100 Things to do in (and around) Bournemouth 69 – Poole Quay

The historic Poole Quay, once used to moor ocean going ships, is now the home of harbour cruises and pleasure boats. The half mile log stretch running west to east from the Lifeboat Station at one end to the Old Lifeboat Station at the other is now a popular tourist destination. Lined with bars and restaurants with seating providing great views across the Harbour, catering now to tourists rather than sailors and pirates.

Poole Quay
Poole Quay

Poole Museum

Housed in a former grain storage warehouse, Poole Museum is the place to go to learn about Poole’s History. It also houses the Tourist Information Office. More about the museum can be found here.

Poole Museum
Poole Museum

Poole Old Lifeboat Museum

At the eastern end of the quay is Poole Old Lifeboat Museum. This former lifeboat station is now a museum telling the story of Poole’s lifeboats. It houses the Thomas Kirk Wright. This retired lifeboat not only saved lives in the harbour, but was one of 850 ‘little ships’ which sailed to Normandy in 1940 to rescue Allied troops trapped on the beaches. More about the museum can be found here.

Poole Old Lifeboat Museum
Poole Old Lifeboat Museum

Sea Music Sculpture

This huge sculpture by artist Anthony Caro invokes memories of cascading waves, sails and the echo of the sea. It is surrounded by an elevated walkway for better views of the sculpture and the quayside.

Sea Music Sculpture
Sea Music Sculpture

Restaurants

There are plenty of restaurants and cafes along the quayside. But for me, the seaside (quayside) is synonymous with Fish & Chips, so the obvious choice is Harlees. This award winning chip shop also sells plant based alternative; Vish & Chips (battered, deep fried jackfruit marinated in seaweed).

Harlees

Bars

The bars along the quayside were once the haunts of smugglers and pirates. The pirates may be gone, but many of the building retain their old charm. The uniquely green tiled Poole Arms is believed to be Poole’s oldest pub dating back to the early 17th Century.

Poole Quay Bars
Poole Arms

Baden Powell Statue

Sitting on a bollard overlooking Brownsea Island is a statue of Robert Baden Powell, founder of the Scout Movement. It was on Brownsea Island in 1907, that Baden Powell held his first scout camp.

Baden Powell Sculpture
Baden Powell Sculpture

Harbour Cruises

From here you can pick up a boat to set sail on a Harbour Cruise, or further afield along the Jurassic Coast to Swanage. There are a number of operators with ticket booths on the quayside.

Departing on a Harbour Cruise
Departing on a Harbour Cruise

The Brownsea Island Ferry also departs from here.

Brownsea Island and Ferries
Brownsea Island and Ferries

Sunseekers

Across the water, you can admire the work of Poole boatbuilders Sunseekers. Something for the shopping list?

Sunseekers
Sunseekers

Events

There is plenty going on around Poole Quay in the summer months. Annual events include Harry Paye Pirate Day, Poole goes Vintage and Poole Seafood Festival. I shall add next year’s events to the table as they become available.

Annual Events

MonthDate for 2022Event
September
October
November5thFireworks
December19th November – 2nd JanuaryChristmas Maritime Light Festival
MonthDate for 2023Event
January1stNew Year’s Day Bath Race
February
March
April
May14thMini Steam on the Quay
June3rd – 5thPoole Seafood Festival
JuneHarry Paye Pirate Day
JulyPoole Goes Vintage
August
September
October
NovemberFireworks
December

Weekly Summer Entertainment

In addition, during the summer there are events which take place on a weekly basis. You can wander along the quay admiring classic cars and bikes, enjoy live entertainment and firework displays.

DayDates for 2023Event
Monday
TuesdayPoole Dream Machines
Wednesday
ThursdayFireworks
FridayQuay for My Car
Saturday
Sunday
Bikes on Poole Quay
Bikes on Poole Quay

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