Poole Quay

Hopping across the border to Poole is a trip down memory lane for me.

We left our leafy little Wiltshire village when I was 7 and moved to a small beachy suburb of Poole. My parents had their honeymoon on the Isle of White and then stayed in a small house for a few days after in where we later went on to buy our family home. It always held a place in their heart. When Dad found “the” perfect property, we left our friends and family and set up a new life in Dorset.

Every weekend after our sunday lunch, we’d take the short walk over the lifting bridge into Poole Quay. I would stare in awe at the luxury yachts lining the promenade and Mum would always be on the look out for the rich & famous visitors. Poole Quay has changed alot in these years, with the demolition of the Poole Pottery factory and the appearance of new multi-milion pound apartments, but every time I go back it’s as dreamy now as I remember all those years ago.

The Old Town highstreet is full of history. Famous visitors like Henry IVV and his wives once roamed these streets on horse and carriage and no doubt trawled their way through the number of pubs before departing once again on their wooden ships. Pirates historically took over Poole Quay and some pubs even pay tribute to them today.

Nestled within the history of the old High Street, the museum offers budding pirates a glimpse into the yesteryears of life in Poole.

Once you reach the Quay there is an abundance of touristic atmosphere. At this time of year, holiday makers from the across the country visit in their thousands for a slice of the warm summer micro-climate and the fish and chips lifestyle. We joined in the fun and hopped on a yellow boat cruise.

Me and Jennie hit the top deck and watched as the quay turned into a miniature town in the distance.

Sailor Scott was more interested in topping up his tan.

We made our way through the harbour and past the real sailors relishing in the light breeze.

Our first attraction along the way was Brownsea Island, the famous birthplace of the Scouts. Lord Baiden-Powell famously took his first group of explores to the island and the Scouts as we know them today were born. The island has changed very little in this time. Owned by the National Trust, its a haven for wildlife and at this time of year you can even catch some outside theatre in the castle grounds.

If you’re brave enough, you can make your way over by sea kayak. These guys clearly could not believe they’d made the crossing!

And before you know it, you’re at the entrance to Poole Harbour. A very narrow entrance which separates luxurious Sandbanks and Sandbanks. Just a few hundred metres wide, the chain ferry whisks cars from one side of the entrance to the other in a matter of minutes saving a 25 mile journey around Poole Harbour itself. As you pass through the entrance of the harbour, you also pass some of the most expensive properties in the UK. The 4th most expensive place to buy a square metre of land in the entire world is as mesmerising as the turquoise waters that glisten against their perfectly landscaped gardens.

And back to reality, we made our way out into the English Channel and into the World Heritage Site of the Jurassic Coast. Its very jurassic history has given this area its world accreditation and there are some amazing fossils still to be found. The devastating effects of coastal erosion is a very real threat on the South and as destroying as this natural beast can be, it also uncovers some archeological breakthroughs. You may be very lucky on a Jurassic Coast beach one day!

The crown jewels of our trip is Old Harry Rocks. Named after the Poole pirate Harry Paye, the smuggler who cheated the French, it is one of the most famous landmarks on the Dorset Coast. Its unusual formation created by coastal erosion once distracted sailors from the several several caves which surround it where smugglers would hide with their illegal tobacco and alcohol.

We circled back past the chalk cliffs one more time before turning back and heading for shore.

This is the face of a hungry sailor…

So its lucky that Poole Quay serves up the best that Dorset seafood has to offer. Jennie and Scott shared a pot of local cockles and musles, while I went all out with a large portion of fish and chips.

The perfect end to the perfect day on Poole Quay.

Brownsea Island Ferries offer cruises around the harbour just like ours, as well as a shuttle to and from Brownsea Island. You can visit their website here for prices and times, but arrive early and book you space and spend the rest of your time exploring all that the quay has to offer. Oh and don’t forget to pop into Poole Pottery and grab a gift for Nan!

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