Sandbanks The Best Beach In England
Sandbanks A Millionaires Paradise On The South Coast Of England With Miles Of Golden Sand
Sandbanks is a sandy peninsula located several miles west of Bournemouth in the county of Dorset on the South Coast of England and in recent years it's become home to the rich and famous who have built lavish mansions there.
The peninsular forms the southern part of the entrance to Poole Harbour, which is the second largest natural harbour in the world after Sydney in Australia.
On this page you will find historic hotels and other places to stay in Sandbanks, as well as memories of growing up in Poole and Sandbanks, and the history of Sandbanks complete with some personal photographs. If you are looking for Property For Sale at Sandbanks then you can find that here too.
What makes this peninsula that is comprised of sand dunes really special is that Sandbanks Beach is not made of any ordinary sand. Sandbanks Beach is made up of the finest golden sand, and with it being located in the English Channel where the warm waters of the Gulf Stream take away the chill of the sea, it's a wonderful place for both sunbathing and swimming.
The beach at Sandbanks is consistently awarded a Blue Flag every year. The Blue Flag Award is an international program that lets visitors know that the beach or marina is one of the best in the world. The beaches at Poole and Bournemouth all have this award.
Sandbanks is only a mile long, and at it's narrowest just wide enough for a 2 lane road, with the harbour on one side, and a row of luxury houses on the other. These houses back onto the beach, making it the British equivalent of Malibu in California, and some of the people who have built mansions there in recent years reflect that impression of an exclusive location.
This beautiful spot has in the last 20 years become home to more and more of Britain's millionaires. As of 2008, Sandbanks is the fourth most expensive place in the world to buy property, based on land. As a result of the influx of the wealthy, gone are some of the older art-deco homes that were built from the 1930s to the 1960s, and in their place are now multi-million pound mansions, owned by major Sports or Television personalities.
Sandbanks forms the northern entrance to Poole Harbour, and is connected to the south side at Studland by the Sandbanks Ferry, which is pulled across the entrance to the harbour on chains, since at full flow the current through the narrow harbour entrance is very fast.
As well as the millionaire mansions at Sandbanks, there are also many properties that can be rented, and not all are mega-expensive. There are also some excellent Hotels at Sandbanks which are not overly priced, and if you stay here you just never know who you might bump into.
In recent years Sandbanks has become the location for some international beach events, the biggest being the British Beach Polo Championships which are held at Sandbanks every July.
All images unless otherwise stated are the property of Tony Payne and may only be used with the owner's permission.
Where Is Sandbanks? - Maps Of Sandbanks On The South Coast Of EnglandClick thumbnail to view full-size
Have You Been To Sandbanks?
What Is My Interest In Sandbanks? - Why am I interested in a place that is only affordable to the rich and famous.
At the northern end of Sandbanks is a small village called Lilliput. I was born there, and spent my first 18 years there before moving to university, and then to live in London.
My grandmother had in the 1950s and early 1960s (until her death) various properties in Sandbanks, and another side of the family also owned 2 houses on the main narrow part of Sandbanks. These houses have sadly now almost all been replaced by more modern properties. I have some family photos from the 1950s and 1960s of Sandbanks, which you will find in later modules.
This is an old postcard from about 1950, which I annotated to show where my Grandmother used to live. Sandbanks Court and Utopia were still there at my last visit, but further along the road the large white building that comprised the two apartments known as Harbourne and Seabourne was demolished in 1997 to build luxury apartments.
In the far distance you can make out The Purbeck Hills, and to the left of them Old Harry Rocks.
1950s Beach Attire At Sandbanks
This photograph was taken in 1950 and shows just how differently people dressed back then when they went to the beach.
Sandbanks Before It Was Built Up
In this photograph from May 1950 you can clearly see how much of the sand dunes still remained at Sandbanks, whereas now all you see is large houses.
What Makes Sandbanks So Popular?
Much of the south coast of England has nice beaches, however a lot of the beaches to the east of the city of Southampton, which is in the middle of the south coast, are shingle - stony and not so nice for sunbathing.
