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Holidays in Christchurch

Historic and vibrant borough popular with water sports enthusiasts

UK | South West | Dorset | Christchurch
Hengistbury Head

Christchurch is groaning with history, it is a lively Dorset market town with two rivers flowing into a natural harbour with two castles and an 11th Century priory. For centuries the local waterways have been home to smugglers, workmen and clergy but today the rivers, beaches and marshlands are home to an exciting array of water sports. Kayaking, windsurfing and boating are all popular as well as bucket and spade days at nearby Mudeford Sandbanks, Highcliffe, Christchurch Bay and Avon beach.

A bustling market town, Christchurch is one of the few destinations that can boast of two rivers, two castles and an 11th century priory, which transformed the town's original name of Twynham into what it's now known as. Steeped in history, the local area has been the site of many significant events, including a civil war siege in 1645, smuggling throughout the 18th and 19th centuries and more recently, Christchurch was heavily fortified as a precaution against possible invasion in the Second World War.

Christchurch beach huts

The town quite uniquely boasts its own natural harbour, with two rivers, the Avon and the Stour both flowing into its northwest corner. Home to a variety of wildlife, to the east of the harbour is Stanpit Marsh, a local nature reserve that was formed as the result of action and deposition of material from the two rivers. A 'Site of Special Scientific Interest' it combines both freshwater and saltwater habitats and is an important staging point for migratory birds. Otters and seals can also be spotted in the harbour from time to time.

With four predominantly sandy beaches in the immediate area, Christchurch offers plenty of choice for those wishing to explore the beautiful local coastline. Extending along a stretch of four miles across Christchurch Bay, Highcliffe, Avon Beach and Mudeford Sandbank the beaches are family-friendly and also offer an array of activities, with nearby Steamer Point Beach being a designated area for watersports. It also plays host to the annual UK National Windsurfing Championships.

Other local activities that can be enjoyed include sea fishing, cycling and for those who want to stretch their legs, the walks along Christchurch's coastal paths offer impactful views across Dorset's Jurassic coastline.

"The town quite uniquely boasts its own natural harbour"

The town centre itself is a wonderful mix charming of old buildings and contemporary amenities, with an array of well-known brands, independent stores, local galleries and crafts available to explore and enjoy. Most restaurants, inns and café's offer local, seasonal produce wherever possible and present a wide range of variety to include all tastes.

Take a look at our selection of Christchurch cottages for even more holiday inspiration.

While you’re there

Studland Beach

This pretty white sand beach is owned by the National Trust and makes a lovely picnic spot.

The Jetty

The Jetty has earned an excellent reputation for its great food and fantastic ambience.

Avon Beach

Avon Beach is located on a beautiful stretch of Dorset’s South Coast.

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