Amongst the safest and cleanest beaches in the UK, Bournemouth and Poole offer extensive facilities to cater for all ages. Children can burn off energy at the beach club of Boscombe Pier, teenagers and adults can choose from a wide range of water sports including surfing, jet-skiing and wakeboarding, an up-and-coming sport which is rather like water-skiing but on a single board. The sheltered waters of Poole Harour are equally well suited for water-based activities such as sailing, water-skiing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, canoeing and rowing.
When you feel like a break from sand and sea, both towns boast some beautiful parks and gardens. Don’t miss Compton Acres on Canford Cliffs, famous for its rare plants and Japanese Garden. Poole Park is another lovely place to unwind with its lake, gardens, putting green, crazy golf and numerous other attractions including Gus Gorilla’s Jungle, a popular indoor play area for children under 12.
Situated on the outskirts of Poole, Tower Park is a large entertainment and leisure complex, which houses Gala Bingo and a computerised Megabowl. This is also where you will find one of the most exciting water parks in Southern England - Splashdown, whcih has no fewer than 11 thrilling aquarides. If you prefer swimming to plummeting into the water at high speed, visit the Dolphin Swimming Poole near Poole bus station. Bournenmouth’s leisure centres at Littledown, BIC and Stokewood Road also have excellent pools as well as facilities for everything from aerobics and squash to circuit training.
Other popular local pursuits include fishing in the rivers Stour and Avon or in the sea, pony-trekking in the Purbecks and walking in the Dorset countryside or by the coast. Tennis players can home their skills at the all-weather courts of Poole Park and Bournemouth Tennis Centre, golfers can choose from a range of courses including Bournemouth’s attractive 18-hole municipal courses at Meyrick Park and Queen’s Park. If you fancy something a little different, you can even take a flying lesson in a light plane or helicopter.
For spectators there is always something going on from powerboat racing to tennis, golf and snooker. Football fans can support AFC Bournemouth at Dean Court, cricket enthusiasts can follow the fortunes of Dorset County Cricket Club at Dean Park. Poole Stadium is another popular venue for its greyhound racing and it is also home to Poole Pirates Speedway Club.
Ashdown Leisure Centre
Adastral Road, Canford Heath,
Poole 01202 604224
Sports Hall, Fitness room, squash court,
floodlit astro-turf, tennis and netball courts.
Bournemouth International Centre 01202 456400 Swimming pool with water shutes,
sauna, steam and gym.
Blandford Leisure Centre
Milldown Road, Blandford Forum
01258 455566 Swimming pools with
water slides and bubble bath,
fitness suite, sauna, gym, sports hall
and climbing wall.
Ferndown Leisure Centre
Cherry Gro, Ferndown
01202 877468 Swimming pool, sports hall, squash
courts, football pitches, gym and creche. Also holiday
activities for children.
Haven Sports & Leisure Club
161 Banks Road, Sandbanks, Poole
01202 700211 Indoor and outdoor swimming
pools, sauna, steam rooms, dance studio, tennis courts,
gynmasium and beauty centre.
Kemp-Welch Leisure Centre
Herbert Av, Parkstone, Poole.
01202 738787 Swimming Pool with water cannon and
bubble jets, sports hall, gynmasium, trampolines, gymnastics,
weights room, sunbeds and creche.
01202 417600 Swimming pook, aerobics, spinning,
gym, cardio threatre, main hall for all ball games,
badminton, squash, creche and outside astro-turf.
Poole Sports Centre
Dolpin Centre, Poole.
Two Riversmeet Leisure Centre
Stony La South, Christchurch
01354 477987 Swimming pool, squash courts,
badminton, 18-hole golf course and gym.