A day trip to Poole – Review for families

Explore the great British seaside with a boat ride around Poole

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If you’re holidaying in Dorset, you might find yourself visiting the coastal town of Poole and a great way of taking in the sights is going on a sightseeing cruise.

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What is it?

Blue Line Cruises will take you on a trip around the coastline, painting a picture of the local history as well as showing you all of the sights – that are visible from being out to sea that is.

Best for:

This trip is perfect for all of the family, especially for children under 16 but you might find that really little kids are more interested in just running around on deck rather than look at the shoreline!

OK for:

16+

Cost:

£16.20 for a family of five (two adults and three children)

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What’s on offer?

  • The captain will provide an expert commentary throughout the voyage, telling you all about the local sites and the history
  • Children will be provided with activity sheets to help them enjoy their trip. But you might find there’s just too much for them to even look at to have time to put crayon to paper.
  • Poole has Europe’s largest natural harbour and the calm, crystal-clear water and sandy bays 
  • During the tour, you’ll discover Brownsea Island, a pirate hideout in the 1500s before hosting Baden-Powell’s first experimental Scout camp in 1907, and enjoy views of Brownsea Castle.
  • You’ll see the Bramble Bush Bay chain ferry, that crosses the entrance to Poole Harbour between Sandbanks and Shell Bay, and can then pick your lottery-win home as you sail past the multi-million pound properties of the Sandbanks peninsular.
  • Back on dry land there are plenty of places to eat and shop along the harbour
  • The famous Poole Pottery is definitely worth checking out
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Highlights

There’s too much to pack in to just one day but if you’re facing a long drive home, you can avoid the ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ pleas by letting your little ones burn off the last of their energy at Lemur Landings, one of Dorset’s largest soft play centres – a short drive from the harbour at Tower Park.

There’s a huge array of bridges, tunnels and climbing areas for them to run and swing through, firing air cannons and hiding behind obstacles along the way. They can even make a little furry friend to take home at Lemur Landings’ Ted Shed.

If you want to extend your break, Paultons Family Theme Park, which is also now home to Peppa Pig World, is less than an hour away. 

There’s a wide range of accommodation in the Romsey area, from budget chains to more luxurious hotels. I highly recommend Ranville’s Farm House, which has a split-level family room for £85, or can offer stunning self-catering accommodation in its converted barn for £100 per family per night.

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What to watch out for

  • Bad weather can spoil the best cruise, so it’s best to try and check the weather before booking
  • Depending on the time of day the tide can cause delays or restrictions to the route, so call ahead to find out the best time to book the tour
  • It gets rather busy during holidays and peak periods so if you’re able to, visit during term time when it will be much quieter!

MFM tips:

  • Want to keep costs to a minimum? Take a packed lunch
  • Make sure to plan for a full day 
  • Blue Line Cruises Harbour Cruises – Outside peak season special offer prices start from as little as £9 for a family of two adults and three children. Drinks and snacks can be purchased on board
  • Lemur Landings – Standard Admission is £6 or £7 for children, depending on their age, and under 1s go free. Adult entry is £1.25 and you can enjoy a decent cuppa while the children play. Additional charges apply for the Ted Shed
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What the owners say

“With a wide range of cruises departing from Poole Quay, Swanage Pier, there’s something for every taste.  You’ll discover stunning coastline views, explore the five islands and take a peek at the world renowned Sandbanks peninsular – where you can catch a glimpse at the spectacular homes worth millions of pounds.”

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Visit the official Blue Line Cruises website. 

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