Dorset is one of the most versatile counties for travel in the UK, with beaches, hills, forests, open plains, large cities and watersports and harbours. There is very little missing in terms of fun, partying, nature or wildlife (maybe a mountain would finish it off), and this article is the second of the Dorset coastal cities I want to highlight. Bournemouth is a prettier city than Poole in many ways, but both have their own distinct charm and attraction, and will be good for different people. Nearby you can climb and ski in Hampshire, and there is an endless list of attractive villages in the UK.
In the past this was one of the central trading harbours on the southern coast of the UK, but now with much of that trade and shopping going to significantly larger ports and harbours, Poole Quay now is principally a tourist and pedestrian destination. That’s not to take anything away from the surprising beauty of the quay, which runs from the city centre to the edge of Poole Harbour. This harbour is at the middle of most activities in the city, and Is one of my favourite parts. The city has good shopping options and restaurants but isn’t really particularly inspiring as a place to visit itself.
In the picture above you can see some of the historical city centre features. The centre is not the nicest compared to other cities, but on a nice sunny day you wont regret coming to check it out.
Now if you want to get away from the more crowded city beaches of Poole and Bournemouth (which are right next to each other), then my advice would be to go find Studland Beach. Studland Beach or Studland Bay (depending on who you ask) is one of the nicest beaches on the southern coast – the only thing you have to be aware of is that there is a nudist section. I used to come to this beach by boat with my parents quite regularly and keeping it brief – you can tell which part is the nudist section and which isn’t. In my mind there’s absolutely nothing wrong with letting the breeze refresh all of you, but you wouldn’t want to arrive here not knowing about it.
I think there’s two reasons you’d want to visit Sandbanks. The first is to gawp at the houses and the second to enjoy the open and sandy beach. The Sandbanks area is known for being one of the most expensive areas of land in Europe, with house prices being an average 1.3 million Euros. They are not just expensive, but actually are quite beautiful, and the architectural style is very much nautical and beachy, which means lots of glass, metal, spacious areas and open fronts. This makes them perfect to wander down the streets and check out. Whilst it’s possible that envy will be a predominant emotion, try to control that and just enjoy the architecture and, if you need help to not feel bad about not being able to live there, imagine the size of their mortgages!
The Sandbanks Hotel is perfectly placed to enjoy a coffee or a beer on the sand, and look out over the nearby houses and bays.
In all honesty I prefer Bournemouth as a city, it’s a bit cleaner and nicer, and larger as well, but if you want to get a fuller impression of the Dorset coastline, then Poole is a good city to see alongside Bournemouth. Especially worth visiting are Sandbanks and Studland, as they perfectly represent the coastal beauty that inspires these coastal city articles.
Cover Picture credit © iStock/allou
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