Voted Europe's best beach – and the fourth best in the world – in a major poll by Tripadvisor earlier this year, Bournemouth's seven miles of golden sands commanding superb views over the neighbouring Purbecks take some beating. Whilst the town hasn’t entirely shaken off its genteel, elderly image, it has in recent years reinvented itself as one of the buzziest nightlife hubs on the south coast; and with a plethora of language schools and a thriving university it has a younger feel than you’d expect. Neighbouring Poole is a more workaday port with a historic and bustling quay. Famous for its enormous natural harbour – the second largest in the world after Sydney – and exclusive properties along the Sandbanks peninsular, it shares the western extremities of Bournemouth’s beach.
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