Southampton is a port, and the coast around there is also muddy or marshy, also not so good for bathing.
When you get west of Poole and into the Purbeck Hills, the scenery becomes more rugged, with lots of limestone cliffs, which are rich in fossils, but few good beaches.
The area from Hengistbury Head in the east, which is close to Christchurch, all the way west past Boscombe and Bournemouth, to Canford Cliffs and Sandbanks, and across the harbour entrance to Studland and around to Swanage, is just perfect golden sand. The beaches are fairly narrow, the water is warm for bathing, warmed by the Gulf Stream that has carried warm water from Florida and the Caribbean, and the area has more sunshine than almost anywhere in England.
Sandbanks Is In Beautiful Dorset - Dorset is a county with many different assets
Dorset is one of the most beautiful counties in England, and it has many different features that make it a great place to visit.
In the southeast there are the seaside areas of Bournemouth and Sandbanks, as well as the historic port of Poole. The harbour at Poole is the second largest natural harbour in the world, after Sydney in Australia.
Further west the Purbeck Hills have impressive limestone and shale cliffs, and nestled away from the coast is the picturesque village of Corfe Castle, which can be reached from Sandbanks via the Sandbanks Ferry and a short drive of less than 10 miles across The Purbeck Hills.
Corfe Castle and Brownsea Island were just two of the places in this part of Dorset that inspired author Enid Blyton to write many of her more than 800 books.
Beyond that the area known as the Jurassic Coast, which includes the towns of Weymouth, Portland and Lyme Regis. It's here that dinosaur bones were first discovered in Victorian times, and where the movie The French Lieutenant's Woman was flimed.
Northern Dorset is more hilly, and home to the old market towns of Shaftesbury and Sherborne, as well as numerous other ancient villages, with many old buildings made of local stone.
Dorset indeed does have a lot to offer to the tourist.
Sandbanks In The Winter - Sandbanks in February 2008Click thumbnail to view full-size
Shoreacres Flats And Beach Huts - These are typical of the buildings that were erected at Sandbanks in the 1960's
My Grandmother purchased one of these flats before the construction began, but sadly was taken ill and never lived to move into it. A flat here is currently up for sale for £900,000 (US$1.4million). If only we knew how much property would increase in value over the years.
The Closest Beach Huts To The Haven - These are where I spent my summers growing up at Sandbanks.
The beach huts below the flats at Shoreacres were when they were built in the 1960s the closest to The Haven Hotel, and they still are today.
Our beach hut was #1 and the leftmost one in the picture. So I can claim to have grown up spending many happy summer days on the beach at Sandbanks. I didn't realise how lucky I was back then. Now, just to rent one of these beach huts, would cost almost as much as I earn.
Unlike many beach huts in the UK which are made of wood, these were concrete and brick built, and had running water as well as electricity. It was wonderful to go to the beach, to not have to carry everything that we needed, to be able to cook, and also to have a fridge as well.
There used to be a solid two foot thick wall in front of the beach huts, then a second level below with railings before you got to the beach. That has all gone now as you can see, and with it a lot of the privacy that we enjoyed as well.
The Haven Sandbanks - The Haven is the end of Sandbanks and the entrance to Poole HarbourClick thumbnail to view full-size
Sandbanks And Marconi
Marconi used The Haven Hotel for radio experiments in the 1890's
The historic Haven Hotel stands impressively at the end of Sandbanks, and was built in 1897, on the site of the North Haven Inn that was built as far back as 1838.
Some of Guglielmo Marconi's early experiments with wireless transmission were performed at The Haven Hotel in 1899, and there are still photographs of these experiments still hang in the hotel.
Several years later, on 12th December 1901, Marconi performed the first trans-atlantic radio transmission, from St. Johns in Newfoundland to Poldhu in Cornwall.
If you are visiting Poole and Sandbanks, why not stay at the historic Haven Hotel Sandbanks and make your trip truly memorable.