One of the best things to do while in town is to pay a visit to Poole Harbour and its beautiful array of houses, boats, shops, and some of the best places to eat in Poole. In the midst of all the action, slap bang in the middle of The Quay, you’ll find Poole Museum chock-a-block with fascinating exhibits that provide the perfect insight into local Poole culture.
Poole Museum is set across four fascinating buildings in a prime location on the quayside. Pay a visit and you make your way through the magnificent glass atrium into Oakley’s Mill, a four-floor Victorian warehouse, then on to the 14th-century Town Cellars, and finishing at Scaplen’s Court, the most complete medieval domestic building in the whole of Poole.
Between the four buildings of Poole Museum, there’s something for visitors of all ages, with exhibitions covering a wide range of topics. It proves particularly fascinating if you want to find out about Poole’s pottery industry, merchants and deep maritime history. Take the Poole logboat for example. It was dredged from the harbour in 1964 but dates back to 295BC. At almost 10 metres in length, it’s the longest logboat ever found in southern Britain, and is in incredible condition considering its age.
The Poole logboat is the focal point of the ground floor gallery, which spans prehistory and the formation of Poole Harbour. On the first floor, exhibits take you from the Stone Age right the way through to the 21st century. The second floor focuses on the social history of the people of Poole and features interactive displays, such as a 1950s kitchen. Last, but by no means least is the Poole pottery collection of the third-floor gallery, including incredible artefacts uncovered during archaeological excavations of Poole.
Scaplen’s Court is a fascinating place to end your visit to Poole Museum. The medieval building dates back to the 1300s and even features graffiti that was carved into one of the stone fireplaces by Parliamentarian soldiers in the 1630s. Meanwhile, its walled garden is an oasis of peace and calm right in the heart of the quayside area of Poole.
When you’ve had your fill of Poole history, be sure to explore the surrounding area. Near the Poole Museum, you’ll find some exceptional cafés, such as The Little Tearoom, which is just over the road. Or, if you fancy a pint or a G&T, be sure to visit Drift Micro Bar, which is just around the corner and one of the Poole nightlife highlights.