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 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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
The Brownsea Island Ferry also departs from here.
Across the water, you can admire the work of Poole boatbuilders Sunseekers. Something for the shopping list?
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.
|Month||Date for 2022||Event|
|December||19th November – 2nd January||Christmas Maritime Light Festival|
|Month||Date for 2023||Event|
|January||1st||New Year’s Day Bath Race|
|May||14th||Mini Steam on the Quay|
|June||3rd – 5th||Poole Seafood Festival|
|June||Harry Paye Pirate Day|
|July||Poole Goes Vintage|
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.
|Day||Dates for 2023||Event|
|Tuesday||Poole Dream Machines|
|Friday||Quay for My Car|