Sandbanks Beach Pictures, Dorset, England

Sandbanks view towards Bournemouth, Dorset, England

Sandbanks looking towards Bournemouth with Hengistbury Head in the distance.

The distance from Sandbanks to Hengistbury head on foot is about 10 miles (16 kms), an easy, flat walk, mostly on a wide promenade with cliffs on one side and Bournemouth Bay on the other.

However, cycling on much of the promenade is forbidden at peak times of the day during summer months.

It’s also enjoyable to take an open-top bus (regular, not a tourist special) through to Bournemouth centre where you can change to head to Hengistbury Head.

shell bay-studland sand, poole, dorset

Sandbanks sand is the finest of all Bournemouth beaches though a short distance across the water (via car ferry) Shell Bay and Studland sand is arguably softer and whiter.

sandbanks housing, poole, dorset, england

Silly-money Sandbanks is the finest and farthest west stretch of sand on Bournemouth Bay and runs up to the Poole Harbour ferry that clanks over to Shell Bay every 20 minutes, giving easy, invigorating access to spectacular Studland beaches.

sandbanks path, poole, dorset, england

Sand along the bay ranges from occasional pebbles around the east (Hengistbury) sector through fine beige around Bournemouth Pier and very fine light gold sand around Sandbanks – quite appropriate considering the cost of property around there.

Those houses vaguely visible are very pricey, in fact, before the crunch this small piece of real estate was the fourth most expensive land by sq metre in the world. But you can still laze and bathe here! (If you can find a parking spot).

There is a  useful kid’s playground next to the massive Sandbanks car park (but get there early if the weather’s good) and all the facilities a beach bum could ask for.

Poole Harbour, Dorset, England

On the other side of Sandbanks peninsula (it’s roughly in the middle of the photo) is Poole Harbour, the world’s second largest natural harbour after Australia’s Sydney.

Poole Harbour board sailing

Poole Harbour embraces several islands, including Brownsea Island (and Nature Reserve) on the right just out of shot, with Middle Ship Channel running next to Brownsea, through the opening around Sandbanks peninsula and out of the narrow entrance where the chain ferry crosses. The main board sailing spot, Whitley Lake, is on the left mostly out of view.

Poole Harbour board sailing is easily accessible between Evening Hill and Sandbanks (Whitley Lake) giving wind and kite surfers a superb place to hone their skills as parking is on the road immediately next to the water – which is shallow and thus relatively warm for a long way out. Furthermore, the area is fully enclosed so ultimately safe, unless you get in the way of a container ship of course. . .

Harbour Commissioner Rules: There is a dedicated board sailing area in Whitley Lake at Sandbanks, which is shallow and safe, but dries out at low water. It is ideal for novices and the area is next to the road and a sandy beach and is very convenient for unloading and rigging. Board sailing can, however, take place throughout the harbour, but persons intending to navigate across the Middle Ship Channel must do so by the shortest possible route, and not cause any obstruction to other vessels which can navigate only within such areas. Wind Surfing is not allowed in the Harbour entrance.