We plan to spend the first 4 or 5 days of a trip to the UK in the Channel Islands. Our current idea is to fly into Gatwick and take the train to Poole, stay overnight and get the ferry to Guernsey the next morning. Given that the ferry leaves at 9 am and that we will be exhausted from the flight, seems best to us to stay in Poole. Any ideas regarding accommodation in Poole near to the ferry terminal? Or, is it a bad idea to stay a night in Poole? We have never been there. Or, are there better ways to get to the Channel Islands?
I live near Poole. I know it fairly well because I used to crew on a couple of racing yachts that were based there. There is no reason not to stay there over night. It's possibly not the most exciting place you will ever go, but Poole Harbour is the second largest natural harbour in the world, its Sandbanks peninsula is something like the third most expensive place in the world to buy a house, the old town is quite picturesque and the quay is nice for a walk on a summer evening. Fish and chips, pubs, seagulls, that kind of thing. I've never needed to stay in a hotel there, so Tripadvisor is at least as good as any advice I could give you. You can fly to the Channel Islands. We visited Jersey for 3 years running when our daughter was younger and we only flew the first time because the fast ferry was so convenient. It's an interesting crossing - the sea around the Channel Islands is littered with rocky islets and it's worth seeing from sea level. I raced across there once or twice from Poole, but I much prefer the ferry - it's pretty civilised, and if the weather gets really bad the crossings are cancelled anyway.
I live near Poole too, and even if you can't find anywhere in Poole, Bournemouth is a few miles further down the coast (and all part of the same conurbation). There's lots of hotels there, as it's a holiday town. A cab to Poole would be about £10 and not take long. Poole Quay is a nice place to wander and get some fresh air after your flight and train journey. There's several pubs on the Quay and Poole Potteries to look around. And if you enjoy photography, there will be some good photo ops. Kevin's suggestion of Tripadvisor for hotels in Poole is excellent. The Thistle and the Antelope are on Poole Quay and are about £100 a night- and the Haven is a bit more upmarket, but I do know it's very good. You could have a look on Booking.com too. Enjoy the trip over to Guernsey, it's years since I did it, but I remember the ferry as being fun.
Small world Maggie. I lived in Westby Road when I was a student, and then in my second year I moved to a place opposite Boscombe Gardens.
You did ask for alternatives - the most obvious one is to fly from Gatwick straight to Guernsey in an hour with either Flybe or Aurigny Air Services. Whether that is a better way for you is I guess your judgement.
Thank you, everyone. These replies have been very helpful!
Robert, if you're not set on the train, and flying into Heathrow, I'd suggest getting the National Express coach which picks you up at the door of Terminal 5 or the Heathrow bus station and drops you in Poole at the bus station a couple of blocks from the Quay. I usually catch the bus because you can sleep without fear of missing your stop. And your luggage is stowed away. But if it's Gatwick- well, unless you want a tour of what feels like every town in Southern England, get the train! The coach takes about 4-5 hours. I think your plan is good- you'll see a bit more of England than if you just hop on planes. And I like Poole Quay- there's usually something going on there; here's a link for you.
www.pooletourism.com/events/calendar Kevin- Westby Road is the next one over from me! And I grew up a couple of miles from where you live.
The fast ferry from Weymouth restarts in July - and there is also option of Portsmouth, although that would be a long trip.
Good point Marco. The important thing to note about the conventional ferry from Portsmouth is that although the crossing is 7 hours, it is much less likely to be cancelled or delayed by rough weather than the fast ferry. One year we brought our crossing forward by a day because the weather forecast predicted a storm in the Channel, and indeed the fast ferries were cancelled the next day when we would have been travelling. Of course that's fine for us, living 40 minutes drive from the ferry, not so easy if coming from overseas!