Christchurch is a stunning waterside town, peacefully situated on the south coast of Dorset, between the popular seaside resort of Bournemouth with its vibrant night life, and the beautiful New Forest National Park, famous for its tranquil ancient woods, and free roaming ponies.
Situated on the edge of a large natural harbour where the rivers Stour and Avon meet, the sheltered waters at Christchurch provide the perfect setting for enjoying various water sports, including sailing, windsurfing, fishing, and crabbing, or simply soaking up the glorious coastal views.
At the harbour entrance, Mudeford Quay Nature Reserve enjoys breath-taking views out to sea, across to the Isle of Wight, and also back towards the picturesque Christchurch town. A ferry runs from the Quay Head to Mudeford Sandbank, and the golden, family friendly beaches at Avon and Friars Cliff are easily accessed from here.
The bustling harbour town of Christchurch, which dates back to the Iron Age, is a lovely place to spend the day. Stroll through the picturesque historic Priory Quarter, discover the remains of the 12th Century Christchurch Castle, or explore the pretty riverside walks and quay. There are numerous independent shops and quirky galleries to browse to your heart’s content; as well as an abundance of cosy cafés and tempting tea rooms where you can sample high quality local produce, not to mention a delicious Dorset cream tea.
Christchurch has its own mainline train station so is the ideal destination for a holiday without the car - all the towns’ amenities are easily accessible on foot, and the beaches can be reached by passenger ferry.
This dramatic headland situated to the south of Christchurch Harbour is a great place for a day out walking or cycling for all the family. It is an outstanding site for wildlife and archaeology and offers beautiful beaches and views, as well as a visitor centre and several cafés. Access is easy for all ages and abilities, there is a land train linking it to Mudeford Spit and ferries to Christchurch.
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This magnificent Grade 1 Listed Cliff top mansion was built by Lord Stuart de Rothesay in the early 1830’s. Derelict for over two decades, the Castle is now fully restored externally, although not internally. Within the rooms visitors can find information on the Castle’s intriguing history as well as an extensive programme of exhibitions
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Queen's Park Golf Course is set in a beautiful location where the fairways meander freely through many acres of lovely heathers, colourful gorse and all in a wonderful pine woodland setting. It is a very mature and challenging golf course which attracts golfers from a wide area to enjoy the unique character and challenging golf that the course has to offer.
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Based on Bournemouth Beach, 500m from Boscombe Pier, Surf Steps offers Surf and SUP tuition for all ages either in groups or private lessons. All instructors are accredited professional instructors and make the lessons great fun, safe and exciting. Wetsuits and equipment available to hire.
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Located in the middle of the High Street, close to Saxon Square. A lovely pub, lots of atmosphere and very good food. Inside is spacious yet cosy with comfortable, stylish seating. Outside is a walled beer garden and there’s live music at the weekends.
The Ship (T: 01202 47479948) High Street, Christchurch BH23 1BN
A quirky, pub at the end of the high street in Christchurch. It’s cute and comfy in the main pub with the addition of a larger barn style building for drinkers and diners at the rear of the courtyard seating. Tasty pub food in filling portions, supplemented by a special board and scrummy puddings.
Ye Olde George Inn (T: 01202 496939) Christchurch BH23 1DT
This building dates back over 600 years. So, you won’t be surprised to find sloping floors, crooked walls and low beams in this pretty little tearoom just off the high street. What you will find, are light snacks, gorgeous home-made cakes, lush cream teas and more.
New Forest Perfumery and Tea Rooms (T:01202 482893) 11 Castle Street, Christchurch BH23 1DP
A wonderful French restaurant in the heart of Christchurch between the High Street and Christchurch Priory. Inside there are large tables, small booths and little rooms creating a lovely atmosphere. The food is absolutely delicious!
Splinters (T: 01202 48345412) Church Street, Christchurch BH23 1BW
This is one of the most scenic of New Forest beaches. Lined with some of the most picturesque and expensive beach huts in the country! There’s no parking next to the beach, as it’s a traffic-free zone, but there’s pay and display parking at Hengistbury Head from where you can catch a little train to the sandbank, and Mudeford Quay which runs a small ferry (5 mins) over to the sandbank. Can also be reached on foot and by bicycle.
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Beautiful place, our favourite beach in south of England. It feels like an island, when you go over on the ferry and at times (off-season!) on sunny days it can feel like a little piece of Heaven, it's so peaceful and beautiful- bit of a sense of New England. There's a super little 'restaurant', the Beach Hut, which does great breakfasts, meals all day and some evenings. Also takeaway eg pizzas, you can eat on the beach. Very simple surroundings, with a sheltered veranda that can be uncovered in fine weather, and amazing views. Quite pricey and often very busy (and you are best to ring and check opening times and book since often weather and ferry-dependant) but the quality of the food and those stunning views make it more than worthwhile!
Boscombe is a popular family beach with plenty of sand, and a small pier with extensive facilities including a children’s play area, several seafront shops and cafés, crazy golf, plenty of parking and a safe traffic free area perfect for cycling and scooters.
A picturesque, tree-lined beach of shingle, and sand at low tide. Good facilities on the cliff top including an excellent tea room, award winning public toilets, baby change and a children’s play area in the Castle gardens. Plenty of parking, but there is no disabled access and quite a few steps to get down to the beach. Lifeguard cover from July to Sept. No dogs allowed.
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Lovely clean sandy beach and a really i would highly recommend this spot for your car to break down takes the ouch out of waiting for the recovery truck
Nestled beneath stunning cliffs, Bournemouth Beach (also known as Bournemouth Central Beach) is the popular stretch of sand to the east and west of Bournemouth Pier. Enjoying its own micro-climate with some of the warmest sea waters in the UK, and with spectacular views of the Isle of Wight, this is one of the busiest parts of the full seven-mile stretch of sandy beaches that run along the Bournemouth coastline.
Easy walking distance from the shops, bars and restaurants in the centre of Bournemouth, there are lots of things to do here too, from the selection of rides, amusements and boat trips that depart from Bournemouth Pier, to the shore zip wire, to a refreshing paddle in the waves, or a spell relaxing in the sunshine on a deckchair. Bournemouth Oceanarium is also located on the seafront, as are many bars, cafes and restaurants to suit every taste.
A Land Train runs along the promenade from Bournemouth Pier to Boscombe Pier, or to Alum Chine - perfect for children or anyone else who wants to save their legs whilst enjoying views of the beach.
Dogs are not permitted on this stretch of beach, but are allowed on a lead on the promenade.
A stony beach with sandy areas as the tide goes out, and a great spot to do some fossil hunting. The cliffs are subject to considerable coastal erosion and at times parts of the beach can be cordoned off. The Beachcomber Café on the cliff top is one of the most popular cafés in the region. Plenty of parking in car parks along the cliff top as well as on-road parking.
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Super walk, nice and easy and great place for a meal or tea and cake by the car park.