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When the sun is shining in Poole, many of the city’s visitors make their way to the coast to enjoy a variety of sports, sand and adventure. For those seeking a change of pace – and looking for the perfect place for little ones who don’t want to get wet – Poole Park is waiting for you.

The region is a year-round favourite for holidaymakers. Nestled between Bournemouth and Weymouth, Poole is a popular destination for those enjoying well-earned cottage holidays in Dorset. At its heart, nestled in the waters of Poole Harbour, is the Victorian Poole Park. The area is famous for aquatic birds, and its meticulously maintained eco-system. It also has plenty of little touches that make it a prime destination for all types of visitors.

Iain A Wanless

Here are some of the great reasons why a visit to Poole Park should be on your next holiday itinerary:

Best known for its aquatic birds and miniature railway, Poole's Victorian park is a great venue for relaxing and playing. It was opened in 1890 by Edward VII when he was the reigning Prince of Wales. The controlled saltwater lake fed by Poole Harbour serves as the park’s southern border. It includes a meandering footpath with benches, shore birds and beautiful views of the Purbeck Hills in the distance.

The park covers an area of more than 100 acres with 60 percent being the calm, clear water of the lake. It was made a protected Conservation Area in 1995, and there have been a number of private, public and charitable efforts to improve the park’s infrastructure and facilities.

Some of the great amenities include a seasonal children's ice rink, playground areas, cricket pitches, water sport launches and venues, a miniature golf course, putting green and tennis courts. There is also a variety of outdoor gym equipment.

Lets Go Out Bournemouth and Poole

The Kitchen and The Ark

At the heart of the park, there are two private businesses that help make it a great family destination. When The Kitchen and its partner and kids entertainment venue The Ark opened last year, they were welcomed with enthusiasm and cheer. The Kitchen makes its home in an impressive glass-fronted building with amazing views across the water.

Perfect for lunch, dinner, light snacks or a cup of tea, The Kitchen makes the most of its wonderful surroundings. Alongside the glass building, waterfront seating makes the restaurant a treasure when the sun is shining on Poole. It is open daily for breakfast, as well as drinks and snacks.

Connected to The Kitchen, The Ark does a great job providing the kids with a fun and safe place to play. The venue provides a three-level indoor soft play area complete with slides, tunnels and interactive zones. For visitors up to 11 years old, it is the perfect choice when the weather is not cooperating. There is also a play area dedicated to toddlers. The Ark also features an indoor skating rink.

To satisfy your sweet tooth after all that playing, you can pick yourself up a cone at Scoops – a gourmet ice cream café.

All aboard!

The park offers other reasons to smile. Poole Park Trains offers visitors a miniature rail line that runs between the park and the nearby town centre. Running on a seasonal schedule, the railway has been making journeys since the late 1940s. Thousands of riders enjoy riding on replicas of steam trains, commuter railcars and even the Eurostar. They offer special events including Easter and Christmas-themed adventures, as well as historical re-enactments.

If looking for something a bit faster than the train, Poole Park also features adventure water sports. On the quieter waters of the lake, Rockley provides a great opportunity to take part in some water-based activities. The licensed instructors from Rockley offer courses in introductory sailing, windsurfing and kayaking on the park’s lake.

Lets Go Out Bournemouth and Poole