Upton Country Park consists of over 160 acres of parkland, including woodland trails, formal gardens and shoreline. In addition, there are tea rooms, an art gallery and a children’s play area.
The park is located 8 miles west of Bournemouth, 3 miles north of Poole, just off the A350. There is plenty of parking (Pay & Display – £1.50 per hour or £40 for an annual pass). There is no direct bus from Bournemouth; travelling by bus requires a change in Poole (More Bus 8/10 or Breezer 40). On my last visit, I caught the bus to Poole then hired a Beryl Bike to cycle the final three miles, which is a pleasant traffic free route around Holes Bay.
The grounds are open daily from 8 am to 9 pm from April to September (until 6 pm from October to March). Admission is free.
Within the grounds of the park is Upton House; a grade II listed Georgian mansion, which opens to the public for tours approximately twice per month. The house was built in 1816-18 for Christopher Spurrier. He subsequently had to sell it, together with his possessions, to pay his gambling debts. He allegedly lost his final piece of silver in a maggot race – who knew maggots could race? After changing hands a few times, the house and grounds were gifted to the Town of Poole in 1957.
The lawns of the house are a popular place for ball games and picnics, or just somewhere to relax on a summer’s day, enjoying the sunshine (or the shade, if that’s your thing).
The walled garden contains formal beds and borders and is a pleasant place for a stroll or a picnic.
The shoreline is not only scenic, but provides the opportunity to observes the plentiful wildlife in the bay. There is a recently installed bird hide for birdwatching enthusiasts.
There are walking/cycling trails throughout the park. (Note, the trails are gravel, so more suitable fore mountain bikes). Or you could run them…
Events are organised in the park throughout the years, such as the Upton House Food Festival, music festivals, outdoor cinema and plenty of activities for adults and children, such as Create @ Upton Country Park, which offers crafts like bear making and sand art. Free Park Yoga takes place every Sunday Morning during the summer.
There are plenty of opportunities to run around the trails of Upton Country Park. Upton House Parkrun takes place here every Saturday at 9 am. In addition, there are other running events, such as the Upton Summer Series and MoRunning.