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Poole is an attractive seaside town in Dorset, Southern England. The harbour is the heart and nerve centre of this old settlement. At the marina, where trading ships and fishing boats used to be, visitors now see fancy yachts and cruise boats. Lining the waterfront are several great restaurants, pubs and cafés, all worth spending some time in. Elsewhere are the famous Sandbanks beaches, arguably the top tourist attractions in town. Driving around in your own car to discover hidden gems within and around Poole is definitely an activity worth doing here.
Who to Book With
The car hire companies to be found in Poole include Europcar, Enterprise, Avis, Sixt, Alamo and several local car rental firms, such as Hendy, U-Drive and Abbey Hire. A few of these have offices in the Nuffield Industrial Estate, while some can be found near the Quay. When planning your holiday, it is always best to find the best deals on car rentals by comparing rates online.
Best Time to Go
Thanks to its location in Southern England, Poole enjoys a temperate climate with little variation in the weather year-round. Summer is a great time to visit, as rain is least likely to fall and temperatures are pleasant. The beaches are perfect in summer too.
Need to Know Essentials
The following will need to be presented when collecting your booked vehicle:
- Confirmation of the rental
- Your passport or any valid ID with a photo
- You credit card
- A UK licence or a International Driving Permit for foreigners
Poole is only two and a half hours from London; drivers can take the M3, continuing on to the M27 right before Southampton. The M27 then becomes the A31, and from Ringwood, drivers can follow signs all the way into Poole. From the west, the A35 is the best route to take. Drivers can also take the relatively new Twin Sails Bridge which connects Poole’s town centre to Hamworthy for access the west side of town. There are multi-storey car parks in town as well as some limited street-side parking.
There are plenty of options for visitors in regards to public transport in Poole. Tourists can come in by train, as there are three services that run hourly from London. Buses arrive frequently from other cities and run locally around the town. Taxis are easily hired in Poole as well, but hiring a car is really the ideal option as it gives you the flexibility to move around at your own pace.
There are four railway stations in and around Poole, all of which are very useful for those visiting the area. From east to west, the stations are Branksome, Parkstone, Poole and Hamworthy. South West Trains is the main operator here. Trains leave from London Waterloo three times an hour and from Weymouth twice hourly. Trains tickets can be bought at the major train stations, and a ticket can cover several trains operated by different companies in your journey. You can also purchase tickets online to pick-up at the station before you board. For those arriving into Poole by rail, it is recommended to purchase a Plusbus ticket costing an additional £3 but affording you unlimited travel on most local buses for the day.
Taxi companies are scattered around town and all can be booked over the phone. One cab company here is Dial-A-Cab Poole, which covers Poole and Bournemouth as the surrounding areas. Another outfit is South Coast Cabs, which specialises in long-distance trips.
Local and inter-city buses are plentiful in Poole. From London, National Express operates hourly buses that reach Poole in three hours on a ticket that costs about £18. Local buses are run by More Bus, which has a number of bus lines covering different parts of Poole, reaching Bournemouth and Castlepoint in the east and Hamworthy and Turlin Moor in the west. Visitors to Poole can purchase a Getting About Card for bus travel covering Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch.
Poole, an attractive seaside destination, boasts a number of great beaches, most of which are located in the exclusive Sandbanks area. There is also a lively waterfront area called the Poole Quay, complete with restaurants, shops and pubs. Those visiting in the summer will be treated to some amazing fireworks display too. You can also take your car to areas around and outside Poole and visit many worthwhile destinations during your holiday.
The New Forest - This is a national park about an hour northeast of Poole. This area is a very popular outdoors destination in Southern England, especially in the summer. There are lots of activities to be enjoyed in the beautiful surrounds of this park. You can hike, horse ride and bike around the area.
Upton County Park - This is another outdoor recreational area close to Poole’s town centre. This wooded area has many trails for those looking to enjoy the lovely scenery. It is also a birdwatchers’ paradise, and the main Upton House within the park offers guests tea and cake. The park is open all year round.
Bournemouth - Poole’s twin city, located immediately to the east. It has many attractions worth driving to from nearby Poole, such as the Bournemouth Oceanarium, the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum and, of course, its sandy beach, particularly popular in the summer months.