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With over seven miles of Blue Flag sandy beaches, and flanked by the New Forest
to the east and the Isle of Purbeck (inspiration for Enid Blyton's Famous Five
adventures) to the west, Bournemouth and Poole are family-friendly south coast
This stretch of coast runs from Mudeford (with possibly the most delightfully
positioned and the most expensive beach huts in the country) and Christchurch
(rapidly turning into a foodie destination with its popular annual food festival)
through Boscombe and Bournemouth to Branksome Park, Sandbanks and Poole.
You can cycle all along the seafront from Hengistbury Head to Sandbanks with its
chain ferry across to Studland's dunes-backed beaches. The less energetic can relax
with a cappuccino or a glass of wine in a beachside café.
Bournemouth's town centre is an appealing mix of Victorian arcades and formal
gardens. More serious shoppers head for Westbourne's individual boutiques, galleries and cafes.
Poole is best known for its picturesque sheltered harbour – the second largest in
the world after Sydney's. The shallow waters make it ideal for youngsters to enjoy
watersports. Poole's busy ferry terminal serves the Channel Islands and France.
Local attractions include Brownsea Island now owned by the National Trust, Poole
Quay, Bournemouth's and Boscombe's piers, the Aquarium and the Russell-Cotes
Museum and Art Gallery. Venues include Poole's Lighthouse arts centre,
Bournemouth's Pavilion Theatre and the BIC. Bournemouth's front has been transformed and now boasts a public area for open air performances which include dance, music, film nights and theatre productions.