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Spend a fun day at the beach whilst on a cottage holiday. Poole’s beaches have been acclaimed for their cleanliness and quality for many years. Among the best is repeated Blue Flag award winner, Sandbanks, which offers safe, clean bathing and three miles of superb sandy beach, with canoes, pedaloes and windsurfs all available for hire in season. Nearby Canford Cliffs offers a lovely, gradually shelving sandy beach backed by steep cliffs abundant with wildlife. Hamworthy Park Beach, on the northern side of Poole’s harbour, has more of a traditional seaside resort feel to it, with rows of multi-coloured beach huts and a seafront cafe.

Brownsea Island is a peaceful wildlife haven just twenty minutes ferryboat ride from Poole Quay. This stretch of land has worn a variety of guises over the years, from a place of pottery production to a Second World War decoy island intended to protect Poole’s harbour. Nowadays, it is renowned for the proliferation of natural habitats it enjoys, which includes woodland, wetlands, shoreline and heath, as well as being an important centre for red squirrels and a variety of wildfowl and wading birds. The island is criss-crossed with wildlife and nature trails ideal for couples, families and children to enjoy; start at the Visitor Centre to get the most out of any visit.

Compton Acres is a worthwhile visit from Poole; located in the Sandbanks area of town. A short drive from the centre, this is a lovely parkland area comprising stunning individually themed gardens spread over ten acres. Lavish Italian Gardens, Water and Rock Gardens, Kids’ Play Area, Woodland walks and many more make this a varied and fun-filled place to spend time. You’ll also find some lovely view points, places to picnic, restaurants, a Visitor centre, delicatessen selling locally-produced goods and much more. Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park at nearby Organford, just outside Poole, will be sure to keep younger children entertained. Attractions include milking time, tractor rides, woodland walks, indoor and outdoor bouncy castles, and the Straw Mountain fun play area. Very little ones are well catered for too, with a soft play area for the under fifteen months, as well as practical services such as bottle warming, high chairs and baby changing areas.

Read part one of this blog on self catering cottage holidays in Poole and Sandbanks.

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