After Wimborne Minster, we continued on to Poole, and parked up near the quays…
Status: Poole Unitary District, Dorset, Town, England
Eating & Sleeping: Lord Nelson Pub
Attractions: Quayside, Poole Museum, Beech Hurst Mansion, RNLI Museum, Baden-Powell Statue, Brownsea Island, Harbour etc
We parked the car just down from the Poole Museum, so this was our first stop. Inside there are many artefacts show casing the history of the town and local area. One of the most famous objects there is the Poole Longboat, a 10 metre long oak boat from 295 BC found in Poole Harbour in 1964. It is one of the largest examples of this in the world, and is made from a single piece of wood.
On the other floors there is fine china, pottery, and many other artefacts. We explored each floor in turn and found out many interesting facts about Poole. There is also an antique Fire Engine on the ground floor.
On the sea front, there is a metal tower construction, which you can climb up and get a good view from the top back at parts of the town, and into the harbour. From here I looked back at the museum, which you can see at the back with the white metal frame. Poole is a traditional seaside town, with lovely old buildings in varying colours. Looking the other way you get a good view over the factories that create luxury yachts in the town, but more on them later.
We stopped for lunch in the Lord Nelson Pub (shown at the back, the white building just coming into shot on the right hand side) and enjoyed a traditional seaside dish, chips!
Outside by the quayside we found the above statue, of Robert Baden-Powell (1857 – 1941), who was a Lieutenant-General in the British Army, and also the founder of the Scout Movement in 1907, which is why he is shown in his Scout uniform.
After walking down the first section of the quayside, we moved into the town centre, and through the pedestrianised streets. We found this lovely Georgian Mansion from 1798. It was built for Samuel Rolles, a local merchant of great wealth. There are other mansions in the town including one from 1746 owned by Sir Peter Thompson.
Elsewhere in the town is the Old Town Hall Building, also called the Guildhall. It is of a similar design as Samuel Rolles Mansion, but it has staircases on the outside leading up to the main entrance.
More buildings in the town centre. It is well kept and there are lots of different colours around. Fish and Chip shops are a plenty, along with old traditional (I keep coming back to this word, but it really is the best way to describe the town) pubs and other shops.
A large shopping centre sits in the middle of the town centre, called the Dolphin Shopping Centre, and contains all of the usual shops you would expect to find on an English high street. There is also the slightly smaller Falkland Square Shopping Centre not far away from the Dolphin Centre.
As I mentioned earlier in this post, there are factories located in the town that create large, very expensive yachts. One of these is pictured above, and will be sold for anywhere up to and above £1 Million. Poole is a popular destination for people wanting to buy a boat and have an exotic location on the south coast to keep it.
From the quayside you can look across to Brownsea Island, sat in the harbour. Regular tours are available around the harbour and across to the island.
It was on Brownsea Island that Baden-Powell started his Scout Camp, and it is still used today for scouting movements. The island was given over to the National Trust and turned into a conservation area, but scouting still takes place, with hundreds of scouts coming every year.
There are a number of islands in the harbour, of which Brownsea is the largest. It is covered in picturesque scenery, old cottages and the beautiful old church of St Mary from 1854. There is even a castle at one end of the island, called Brownsea Castle.
The furthest point up the quays that we reached, away from where we had parked, was the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institute) Museum. It contains (as shown above) a lifeboat that once served the two towns of Poole and Bournemouth. You can see some of the inner workings of the boat, as well as a history of the boat and the Lifeboat service in the area on the building walls. It’s the first lifeboat I have actually seen so I quite enjoyed having a look round it.
This lifeboat house was built in 1882, closing in 1974 when a new lifeboat station was built and opened near the Marina. Since then it has been a museum.
Poole is a great town, the views out to sea are fantastic, with islands in the harbour to explore, boats to ride and the seaside favourites, fish and chips, to enjoy. There is plenty to explore, and there is a lot of history in the different museums.
There are good connections to the town from other parts of the county, and further afield, with direct trains arriving in Poole from London, Weymouth, Southampton, Bournemouth, with easy connections in Southampton to Winchester, Portsmouth and the North of England/Scotland.
The nearest airport is Southampton, but not too far away are the five main London Airports, as well as Exeter International Airport in Devon.
Poole is the perfect place to relax by the sea, and you can enjoy neighbouring Bournemouth as well from here. Stay tuned for my next post, where we will explore the town of Bournemouth, and see what it has to offer.