Poole Area Guide
Poole boasts the world’s second largest natural harbour. Unsurprisingly, the earliest records of the town state that it was primarily a port, and played an important role in the local wool trade. Poole’s population boomed during the Industrial Revolution, and it was during this time that the property styles started to shift; from medieval dwellings to smart Victorian terraces.
These days, it’s not only a popular location for residents; it also draws holiday-makers in their droves, particularly to scenic Sandbanks. Indeed, this area is a desirable hotspot for celebrities, and the surrounding areas, such as Lower Parkstone and Lilliput, are also in high demand.
Poole has something to offer everyone, from cosy one-bedroomed apartments in the centre of town, to sprawling palatial-style homes by the beach. Sandbanks is undeniably the area’s most prestigious neighbourhood, with average property prices being in the millions. Many of the houses there are designed by top international architects. Lilliput also has its fair share of impressive multi-million-pound homes, and Canford Cliffs and Branksome Park are other areas famed for their large-scale detached properties.
There are plenty of attractive semi-detached and terraced homes in places like Parkstone, with a range of architectural styles in evidence; from 1920s houses with large driveways, to attractive Victorian abodes. Hamworthy and Upton are good areas to search if you’re on a budget, as there are some excellent modern-build houses and apartments here at affordable prices. Best of all, these neighbourhoods are still close to the beach.
Schools in Poole
There are plenty of well-regarded schools in Poole, both primary and secondary. In 2017, Ofsted’s Regional Director for the South-West commented on the town’s educational improvements; something that was evident in most of the local schools. He also stated that these establishments had performed above national levels in almost every area.
For example, primary schools like Baden Powell and St Peter’s Church of England Junior School had 75% of their students achieving the expected standard or higher. The average for the country is 61%. Bearwood Primary and Nursery School and Heatherlands Primary School also scored highly.
As for the secondary schools? Parkstone Grammar is one of the best regarded schools in the region, and was rated ‘outstanding’ in its most recent Ofsted report. Poole Grammar School is another popular choice, as is Talbot Heath School, which saw 94% of its students achieve 5 or more GCSE passes (the national average is 60%).
There are big plans in place for Poole’s regeneration, such as the transformation of the town centre, which the local council hope to start soon. Their goal is to create a more appealing environment to live and work in, while offering more sustainable transport options. The regeneration efforts will also recognise Poole’s illustrious history, and celebrate its unique heritage.
Plans are in place to create a Heritage Action Zone programme, and to attract funding for Poole Museum; another draw for visitors coming to the area.
Poole is well connected, whether you’re looking to travel by air, sea or land. There are four airports close by (under an hour and a half’s journey away); Bournemouth, Southampton, Bristol and Exeter. Alternatively, if you’re flying out of London, there are National Express coaches to take you to Heathrow or Gatwick in around two to three hours.
There are also ferry services running to and from Poole harbour. These carry travellers all over Europe, especially to France, which takes just a few hours.
Poole station is on the South Western line, and is ideal for those wanting to reach Bournemouth or Dorchester. It also takes commuters to London Waterloo. The county is proud to say that it’s one of the few that doesn’t have a motorway running through it, but this doesn’t mean travelling by car is a slow process. In fact, there are plenty of main roads connecting drivers to their destination.
Eating and drinking
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to dining out in Poole. There’s everything on offer; from traditional pub lunches, to fine continental dining. It’s not surprising, given the proximity to the coast, that fish is something of a speciality in the area too.
Locations like The Guildhall Tavern and Rick Stein are ideal for seafood fans, though plenty of other styles of cuisine are also represented. For example, Isan Thai is one of Poole’s best-loved Asian eateries, and The Little Teapot is the ideal place to stop for a cup of tea and a slice of cake.
Things to do in Poole
Of course, the beach is a highlight in Poole. However, there’s much more to the area than sea and sand. For youngsters, attractions like Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park and Paultons Family Theme Park are incredibly popular, and Poole Stadium Greyhound Racing still draws in the crowds in the evening.
The Dolphin Shopping Centre is ideal for a spot of retail therapy, with many of the UK’s best-loved high street stores in situ. Animal lovers will also enjoy Monkey World, which has previously featured on television.