Poole is a large coastal town with a historic harbour in the county of Dorset, on the south coast of England. The town adjoins Bournemouth and Christchurch to the east making up the South East Dorset conurbation with a total population of over 465,000. The borough of Poole had a population of 147,645 at the 2011 census, making it the second largest in Dorset.
In modern time Poole has become a tourist resort, attracting visitors with its large natural harbour, long history, and the Lighthouse arts centre. Poole is also home to some beautiful Blue Flag beaches, some of which enjoy a long promenade of approximately 7 miles from Poole in the west through Bournemouth to Christchurch in the East.
Once one of the busiest sea ports in the country Poole Harbour still functions as a commercial port with cross-Channel freight and passenger ferry services. The headquarters of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) are in Poole, and the Royal Marines have a base in the town’s harbour.
The long history of the the town can be traced back to human settlement before the Iron Age, with the earliest recorded use of the town’s name in the 12th century. The town first emerged as an important port, prospering with the introduction of the wool trade, later the town developed important trade links with North America, it was one of the busiest ports in Britian during the 18th century. In the Second World War, Poole was one of the main departing points for the Normandy landings.
Proud of this long nautical history, you will find references to it across the town, such as The Poole Pirates speedway team, Poole Pottery with it’s famous Dolphin figurines, the aptly named Dolphin Shopping centre and the celebration of the Privateer and smuggler Harry Paye to name a few.
Although the heart of Poole has a more industrial feel than it’s neighbours it’s also a playground for the well heeled, with areas such as Branksome Chine, Canford Cliffs, Lilliput and the world famous Sandbanks all being within it’s boundaries. The location and sheltered harbour is a mecca for windsurfers, pleasure crafts and all manor of other sea going vessels.
To learn more about what Poole has to offer, visit the Poole Tourism Website.
Poole has four railway stations across the town on the South West Main Line from London Waterloo to Weymouth. Poole railway station is in the town centre and just a few minutes walk to Lighthouse where there will be a full programme of Jazz events during this years festival. Rail services consist of up to three trains an hour (fast, semi-fast and stopping services) to and from London, and twice an hour to and from Weymouth.