Poole Harbour is the largest natural harbour in Europe and a must visit during your camping, caravan or glamping holiday at South Lytchett. The scenery looks spectacular, whatever the weather and there’s always something interesting to see and do.
To truly experience the beauty of Poole Harbour, we recommend getting out on the water during your stay. There are some fantastic boat trips from the quayside, which offer a unique look at the different islands and secluded coves. Whether you’re looking for and adrenaline fuelled power boat ride or a leisurely cruise under sail, we guarantee you’ll find something to suit your tastes.
Here’s our pick of the best boat trips in Poole.
If you’re feeling adventurous, we highly recommend a trip with Get Lost Sailing. The team offer high speed rib rides around Poole Harbour and along the Jurassic Coast. There are three trips to choose from – a 1 hour Bay Blast, 2-hour guided Sea Safari and trip to see the weekly fireworks. The boats can accommodate up to 10 people aged 8 and above.
During the bay blast the experienced skipper will skilfully twist and turn through the waves. You’ll experience the thrill of the wind rushing through your hair as the team perform various adrenaline fuelled manoeuvres. The Sea Safari is a more sedate affair! Take in the views and learn more about the history of the coastline and the wildlife that calls it home.
Guests wanting to explore the beauty of Poole harbour at a more leisurely pace can rent a self-drive boat from Poole Boat Hire. No prior experience is necessary and a thorough briefing is provided by the shore team to ensure you’re confident before heading out.
With the help of an outboard engine, you can explore the harbour and check out beauty spots including Holes Bay, Poole Quay and Maryland Beach. You’re more than welcome to bring fishing gear or a picnic to enjoy during your day out. There are 4 boats available to hire. Each accommodates up to 6 people and dogs are welcome to come too!
City Cruises are one of the most popular boat operators running from Poole Harbour. They offer a range of sightseeing boat trips to various destinations, including Swanage, Wareham River and Brownsea Island. There are 3 boats in their fleet. All offer indoor and outdoor seating as well as a PA system to listen to the guided tour.
We personally recommend the summer bird watching trips. These last 4 hours and travel to Dancing Ledge to catch a glimpse of the nesting puffins. If you’d prefer something a little shorter, the Harbour Lights Cruise is great value for money and offers a chance to see the beauty of the harbour as the sun goes down.
Dolphin III is a not-for-profit boat that is operated by a team of dedicated volunteers. The charity offers free boat trips around Poole harbour to disabled people, who may not be able to use other pleasure craft. The specially designed boat has undergone a number of adaptions to make it suitable for wheelchair users as well as those with mobility difficulties. Regrettably Dolphin III is not able to accommodate mobility scooters.
There are two Poole Harbour trips each day, leaving at 11am and 1pm. They must be booked in advance via the Friends of Dolphin website. From time to time there are Wareham River trips, however these are tide dependent.
Castway Charters is an excellent choice for families looking for a memorable boating experience during their stay at South Lytchett Manor. The luxury motor cruiser is available to charter for 1 hour, 2 hour, half day and full day cruises, allowing you to explore the South West Coast in style. The skipper can accommodate most requests and will steam to an area of your choosing. Cruise to some of the best loved beauty spots along the Jurassic Coast or anchor in a secluded bay for a BBQ and swim.
There are a number of seating areas throughout the boat as well as cabin, toilet and galley facilities. On sunny days most guests favour the flybridge, which offers far reaching views from the elevated position. A trip with Castaway charters is a fantastic experience and brilliant way to celebrate a birthday or special occasion while holidaying in Dorset.
There are many charter fishing boats in Poole Harbour, but we think Silver Spray Charters are the best. The father and son team cater for all abilities and offer a range of inshore, wreck and evening fishing trips.
Whether you’re a complete beginner or experienced angler hoping to land a specimen fish, you’ll have a great day on the water with Silver Spray. The experienced skipper and crew will assist you throughout the day and can provide rods and reels if you don’t have your own gear. There are a range of species available to catch throughout the day, depending on time of year and conditions. These include turbot, brill, bass, plaice, bream, mackerel and rays.
Dorset Cruises are a multi award-winning boat tour company, operating from Poole Harbour. They run a number of specialty cruises aboard their vintage motor yacht, which combine fabulous views with delicious food and drink. Themed cruises vary throughout the year and include Rum & Reggae nights, Afternoon Tea, Gin Tasting, Champagne and Oysters and a Craft Ale Cruises.
The Dorset Queen is more than 80 years old and thought to have been a volunteer boat in Dunkirk. She has been lovingly restored to a high standard and is now a proud member of the UK Historic Ships Register. Guests can enjoy excellent facilities on board. Take in the scenery from the upper deck, relax in the heated saloon or dance the night away on the enclosed back deck!
Take the ferry to Brownsea Island during your stay at our caravan and camping park in Dorset. The island is an absolute must for wildlife lovers or groups looking to escape the hustle and bustle and enjoy some peace and tranquillity for the day.
Greenslade Pleasure Boats offer a regular ferry service, which enables you to explore the largest island in Poole Harbour with ease. Pick the boat up from the quayside and enjoy stunning views across the harbour during the 20-minute journey.
Please note, for the time being you must pre-book your tickets along with entry to Brownsea Island.
Step aboard the Haven Star and enjoy a peaceful day at sea. The 44ft luxury lagoon catamaran is the ideal choice for visitors wanting to experience the beauty of the Jurassic Coastline while under sail. Groups can charter the whole boat for private use and make use of the onboard facilities. These include large hammocks, 4 spacious double cabins and a covered seating area to the rear.
For guests looking for a premium experience, there are a number of optional extras available. A personal chef and spa treatments can be included as well as paddleboards, water skis, wake boards and ringos.
What a fabulous place! Our first outing in our new campervan to try it out, the campsite and facilities are... thewardrobem, Nov 2023
The best campsite I've ever stayed at, usually large complexes lose a bit of what camping is about, but not... Colin, May 2023
Great stay, very clean excellent facilities. Bus into Poole 15 mins nice shops and great walk by the Quay. Definitely... Janet, Nov 2023