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Poole is a pretty harbour town with long sandy beaches

© Creative Commons / slideshow bob

Poole beaches, Dorset

The beautiful coastline of Dorset is dotted by several thriving, busy traditional seaside resorts and is an extremely popular summer destination. Poole is a pretty harbour town, which attracts lots of moneyed yachters, and is also close to some of the UK's most expensive real estate.


There's a fabulous Blue Flag sandy beach in the Sandbanks area, 5km (3 miles) southeast of Poole, which has great facilities and is ideal for families. But best is Studland, accessible via 'chain' ferry from Poole, thus called because it is pulled along by a chain. You'll arrive at 5km (3 miles) of white sand, backed by dunes and lapped by blue and turquoise sea.

Beyond the beach

Christchurch, 17km (11 miles) east along the coast, is more tranquil than Poole, and has a spectacular 11th-century priory, with fantastic views from its 36m (120ft) tower.

Family fun

Poole has a lovely old quarter, packed with historic medieval buildings. From the quay you can catch a ferry to Brownsea Island, covered in heath and woods, to wander its trails and spot its wildlife (including birds and red squirrels), or take the chain ferry to Studland. On the outskirts of town are the beautiful Compton Acres, with seven themed gardens.

There are opportunities on all the local beaches to take courses in windsurfing and kite-boarding or rent canoes, jet skies and sailing dingies. Horse riding is another option at nearby Studland stables (

Splashing out

Stay at Poole's Hotel du Vin (, set in the 18th-century Mansion House. Rooms are large and lush, with soft and gleaming white linen and the furniture is in keeping with the characterful old mansion in which it is set. Breakfasts are generous and you can dine and wine taste in the brasserie.

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