Poole

England, United Kingdom

Home to the second largest natural harbor in the world, Poole is also known for its award winning blue flag beaches, thriving quayside and gorgeous historic old town. On Ferryhopper, you can find useful information about must-see places, local delicacies and ferries to Poole, and book your ferry tickets easily and quickly!

Sailboats docked at the port of Poole, England

Beautiful view to the port of Poole and its waterfront

Vacation in Poole

Poole is a charming coastal town located in the county of Dorset in the south of England and just a stone’s throw away from the stunning Jurassic Coast

Known for its beautiful sandy beaches, stunning countryside, bustling harbor, and scrumptious seafood, Poole is a popular holiday destination for visitors from all over the world. 

It’s an ideal option for a short break, offering a range of activities and attractions for visitors of all ages. Whether you're interested in water sports, culture, or simply relaxing on the beach, Poole has something for everyone.

How to get to Poole

You can travel to Poole by car, train, plane, or ferry. If you choose to take a car, the city is linked by the A31 to the M27, and from there to the M3 and London. 

Traveling to Poole by train is another great option. There are regular services from London, Southampton and Bournemouth. Southampton Airport and Bournemouth Airport are also both in close proximity to Poole and offer easy access into town. 

Alternatively, you can reach Poole by ferry. There are ferry crossings connecting Poole to France and the Channel Islands. Find more information about ferry routes and schedules to Poole in Dorset here.

What to do in Poole

There's so much to see and do in Poole and the surrounding area. Transport yourself back in time by strolling through the narrow streets of Poole’s 17th-century Georgian Old Town. This area is full of interesting shops, cafes and restaurants, as well as fascinating historical sights. Make sure to visit the Poole Museum, before heading to the famous Poole Quay

The vibrant quay is the perfect spot for a stroll along the waterfront and taking in the views of the harbor. Visitors can also take a 90-minute boat tour to see more of Europe’s largest natural harbor and its surrounding areas, including the stunning Brownsea Island. This is the largest of the five major islands and home to a variety of wildlife.

Another popular attraction in the city is its golden sand beaches. You can’t talk about Poole without bringing up the popular Sandbanks beach, which has been voted one of the best beaches in the UK. The beaches are perfect for swimming, sunbathing and practicing a variety of water sports.

Feeling hungry after all this exercise? Then visit Poole Park! This is the perfect spot for a picnic and a leisurely stroll.

Sandbanks beach in Poole, Dorset

The popular Sandbanks beach, with its stunning houses and apartments

Sightseeing in Poole

Poole is home to a vibrant cultural scene. The city has a number of galleries, museums and theaters. Here you can find a list of the top sightseeing in and around Poole: 

  • The Poole Museum, located in a beautifully restored 15th-century warehouse
  • The Sea Music Sculpture, standing on the Quay since 1991
  • Scaplen’s Court Museum, Poole’s oldest building on Sarum Street
  • The Old Lifeboat Museum, based at the eastern end of Poole Quay
  • Compton Acres, considered one of England’s finest privately-owned gardens
  • Corfe Castle, owned by the National Trust and dates back to the 11th century
  • The Wimborne Minster church, founded in the 8th century

Tip: follow the brass plaques at the Cockle Trail walk if you’re interested in retracing Poole's rich historical heritage.

The ruins of Corfe Castle, Dorset

View of the impressive Corfe Castle overlooking the surrounding countryside in Dorset

Nightlife in Poole

Poole’s nightlife is vibrant and exciting. There is a great selection of bars, restaurants and cafés in Poole Quay, the town center or Parkstone area of the town. 

During the summer months, the city is filled with locals and visitors alike, enjoying the warm weather and the lively atmosphere. You can enjoy a romantic dinner at one of the many restaurants around the city and then hop from one club to another, dancing the night away to the latest music. A popular venue for live performances, comedy nights and concerts is the Lighthouse. In fact, it is the largest arts center outside London.

Finally, finish off the night by grabbing a late-night bite at one of the many delicious kebab shops located around the city.

Food in Poole

Poole is home to some of the most unique and delicious delicacies in the country. With one of the longest coast lines, the town is renowned for its locally caught quality fresh fish. Read below to find some of the most delicious regional dishes you should try during your stay in Poole:

  • Poole fish pie 
  • fish and chips
  • English muffin
  • knickerbocker glory (classic British dessert made with ice cream, meringue, cream, and fruit)
  • saffron cake

The traditional knickerbocker glory served at the beach

The mouthwatering knickerbocker glory

Useful information about Poole

Poole is a family-friendly city with many modern tourist facilities and year-round activities. With a host of accommodation options, it’s easy to find a place to stay in Poole that fits your budget and needs. If you’re looking for a traditional hotel experience, you’ll find a range of options in the heart of the Old Town and close to the waterfront.

For a more budget-friendly option, camping sites can be found dotted around the area. Another more comfortable option would be to stay at a holiday park

As for hospitals, Poole is served by a range of medical services in case of emergency.

Important phone numbers for your stay in Poole

Here are some useful contacts for your trip to Poole: 

  • Poole Port Authority: +441202440200
  • Poole Hospital: +441202665511
  • Poole Tourist Information Center: +441202128888
  • European emergency number: 112, 999

Transportation in Poole

As one of the major ports in England, the town has an extensive transport network that connects it to the rest of the country. 

The main rail station in town is Poole Station, which is a major hub for South West trains. Additionally, the town has its own local bus service, which is operated by Yellow Buses. It offers services to and from the town center, to nearby towns and villages, as well as to Bournemouth Airport.

For those wishing to discover the local area, a car is the best option. There is a network of roads and highways that make it easy to get around the city and its surrounding areas. There are also plenty of car parks around Poole, so you can always park your vehicle and explore the city on foot.

Ports in Poole

The port of Poole is a vibrant hub of maritime activity. It is home to a wide range of vessels, from traditional fishing boats to luxury yachts. The port also has a rich industrial heritage, with a long history of shipbuilding and fishing. Today, the port remains a vital part of the local economy.

The Poole Bus and Coach Station is situated at the Dolphin Centre and is approximately a 20-25 minutes walk away from Poole Ferry Terminal, while the railway station is about a 30-35 minute walk away.

Poole ferry: schedules and tickets

You can reach Poole by ferry from France and the Channel Islands. The companies that operate the connections are Brittany Ferries and Condor Ferries. You can find more information on the ferry connections to Poole below:

  • Cherbourg - Poole ferry: the ferry crossing between Cherbourg, in Normandy, France, and Poole operates with up to 1-2 daily crossings all year round. The crossings can last from around 3 to 6.5 hours.
  • St Malo - Poole ferry: there is 1 weekly crossing between St Malo, in Brittany, France, and Poole that is operated by Condor Ferries. The trip takes about 6 hours.
  • Guernsey - Poole ferry: the connection between Guernsey, an island in the English Channel, and Poole is operated by Condor Ferries with up to 5 weekly crossings all year round. The crossings can last about 3 hours.
  • Jersey (St Helier) - Poole ferry: there are up to 6 weekly connections from Jersey's vibrant capital St Helier to Poole. The Jersey - Poole ferry takes about 4.5 hours.

Boats in the Poole Quay marina

The historic quayside in Poole

Where to book ferry tickets to Poole online

Don’t miss out on the beautiful town of Poole! Find the available ferry connections to Poole on our interactive Map of ferries, browse schedules and fares, and plan your trip online on Ferryhopper.

Frequent ferry connections

Nearby destinations

Poole has direct ferry connections with 4 ports :

Book your ferry tickets