As with many characterful English towns the 1960's and 70's planners did Poole few favours. But then I suppose there's nothing new there in that the Georgian planners of the 18th century did similar things. Hmmm...but at least the Georgians had a bit of style.
That said though, Poole is overall quite an attractive town and some of the more modern developements have been sympathetic to its heritage.
Old Town Poole is a sort of Georgian enclave at the Quay end of the town and there are some georgeous (sic) examples of the town's heyday as an important port and pottery town. The Old Town is now a listed conservation area and the Guildhall, Custom's House and a couple of other buildings are welll worth taking the off-the-path wander. Especially so as there are some cracking pubs tucked away here ;)
Whilst this is also written up as a "Warnings and Dangers" tip (due to the traffic disruption it causes) it is a fascinating piece of machinery.
This is third bridge to be built over this narrow neck of Poole's harbour. The original bridge was a wooden affair, constructed in 1834 as a money-making toll bridge, but because it needed the clearance to allow boats to pass under it was too steeply inclined for most horse and cart traffic. In 1885 this was replaced by an iron swing bridge (once again as a privately-operated toll bridge) until the Borough Council bought it and replaced it with the present lifting bridge which was built in 1927 at local tax payers' expense.
This really is a clever piece of engineering as the road sections on the two halves are counterbalanced so that opening the bridge requires very little effort. The machinery and giant electricly-driven cogwheels only serve to control the lift and lowering as the counterbalance is so fine that despite each section weighing 180 tons the bridge could be lifted by hand.
During the summer the bridge has twelve scheduled lift times, spaced about two hours apart, and depending on harbour traffic can be operational for up to 35 minutes (although the norm is about 15).
This is Poole's official tourist information centre and is situated in the middle of the Quay. Here friendly,knowledgeable staff can assist with just about any tourist query - accommodation, things to do, public transport etc. They stock the usual freebie leaflets as well as local guide books and maps for sale and act as agents for the local theatres and other attractions.
Thw website is comprehensive with loads of useful info and links and includes an online accommodation booking service - www.pooletourism.com
Poole's town centre is fairly compact and easy to walk around. The High Street is pedestrianised and leads down to the lively quayside with its pubs and restaurants.
Everywhere is well signposted and there are useful maps all over the place.
I love it when I get to travel to different places in England.
This is the second time I have come here and enjoy everything, even the wet weather ;-)
Poole is large, diverse and a fun place to visit. We stayed at a backpacker lodge and had a Polish girl as a room mate. She was a lot of fun. We visited a few bars and basically chilled.
Poole is another childhood haunt.
We used to come here during school break, play in the sea, go sailing, do some shopping. It has fantastic shopping areas and is very popular in summer! I remember the long ques to do anything, which wasn't fun. But we were kids and didn't mind I guess :-)
We drove through Poole and stopped twice, enjoying the atmosphere and people.
Even though the weather had turned foul, there were still people about and lots of water sports happening!
The winds were certainly very strong!
One chap we watched was kite surfing, and he went on for quite a time! Not sure how he got back though...