Poole Harbour is a large natural bay with several small islands in the southern part of the city. It has an intriguing history, with its shores having been inhabited for thousands of years. A boat from the Iron Age was discovered here. Watch the lifting of Poole Bridge, built in 1927 and spanning the waterway between the harbor and Holes Bay.
Ride a ferry to Brownsea Island to see its woodland and picturesque nature trails. Camp in the Outdoor Centre and learn about the history of Scouts and their connection to this particular island. Brownsea Castle and St. Mary’s Church are among the cultural highlights. Take photos of other forested parts of the archipelago, including Long Island, Furzey Island and Green Island. The islets are known for preservation of the rare red squirrel.
The harbor and its archipelago have many fascinating birds. Bring binoculars to search the water and the sky for the pied avocet, common shelduck and black-tailed godwit.
Discover various private marinas around the harbor to look at the yachts and sport boats. Many sites around the bay offer watersport activities and lessons. Practice kite surfing, windsurfing, kayaking and sailing.
Dine at one of many pubs and restaurants facing the water. Purchase souvenirs from the shops.
Learn about the 2,300-year-old Poole Logboat, which was excavated here and now displayed in the nearby Poole Museum along with other nautically themed items.
The harbor’s water is surprisingly shallow. This site played an important role in the Romans conquest of southern England. More recently, it was a major port. Its principal role now is passenger transportation.
Poole Harbour is south of the city center. Ferries depart from the quay beside Poole Museum with another stop near Poole Yacht Club. The harbor is served by Upton Lake and exits into the English Channel in the southeast. Regular ferries take passengers to the various islands and the northern coast of France. Find parking, for a fee, behind the harbor.