium hosts greyhound racing all year around, while the town also has a motorcycle speedway team called the Pirates that races at the stadium.
Much like the rest of the United Kingdom, football is the most popular sport in Poole. While there isn't a professional team in the town, Poole Town F.C. plays in the sixth tier of the country's football league. The other football clubs in the town are Poole Borough F.C. and Hamworthy United.
See the Old Churches
Many of the old churches in Poole are now protected sites. St. James' Church is located in Old Town and was rebuilt in 1820. The original church on this site was built prior to 1142, but has been reconstructed multiple times. The United Reformed Church was built in 1777, while St. Peter's Parish Church was built in 1833 and replaced in 1876.
Other old churches in Poole include the Parish Church of St. Aldhelm, which was built in 1892, and the Church of St Mary's, which was erected in 1833. Visitors to the town can wander around and look at these old buildings after leaving their hotels and, many times, it is possible to go inside.