Destination UK

Review: Festive Cruises of Poole Harbour with City Cruises

Posted on
November 24, 2023

One of our Christmas traditions for the kids was always a Sail with Santa Cruise in Poole Harbour with City Cruises, but sadly they have outgrown them now, but I was keen to keep the tradition going somehow.

This weekend we booked a Festive Harbour Cruise instead which includes a free glass of mulled wine and mince pie as you cruise around Europe’s largest natural harbour.

The Christmas decorations were up on Poole Quay for our visit, but typically we booked before the switch on, which will be on 25th November, so we didn’t get the benefit of the twinkling lights, but you are welcomed on board with a mulled wine and mince pies.

The boat is decorated with Christmas decorations and festive lights, with Christmas music playing in the background.

The cruise took us past Sandbanks and close to Brownsea Island, where Isaac and Eliza volunteer for the Young Conservationists, so they were pointing out areas of interest and the different birds they spotted along the way.

If you don’t know much about Poole Harbour, there is an informative live commentary from the captain too, so you don’t miss a thing.

We choose a particularly blustery day for our trip and the kids had great fun fighting against the wind as the boat bobbed up and down, side to side. I think the hot chocolate and mince pies definitely helped to keep us all warm.

The Festive Cruise then took us all the way around Brownsea Island and past some of the other islands and back to Poole Quay, taking around 70 minutes.

If you fancy a slightly shorter trip, the book a Festive Lights Cruise, which allows you to see Poole Quay’s Christmas Maritime Light Festival from a different perspective.

This 30 minute long boat trip runs every evening upon their magical lit up boats and takes you out into Poole Harbour to see Corfe Castle all lit up on the Purbeck Hills and then back along the Quay to see all the lights.

You are also treated to a warming hot chocolate, which is perfect for helping to keep warm on a chilly winters night.

To find out more about their Christmas cruises, visit

Disclaimer: We were guests of City Cruise Poole for the purpose of a review. All thoughts and opinions are our own


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Are we nearly there yet? is a new online blog run by me, Kara Guppy, and is named as such thanks to my daughter Eliza who always asks that very question when we are less than 5 minutes up the road heading off on our adventures. You may know me from my other family blog