Home | News | Tips For Planning Your Summer Holiday in Poole

Summer is one of our favourite times of the year to spend in Poole. Between the area’s beautiful sandy beaches, plethora of fun and unique activities, and countless places to eat and drink, it’s no wonder Poole is such a popular holiday destination!

The area is family-friendly, dog-friendly, and an all-round fantastic place to visit, whether you prefer to be lounging on the sand or frolicking in the water. The town of Poole sits beside Europe’s largest natural harbour – Poole Harbour – which features rich habitats from salt marshes and sand dunes to heathland and islands, all home to some of the UK’s rarest species. The nearby beaches of Sandbanks and Bournemouth are some of the best in the country, whilst heading west brings you to Dorset’s famous Jurassic Coast.

To get the most out of your summer holiday in Poole, planning is essential, and some insider knowledge can go a long way… that’s where we come in!

Blue skies and blue seas surround golden sands in Sandbanks, where it’s easy to forget you’re not really in Spain…

Hidden Gems in Poole

Whilst you can’t go wrong with sunbathing on one of Poole’s golden beaches, trying a new water sport in the harbour, or wandering around Poole Old Town, there are loads of wonderful hidden gems tucked away in and around Poole for you to enjoy this summer. Here are some of our favourites…

Bournemouth Air Festival

If you brave the crowds at Bournemouth Air Show, you’ll be rewarded with the RAF Red Arrows soaring right overhead!

A very important thing to consider when planning your Poole summer holiday is the Bournemouth Air Festival which takes place on the last weekend of August and attracts hundreds of thousands of people each year. Even in Poole, you’ll notice an uptick in the number of visitors, especially in places like Sandbanks and Branksome.

Whilst the area will be very busy, it’s still well worth visiting. The incredible air displays – the Red Arrows, the Spitfire, the Typhoon, plus evening fireworks – truly take your breath away. They take place in Bournemouth Bay, so you’ll be able to catch the action from the further Poole beaches like Branksome Chine and even Sandbanks. We do also recommend heading down to the main Bournemouth beach at some point during the 4 day event; there are loads of things to do, including fairground rides and places to eat and drink. Just make sure you get there nice and early in the morning, which brings us to our next suggestion…

Get to the beaches early

Poole and the surrounding areas are a popular destination, especially during the summer, which means the roads leading into the area can get very busy. The busiest route is often the A338 leading into Bournemouth from Ringwood, and beyond that, the A31 into the New Forest towards Southampton.

If you’ve planned your holiday in advance, there’s no way to avoid the popularity of the coast during a heatwave! In fact, you’ll be lucky – cooling off in the sea will give you some respite from the heat – you just might need to get creative about where you go for a dip if you’re hoping to avoid crowds. Our ultimate Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole beach guide can help you make some informed decisions!

Generally, we recommend getting down to the beach as early as possible, especially when the weather is particularly nice. Aim to get there before 10am to have the best chance at securing parking and avoiding the traffic – our beach guide also details where to park.


Book Ahead

Poole is full of dog-friendly and family-friendly things to do and places to visit. From dog-friendly pubs like The Kings Head and The Grasshopper to year-round dog-friendly beaches at Lake Pier, Hamworthy and parts of Sandbanks, you won’t be short of things to do with the whole family, no matter the number of legs! Poole is also a very family-friendly area, with lots of unique things to do with your kids, whatever their age and preferences. Take a look at our blog, 26 family-friendly things to do in South Dorset, for loads of ideas – whether you’re a creative family, active, or adventurous.

Make sure you book ahead for these activities, as they are very popular!

Image: rambling_retriever

Swanage Railway, which runs from Norden, about a 20 minute drive from Poole. The heritage railway attraction operates full-size steam and diesel passenger trains along the five and a half miles of line from Norden to Corfe Castle and down to the Victorian seaside town of Swanage. Dogs are allowed on the trains – though they need to stay on the floor, and on a lead. They also need their own ticket, though this can result in some adorable pictures like the one above!

Head to Poole Quay to hop on a cruise with your dog! There are lots of different cruises available, such as a trip around Poole Harbour or along the Jurassic Coast to see incredible natural sights like Old Harry Rocks and Durdle Door. Your dog can join you as long as they promise to be good, and you’ll be able to create some lasting memories with your furry friends.

Create is a craft studio located opposite the tearoom at Upton Country Park. It’s a place for you and the kids to get creative, with pottery painting, sand art, build-a-bear, decopatch, model-making and more! The best part is there’s no studio fee; booking is free, and you only pay for the pottery or kit you use. Glazing and firing of your painted pottery is included in the price. I went with friends a few weeks ago and painted some sweet little salt and pepper shakers!

