We decided to spend a couple of hours at Poole Quays en route to our hotel in Bournemouth. The main multi-story carpark was well signposted, situated a few yards from the Quays and cost £1 ph (payment on exit).
Our main purpose was to have a boat trip around the islands. There are two operators: Brownsea Island Ferries (the yellow one) and Greenslade Ferries. The trip lasts about an hour, leaving at half hourly intervals and cost £11.50 per adult. No pre-booking was needed and you just purchase tickets from the kiosk opposite the mooring. Other destinations are available too.
The first part of the trip lasts about 20 minutes and takes you to Brownsea Island where you can get off for a walk around, although this costs an additional £8 per person entry. Or just stay on the boat for the rest of the tour which goes around the other islands and then back to the Quays.
There was an interesting onboard commentary that gave enough information but didn’t go on too much, thus not impeding on your enjoyment of the trip.
TIP: Even though it was a nice day it was blowy out on the water so take a hoody or light jacket with you.
WHERE TO EAT
The sea air had worked up an appetite so we searched out some reviews of where to eat. Poole has an abundance of eateries, most of which seemed reasonably priced. We opted for the Rope and Anchor, a topsy turvy pub/restaurant hidden away one street back from the Quayside.
We arrived at 1.45pm only to find there were no tables. Luckily, someone finished soon after, so we were able to have their table which was quickly cleared and cleaned.
You order your food is ordered at the bar. The Sunday menu was a straight forward roast with choice of 6 different meats, priced with options to have 1-6 portions of meat!!!
The 40 minute wait for food seemed rather long but the owner did come and apologise as a party of 10 had ordered just before us. I think it was just a case of bad timing on our behalf as another table who came in much later was served immediately after us. The table area was a pleasant relaxed environment with a great 80s soundtrack in the background.
Boy was it worth the wait though! Huge portions that were served piping hot. 3 different freshly steamed veg, 3 big roast potatoes, huge homemade Yorkshire pudding and a mass of quality meat. I had turkey, my husband had beef and chicken. Both were served with a side of cranberry and horseradish sauce respectively. If I had one tiny negative it would have been the packet stuffing. It just didn’t fit with all the other lovely fresh ingredients. May I recommend my nan’s homemade recipe instead?
Great food, great price, friendly service in nice location. We would definitely eat there again.
AROUND THE QUAY
With no room for pudding, we took a gentle stroll around the shops and quayside. If you visit, do check out Purbeck Pottery and Quayside Emporium where you can find a huge variety of arts and crafts and independent retailers and stock up on some Dorset Tea.
There’s not masses to do here but enough for an afternoon certainly, and there’s a fair amount of free activities. Visit the Tourist Information Centre which is also home to Poole Museum. At the back of the Rope and Anchor is Scalpens Court Gardens, and further along the Quayside is the RNLI Museum. You’ll find a crabbing area here too. There’s some lovely old architecture that blends in well with the new, and of course, all the fishing boats, yachts and Sunseeker cruisers on the water’s edge are interesting to see. There are also a couple of interactive trails around the area.
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