Is this the best beach in Britain? Yesterday we were in Poole, awaiting a ferry to visit family in the Channel Islands. With the ferry scheduled to leave first thing in the morning, we decided to skip the early start and head down to Poole for the night, to enjoy the harbour and the wonderful beach there. We spent a happy couple of hours wandering round the gift shops and staring open-mouthed at the enormous boats in the Sunseeker boatyard, before heading over to Sandbanks to relax at the Sandbanks hotel.
Sandbanks is a 1 kilometre stretch of sand which juts across Poole harbour. It boasts some of the most expensive properties in the UK, and once you step onto the beach, it’s not difficult to see why. Wide and deep, this stretch of sand is golden and virtually pebble-free – other than the few you need to skim a calm sea. Even the beach huts are posh, and I rather fancied myself tapping the summer away on my keyboard from one of them, whilst my kids spent long days playing on the beach.
But we were there for just one day, so after we’d walked the length of sand and back again, and stopped to marvel at the very serious business of kite-surfing, it was time for fortification. A drink on the terrace of the Sandbanks hotel is a beautiful affair, and as we sipped glasses of chilled cider and diet coke, we watched the sun set on the most marvellous sandscape.
Food at the Sandbanks hotel is a relaxed experience. Adults eat from a small à la carte menu that is none the worse for its compact size; we ate a very creamy duck parfait, followed by crispy pork, and a seared duck breast with celeriac rösti. All of it was delicious. Meantime, the children decided on the kids buffet; not their usual choice, as they like good food, and children’s menus are usually poor, in our experience. The offering at the Sandbanks hotel was the usual chicken nuggets and pasta, but it did look better than average, and the kids certainly didn’t complain. More impressive were their desserts, which were good, and came with the very polite offering of additional ice-cream. Win.
The Sandbanks hotel is not as plush as the room rates would have you believe, being a little run down here and there. And don’t expect a smart restaurant – this is a proper English seaside hotel, with a large communal dining room to go with it. That said, meals were delicious and sensibly priced at £21.95 for two courses, and the view is probably the best you’ll get. Children are welcome to eat from the main menu, though you will be charged a supplement if they do. Staff were friendly and we left glad that we’d visited.
We visited as guests of the Sandbanks Hotel for the purposes of review. Content, opinions and images are our own. For more information visit the Sandbanks Hotel website.