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Abtot Logo. Encounter Walking Holidays member number 5357


Poole is the decompression chamber for Coast Path Walkers - you are either stocking up here eager to head off for the coves, or this is the end of a long trail and the location for a spot of post walk indulgence.


Either way it serves your requirements well. Excellent transport links make this an easy location to get to. There are regular National Express Coaches to London (3 hours) and direct trains straight into London Waterloo taking just over 2 hours.  Poole is large enough to have plenty of good restaurant and accommodation options from B&B’s through to luxury hotels if you decide to have a last night splash out.


The Old Town Harbour and Poole Quay are a pleasant mix of old smugglers' passageways and elegant houses built by rich merchants in the 17th and 18th centuries. Regal buildings housing pubs and restaurants mix with redeveloped warehouses. There are some interesting public sculpture works on the Quayside walk, and with the harbour below you it's a good place for an evening stroll. The Lighthouse Arts Centre here is the largest in England outside of London and so worth checking as there is a good chance there will be something of interest on.


Historically the town itself grew on a fearsome reputation for one thing only - pirates! Though long since gone, the area of the town around Sandbanks sees a different type of riches on display, the real estate there being the fourth most expensive area of property in the world! The harbour here is the largest natural harbour in Europe and second in the world only to Sydney, and within its confines there is a lot to see and do for anyone taking an extra day here.


The Poole Waterfront Museum covers the pirates and smuggling history in some detail, as well as housing the famous Poole Log boat. Over 2,200 years old and made from a single oak tree, this vessel was plucked from the water here in 1964 and originally would have held 18 paddlers.


For those who are inspired enough to take to the seas themselves, you can hire kayaks, dinghies, go kite surfing or learn to sail at one of the well renowned sailing schools. Poole’s beaches consistently win the European Blue Flag awards and there are over 3 miles of sandy beach for those who just want to relax having finally got to the end of their trail.


If however you still want to explore on foot, then you should not miss taking a ferry out to Brownsea Island. Easy walking here through pinewoods, heaths and lagoons reveal superb wildlife ranging from the Sika deer and peacocks brought here by the Victorians to avocets, peregrine, little egret and kingfisher. In the lagoons, over 20 species of dragonfly mix with rare water vole and lizards, and this is one of the last southern locations of the Red Squirrel, who live here protected from the greys by a conservation project.

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