A few miles west of Poole you’ll find the award-winning Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park which features a massive amount of indoor and outdoor activities including pedal go-karts, deer feeding, bouncy castles, tractor-trailer rides and soft play areas. Their range of animals include donkeys and ponies, guinea pigs and rabbits, alpacas, cows, sheep, pigs, birds and goats.

Poole Park is a brilliant family-friendly place to head in the summer, with watersports, play areas and refreshments abound.

Nearby Places to Explore

The Blue Pool

Part of the Furzebrook Estate, the Blue Pool Nature Reserve and Tearooms is a true gem in the heart of the Isle of Purbeck, a 25 minute drive from Poole. The striking colour of the water is caused by the diffraction of light from the tiny particles of clay deep within the pool, creating one of the most beautiful areas to explore near Poole this summer.

Kimmeridge Bay

Located on Dorset’s ancient Jurassic Coast, Kimmeridge Bay is a fantastic place to visit for hikers, surfers and fossil hunters alike. As well as its position as one of the county’s most fossil-rich bay, the area is famous for its safe swimming, rock pooling, canoeing, wind surfing and water sports, with excellent water visibility for snorkelers and divers.

Lulworth Cove

Drive half an hour outside of Poole to visit Lulworth Cove, a unique natural cove located next to the quaint village of West Lulworth. The perfectly rounded bay provides an incredible backdrop for a dip in the water or nearby hikes, with plenty of places to eat and drink around the village.

Image: Martin Hesp
You can hike between Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove. Just don’t forget your walking boots!
Durdle Door

Durdle Door is Dorset’s most famous sight. Not far from Lulworth Cove, the recognisable stone arch juts out into the water, drawing in countless visitors each year. The beach itself is also incredibly popular, but well worth a visit. The walk down to the beach can be challenging for those less mobile, so make sure you read the latest guidance before you visit.

Places to stay in Poole this summer

Poole is full of some beautiful places to stay, from little holiday cottages in Poole’s Georgian Old Town to large, sprawling holiday homes on the beautiful Sandbanks peninsula. Take a look at our full Poole accommodation guide to find out the best areas to stay in Poole this summer!

Here are some examples of what’s on offer for your summer holiday in Poole this year…

Image: Joe Logan
Get your classic British seaside town fix in Poole’s Georgian old town this summer.

Twin Palms, Parkstone

Sleeps 10

Twin Palms is one of our larger holiday homes in Poole, as a modern and stylish four-bedroom, three-bathroom detached house. Two dogs are permitted to join you in the downstairs of the holiday cottage, with French doors in the living room opening onto a private courtyard garden. This Poole holiday rental can sleep up to 10, with three double bedrooms and one bedroom with two bunk beds perfect for the kids.

Quay Cottage, Poole Quay

Sleeps 6

Quay Cottage benefits from breathtaking views of Poole Harbour thanks to its location metres from Poole Quay. This dog-friendly cottage in Poole has been thoughtfully renovated in a contemporary style and beautifully furnished and decorated in harmony with its seafront location. The private, enclosed courtyard is well presented and equipped with outdoor dining furniture and a BBQ. The cottage has room for one dog to join you, and your family will love the roll-top bath and Smart TVs in every bedroom!

Walk a few minutes westwards and you’ll reach the main Poole Quay, which is lined with an array of restaurants, bars and cafes for you to enjoy. East, you’ll find Baiter Park, which is a dog-friendly area perfect for walks.

Candle Island View, Poole Quay

Sleeps 6

This stylish, contemporary, dog-friendly holiday accommodation near Poole Quay offers the perfect base from which to enjoy views out across the harbour. The delightful location is home to a diverse selection of restaurants and bars, all within a leisurely stroll. The house is a haven for both you and your furry companions, offering captivating views from every floor, a charming balcony, and a cosy courtyard garden for your four-legged friends to enjoy.

Visit Poole with Quay Holidays

Ready to plan your summer holiday to Poole? We know you’ll love it just as much as we do, and we’re here to help you every step of the way.

Our range of self-catering holiday properties in Poole are each beautifully unique – whatever you’re looking for, we’re passionate about finding the perfect holiday property for you. From quaint cottages for two to spacious, modern five-bedroom houses, we’re proud to offer a true home-from-home experience on Dorset’s stunning Jurassic Coast.

Based in Poole’s historic Old Town, we provide a comprehensive full-management service to ensure your holiday is as perfect as can be.

Whether you’re booking a last-minute weekend getaway or your next big family holiday, browse our range of self-catering properties or get in touch with us to get started.

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