Living in Poole
What is life like in Poole
Poole is a town that has been moving up in the world in recent years. Where it was once viewed as another English seaside resort popular for sunbathing and fish and chips, it is now dubbed the Marbella of Dorset by some thanks to its high-class surroundings and way of life.
Poole is home to the second largest natural harbour in the world and this is understandably a focal point of the town. However, as well as being an excellent area for all sorts of outdoor pursuits and activities, it is also an excellent hub for business. It is a vibrant place to live and manages to successfully combine its historic roots as a trading port, dating as far back as Roman times, with a modern, forward-thinking town that can attract the best in business, be this in the construction/manufacturing sector or the financial sector.
The RNLI headquarters are based in the town whilst major financial institutions such as Barclays, marine manufacturers Sunseeker International and Animal to name but a few have set up home in the area proving that there is a healthy respect for the work force in the area.
The town's name comes from a combination of the Celtic word 'bol' and the Old English word 'pool', which mean a location that is close a pool or creek. People have lived in the area for the last 2,500 years, with the Celts moving from Maiden Castle and Badbury Rings to heathland around the River Frome and the harbour in the third century.
Following the Norman invasion of England, Poole grew in prominence and became one of the country's major ports. In the 16th century, Poole established trade links with North America, including the fisheries of Newfoundland.
The town expanded at a rapid rate during the industrial revolution, with the area becoming one of prosperity mixed with overcrowded poverty. Some 90 per cent of people were involved in harbour-related activities, but as ships progressed they became too large for Poole's shallow waters and it lost business to Liverpool, Southampton and Plymouth.
During World War II, Poole played a key role in the D-Day landings, as it was the third largest embarkation point. Some 81 landing aircraft containing US troops left Poole for Omaha beach.
Later, some of the buildings in the old town area were demolished, so a 15-acre conservation area was set up to protect some of those that were left.
Several famous people call Poole home, including Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy author John Le Carre, while other celebrities to hail from the town are Wuthering Heights actress Rebecca Night and Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright.
Entertainment, sport and days out
Poole's magnificent harbour is probably at the centre of many people's days out in the town - a beautiful and enjoyable place to spend time either on it or taking a waterside stroll around it.
Poole Quay is a veritable mix of delight of old pubs, lovely restaurants and historic buildings, many with maritime connections, on one side of the quay whilst, at the same time, offering a great view of multi-million pound super yachts taking shape on the other side. There is always something to take ones interest in this working port.
For those who prefer to lie back and soak up the sun in one of the UK's warmest places, then Sandbanks peninsular is the place to go. One of Poole's many beaches, this magnificent stretch of sandy shoreline with crystal clear waters is a wonderful location for a spot of sunbathing or socialising.
Lighthouse, Poole's centre for the arts, is an attraction well worth visiting as it hosts a variety of productions and is also home to the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. The Twin Sails Bridge is another landmark in the town and any day out in Poole should involve crossing it by foot.
Sports fans will be well aware that the town is famous for its speedway team, the Poole Pirates, and catching them in action should be a must for all. Alternatively, football lovers can get their fix of the beautiful game by watching Poole Town FC.Brownsea Island, the largest of the islands in Poole Harbour, is where Lord Baden Powell founded the Scouting movement. A number of companies provide regular ferry crossings from Poole Quay, as it is just a few minutes away and this makes it a popular day trip destination. Some people might also like to head to any of the nearby nature reserves, Morden Bog, Hartland Moor and Stoborough Heath whilst Wareham Forest is also easily reached and offers great walks and nature trails.
Eating, drinking & shopping
There are many restaurants open in Poole, and unsurprisingly plenty have delicious fish dishes on their menus. Bingley's Bistro, The Little Teapot, Diva and Alghero are some of the most highly rated eateries in the town.
Plenty of pubs in Poole are recommended, including the New Beehive, Angel Inn and the Rising Sun. For a cold beverage in a traditional country pub, there are few better places in the country than Poole and the surrounding areas such as the historic villages of Wareham and Corfe Castle or the seaside town of Swanage.
What's more, if people ever find they are at a loose end, the vibrancy and bustling nature of Bournemouth are only a few minutes away.
The Dolphin Shopping Centre is the primary retail venue in Poole, offering a wide range of stores in modern surroundings. Many of the UK's most popular high street names are based at the centre, including the likes of Argos, Burton, Next and Marks & Spencers.
More stores are dotted through the town centre, including in the old town area whilst there is also a market in the high street every Thursday.
Schools & healthcare
A large number of schools in Poole are rated extremely highly by Ofsted, with just some of the outstanding primary schools named as Old Town First, Baden Powell and St Peter's, Oakdale South Road, Ad Astra First and Courthill First.
Secondary schools to have received a similarly impressive billing from the body include St Edward's RC C of E, Carter Community Sports College, Parkstone Grammar and Poole Grammar.
Poole Hospital is the town's primary medical facility whilst there are a number of smaller clinics and surgeries for people who require assistance with less urgent matters.
Poole is a well-connected town, having excellent access westwards to the rest of Dorset and Devon beyond whilst the A31 skirts the town to the north and provides a simple route to Bournemouth and Dorchester. For those looking further afield, there are regular ferry crossings to France and the Channel Islands.
Bournemouth International airport is also within easy reach and this provides access to many parts of the UK and the close continent.
By rail, it takes just over two hours to reach London, whilst Bournemouth is only a few minutes away and Dorchester roughly half an hour. Regular train services pass through the station, helping Poole residents to easily complete both business and leisure trips.