During a weekend staycation in Dorset, we decided to spend an afternoon at Poole Quay before going to our hotel in nearby Bournemouth. Read on to find out what Poole has to offer its visitors, where to shop, eat and visit.
Parking can always be a problem when visiting tourist attractions, but the main multi-storey carpark was well signposted and situated just a few yards from the quayside. It cost £1 per hour (payment on exit).
Our main purpose of visiting Poole was to have a boat trip around the islands. Run by Brownsea Island Ferries (the yellow one) or Greenslade Ferries, the trip lasts about an hour, leaving at half hourly intervals and cost £11.50 per adult. No pre-booking was needed and you just purchase tickets from the kiosk opposite the mooring. The first part of the trip (20 mins) takes you to Brownsea Island where you can get off and visit – entry to the island is £8 pp on top of your ferry fee.
Most of us chose to stay on the boat for the rest of the tour around the other islands and then back to Poole quay. There was an interesting onboard commentary that gave enough information, but didn’t go on too much or impede your enjoyment of the trip. Swanage, Wareham and Jurassic Coast cruises are also available from the same destination. They are something I would definitely want to go back and do one day.
The sea air had worked up an appetite so we searched out some reviews of where to eat. Poole quay has an abundance of eateries, most of which seemed reasonably priced. We opted for the Rope and Anchor, a topsy turvy pub/restaurant hidden away one street back from the quayside.
We arrived at 1.45 only to find there were no tables. Luckily someone finished soon after so we were able to have their table which was quickly cleared and cleaned.
Food is ordered at the bar. A straightforward roast with a choice of 6 different meats with options to have 1-6 portions of meat!!!
The 40 minute wait for food seemed rather long but the owner did come and apologise as a party of 10 had ordered just before us. I think it was just a case of bad timing on our behalf as another table who came in much later was served immediately after us. The table area was a pleasant relaxed environment with a great 80s soundtrack in the background.
Wow, it was certainly worth the wait though! Huge portions of 3 different freshly steamed veg, 3 big roast potatoes, huge homemade Yorkshire pudding and a mass of quality meat were served piping hot. I had turkey and my husband had beef and chicken. Both were served with a side of cranberry and horseradish sauce respectively. If I had one tiny negative it would have been the packet stuffing. It just didn’t fit with all the other lovely fresh ingredients. May I recommend they use my nan’s homemade stuffing recipe, it’s so quick and easy to make.
That was my only niggle, they served great food at a great price, with friendly service in a nice location. We would definitely eat there again.
With no room for pudding, we took a gentle stroll around the shops and Poole quayside. If you visit, do check out Purbeck Pottery and Quayside Emporium where you can find a huge variety of arts and crafts and independent retailers and stock up on some Dorset Tea.
There is not masses to do here but certainly enough for an afternoon, and there’s a fair amount of free activities too. You might like to:
* Visit the Tourist Information Centre which is also home to Poole Museum and discover historical artecfacts.
* Have a wander around Scalpens Court Gardens, which is located at the back of The Rope & Anchor.
* Walk further along the Quayside is the RNLI Museum. You’ll find a crabbing area here too.
* Take part in the Cockle Trail self-guided walk to discover all of Poole’s past and recent history. You can download maps or get a printed version from the Poole Museum.
There’s some lovely old architecture that blends in well with the new, and of course, all the fishing boats, yachts and Sunseeker cruisers on the water’s edge are interesting to see.
More photos from this trip can be viewed on the Tea & Cake for the Soul Facebook Page
If you are looking for hotels in this area, make your bookings via booking.com or hotels.com but do it through Topcashback or Quidco then you will get cashback too.