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Poole is a popular coastal town on Dorset’s stretch of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, an ideal place to visit on a cottage holiday. A lively town, whose population swells with summer visitors, it lives to the rhythm of the sea, claiming the world’s second largest natural harbour after Sydney and one of the most important yachting and maritime centres in the UK. The town has a lovely old heritage area to the north of the harbour, with narrow streets and quaint buildings constructed during the period of prosperity brought by merchant seamen in centuries past, and a modern, buzzy, harbour area which also houses the Brownsea Island nature and wildlife reserve.
Opportunities for those basing themselves in the area during a holiday cottage stay are many and varied, from the nearby beaches of upmarket Sandbanks, a peninsula stretching across Poole harbour, to the peace of the New Forest which is within easy reach; the excellent coastal walking tracks of the South West Coastal Path and a host of designated family attractions are close to the town, with neighbouring Bournemouth offering additional leisure opportunities.
Poole offers shopping to cater for all holidaymakers’ needs; the Dolphin Shopping Centre is a large retail complex, whilst the High street offers a mixture of mainstream and independent retailers. A Farmers and general market is held each Thursday. Poole Quay makes a natural starting point for discovering the down, with a host of traditional pubs and international eating places serving a wide variety of foods. The Poole Cockle Trail is an excellent walking tour tracing the town’s rich history and heritage, a copy of which is available from the Visitor Centre on the quay. Buildings, sights and places of interest are numbered and referenced, and are as varied as churches dating from the sixteenth century to the locations of fights of famous Poole pirates, to the gleaming craft of Sunseeker’s multi-million pound yachts, sold to the rich and famous today and much loved by a certain James Bond. The trail winds up at the recently redeveloped Poole Museum, a great afternoon’s visit with plenty to keep the kids entertained, plus a Poole pottery display and lovely rooftop terrace with sweeping harbour views.
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