Travel with kids: Poole (Dorset) sand beaches, cruising & ghost town tours

Poole’s official motto is Surf, Rest and Play. Whether this resonates with you or not, Poole is a great destination for families with kids of any age. The official tourism office calls Poole the Coast with the Most.

For families based in London, Poole is the ideal weekend getaway not just during a hot Summer but also in Winter and here is why.


Here I am with Diego cruising Poole Harbour

A quick journey. Poole is 2 hours away from London on a direct train from London Waterloo. If you travel with enough entertainment for the children and a good book for yourself, you will find yourself in this magic little town in no time. If you drive to Poole, just make sure to avoid the rush hours and the season peak times. November is apparently a great month to visit Poole and pay also a visit to the Jurassic Beach. I haven’t done this yet but after this visit I am definitely planning a Winter trip to Dorset.

Poole trip monica & Diego DSC_0319

Enjoying our fish & chips on board of our BlueLine Cruise

Stunning, Blue Flag Awarded Beaches. Poole hasBritain’s best beach, Sandbanks  where kids can build the biggest sandcastles with fine soft sand. Apparently the Beckhams used to rent a villa there for a family holiday. Poole is famous for the watersports too! From Windsurfing, Kitesurfing, Water-skiing, Wake-boarding,Kayaking  & Stand-up paddleboarding, you can do them all.


Family-friendly restaurants and hotels. Poole is a family orientated town whose economy relies very much on tourists. Locals are very friendly and happy to accommodate family’s requests.

As the final week of the Summer is coming to an end it was an amazing finale to visit Poole even for a day which I didn’t considered before as I never went beyond Bournemouth. To my biggest surprise, Poole is much prettier and not much further away.

Once arrived at the train station, a quick taxi ride took us to the quay where we boarded a City Cruises boat (BlueLine Cruises) for a sightseeing around the harbour.


Our lovely City Cruises with the Captain waiting for us

During our cruise that lasted well over an hour,we sailed through Poole Harbour enjoying splendid views of Brownsea Island & Castle, Sandbanks and Shell Bay.


Brownsea Island & Castle

Then we headed to the fantastic white free-standing Old Harry Rocks.


Old Harry Rocks – this was favourite sightseeing for my 8 year old son Diego

I heard that City Cruises in Poole also organise trips to the Jurassic Coast which is on my list of top ten things to do before I reach my 50th birthday (I still have plenty of time….).


Shiellhall Glasgow, the last working steamship in Europe

Parked next to the Blue Line Boat that took us for the cruise was the Shiellhall Glasgow, the last remaining working steam ship in Europe. What an excitement and honour hearing her loud whistling on the quay. That sound made us go back in time for a second….


Victorian Ghost Walk Tour Granny Cousin

To take us really back in time was local Victorian character Granny Cousins who wasted no time in getting us in the mood for her ghost walk around Old Poole Town. Pity it was during the day, because I guess at night it would have been a bit scary….


Old Poole Town

The tour was filled with fascinating historical facts about Poole and some of the people that have lived, worked and….haunted this ancient fishing port. It was most certainly educational, entertaining and lots of fun for all the family.


Great ghost stories with no ghosts sights unfortunately (my 8 year old son kept reminding me that he did not believe in any of that stuff unless he saw a real ghost!) – this served the purpose to bring the history of Poole to life. 

Facts & curiosities about Poole


 1- In the 12th century the town began to emerge as an important port, prospering with the introduction of the wool trade.

2- In the 18th century Poole was one of the busiest ports in Britain.

3- During the Second World War, the town was one of the main departing points for the D-Day landings of the Normandy Invasion.

4- Stats: 2.75 million day visitors …. 0.5m staying visitors … 5000 jobs

5- Poole has three of the oldest Scout Association groups in the world.

6- In Poole there are various company HQ’s including Merlin, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), Sunseeker, LV, Poole Pottery and Lush, a company making fresh handmade cosmetics that opened the first store there.

7-Poole is Europe’s Largest Natural Harbour and is the entry point for viewing Jurassic Coast from the water plus Ornithological paradise …

8- Poole hosts extensive special events including the UK’s biggest and best weekly motorcycle meet.


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