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Introducing Poole

Exactly where Poole begins and Bournemouth ends is hard to tell, as the towns’ outskirts simply merge together as you move west along the coastline; but it doesn’t take long to realise Poole is an altogether more attractive place than its brash, busy sister just along the bay. The town has grown up around its pretty old harbour, which was once busy with fishing boats and trading vessels, and now bustles with designer yachts and cruise boats heading to the offshore islands around the bay. The quay area is dotted with restaurants and salty old pubs, and the Sandbanks area has an excellent beach and is a popular centre for water sports.

The tourist office (253253; www.pooletourism.com; Poole Quay; 9.15am-6pm Jul-Aug, 10am-5pm Apr-Jun & Sep-Oct, 10am-4pm Mon-Sat Nov-Mar) is on the quay.