An historic port, used by the Romans as safe anchorage, Poole Harbour is one of the largest natural shallow water anchorage's in Europe. Within the Harbour there are many islands, the largest of which being Brownsea. Now owned and managed by the National Trust, Brownsea is a haven for wildlife, including the native Red Squirrel.

Poole is still a commercial port today. The "Brittany Ferries" 20,000 tonne ferry Barfleur sails to Cherbourg, as do its smaller "Truckline" sister ships, and the Sea-Cat "Condor Express" sails to the Channel Islands and St. Malo.

Sunseeker International is based here, as is Poole Pottery, although the old potteries on the quay have now been demolished to make way for a multi-million pound redevelopment of the quayside. The main Poole Pottery shop is still there as is Poole Aquarium. Many museums, including the Waterfront Museum and Scaplens Court are also situated within the old town and by the quay.

The new marina at Poole Quay