A lovely Saxon town, with an enviable blend of beautiful coastline, pretty natural harbour, peaceful rivers, open green spaces and rich heritage, picturesque Christchurch, or neighbouring Mudeford, make an ideal base for a holiday cottage stay. Christchurch sits under the gaze of the eleventh century Priory, with the adjacent eighteenth century Red House museum once the town’s workhouse and a testament to a more difficult past, now an important visitor attraction. There are many historic buildings dotted around the town, some dating as far back as Norman times, though most have been converted into shops, tea rooms and other visitor services. More recent reconstructions hinting at a less tolerant past include the town stocks, ducking post and whipping stool, variously positioned throughout the town.
Highcliffe Castle is a magnificent grade I listed building set high on the cliff top affording stunning views over Christchurch Bay and across to the Isle of Wight and the Needles on a clear day. This fine residence is only partially restored, but the staterooms and unrestored areas can be visited, and guided tours are available. The castle’s tea room is award-winning and a big draw in itself; visitors can enjoy all manner of lunches and delicious pastries, together with real ice cream and of course, an indulgent Dorset cream tea.
Further attractions in and around Christchurch include the Museum of Electricity in Bargates, just off the main street and set in a bona-fide Edwardian power station, whilst Adventure Wonderland is an ideal day out for both sunny and wet weather days; this family theme park has in excess of twenty-five exciting attractions and rides to suit all ages. Nearby Snowtrax offers year-round Alpine adventure in its snow dome, whilst thrills of an aeronautical nature are on hand at Bournemouth Aviation Museum, just a ten-minute drive from the town centre, with its range of civilian and military aircraft. For lovers of food or curios, the town holds two weekly markets; food on a Monday and Crafts each Thursday, whilst Dorset Farmers Market sees a large selection of locally produced and farmed wares on sale in the town’s Saxon Square on the first Friday of every month.
If you would like to see the above for yourself, why not take a look at our self catering holiday cottages in Christchurch?