Things To Do in Christchurch
Imagine an idyllic seaside break and you might picture sandcastles and ball games on the beach, paddling and swimming in the sea, crabbing from the Quay, and of course a delicious ice cream or two!
Not only can you get all of that in Christchurch, there is so much more!
Offering a fantastic mix of things to do, Christchurch caters for all members of the family so that everyone can truly enjoy their holiday.
And with the safe waters of the Harbour and beautiful surrounding countryside, there are many great activities to try, both on land and water, as a family, group or individual.
A day at the beach
Not one, or even two beaches, but six fabulous beaches await your beach towel and sun umbrella! So which pretty seaside location takes your fancy?
Each of Christchurch’s beaches has its own personality - some are more suited to families, some are less commercial and a couple allow dogs throughout the year.
Highcliffe Castle Beach is a beautiful, rural shingle and sand beach set against tree-lined cliffs. Neighbouring Highcliffe Beach has a promenade and cliff side paths to explore and Gundimore offers wonderful views of the Isle of Wight.
Or why not head to Mudeford Quay for a picnic or pub lunch then take the pedestrian ferry across to the Sandbank? Chill out on the beach, admire the exclusive beach huts and explore Hengistbury Head with its wonderful views. If you climb up to the top of the headland you’ll be rewarded with breath-taking panoramas of Christchurch Harbour on one side and across to the Isle of Wight on the other. Then it’s all aboard the Land Train for the short trip back to the jetty where Bournemouth Boating will ferry you back to Mudeford Quay, Christchurch Quay or Tuckton - a day filled with simple pleasures and fresh sea air that will have you relaxed in no time!
So pack your beach bag (don’t forget the sun cream!) and make the most of Christchurch’s blissful seaside location.
Fun for the young…
Need to let young children burn off some energy?
Watermans Adventure Park and Eight Below Zone has specific play areas for toddlers and young children providing a safe, fun, educational, and thankfully not weather dependent, space to let them play.
Summer sun getting a little bit much for your children and can’t get to the beach? Pop along to the Splashpark on the Quomps - with a paddling pool, fountains and water play to cool the youngsters and a blissful breeze from the adjacent harbour for Mums and Dads.
...And for the child in all of us
If the adults want to get in on the action then head to Adventure Wonderland, Dorset’s number one family theme park. With over 30 family rides and attractions from battle boats to ghostly galleons, plus friendly farm animals and the largest natural hedge maze on the south coast, it’s a jam packed day of fun. Perhaps there’s time for a cuppa whilst the children negotiate the maze!
Out on the water
Love life in the fast lane? Then feel the thrill as you ride the waves on a rib with Adventure Voyages - an amazing and exhilarating way to see the coast with trips to the Isle of Wight and Old Harry Rocks. Fantastic fun and a bad hair day guaranteed!
For something a little more relaxing, hire a self-drive motor boat from Quay Leisure Boat Hire and explore the safe waters of the harbour and river - the harbour’s famous swans are sure to keep you company.
Always wanted to try your hand at sailing or windsurfing? With sheltered harbour and coastal waters, Christchurch is the ideal location to take your first lessons, it’s fun to learn and very addictive! Whether wind or paddle powered, Shore Sports offers a range of guided tours and courses with qualified instructors that will make your holiday one to remember. With nothing but bird song and the sound of the paddles dipping in and out of the water, kayaking and stand-up-paddle boarding are two of the nicest ways to enjoy Christchurch’s wonderful coastal and river environments.
Just keep swimming
Don’t want to miss out on your regular exercise routine whilst you are away?
Christchurch’s Two Riversmeet Leisure Centre has extensive facilities including a gym and swimming pool, so there’s no excuse!
A tale of two castles
Take in the amazing coastal views from the cliff top grounds and admire the elegant buildings and interiors of Highcliffe Castle, a Grade I listed mansion built in the 1830s. Famously the retreat of Harry Gordon Selfridge, the castle became derelict in the late 1960s following two fires, but is now being lovingly restored to its former glory.
In the centre of town, Christchurch Castle was constructed in the late 11th century inside a Saxon fort. Now just a ruin you will need to use your imagination to picture how it would have looked in the heat of battle during the Civil War. Take a peek at the Norman chimney, once part of the luxurious Constable’s House - it is the oldest in Britain!
Immerse yourself in history
Take a little time out to enjoy the serene and comforting atmosphere of the medieval monastic Priory Church, explore the Lady Chapel, learn about the ‘Miraculous Beam’ or for added insight go on a guided tour. Feeling brave? Then climb the spiral steps (all 176 of them) to the top of the tower for amazing views of the town and harbour.
Children being naughty? Send them back to the workhouse! The attractive buildings of the parish workhouse now house the Red House Museum and Garden. Discover more of the history and drama of this ancient town through its collections and exhibitions.
A picnic on a balmy summer’s eve watching open air theatre, a night at the Regent Centre listening to jazz or opera, or time spent admiring the unique art work at charming Place Mill or the Hayloft Gallery.
Whatever your taste, Christchurch’s vibrant arts sector has much to offer.
Like your food fresh and locally sourced - what could be fresher that catching it yourself?
Take a mackerel fishing trip on ‘Rosie’ with Skipper Bill Foster, whether or not you catch something for tea you are sure to have a whale of a time!
Keen on fishing but not so keen on boats? With miles of coastline and two pristine rivers the area offers great shore and coarse fishing, visiting anglers can call in to Davis Tackle for permits, bait and local advice.
On two legs or two wheels
Fresh air and exercise aren’t just restricted to the water; landlubbers too have plenty of opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors.
Walking around the golf course more your style? There are a number of pay and play courses in the area including 18 holes at Moors Valley and 9 holes at Parley Golf Centre, where you can also enjoy practising on the floodlit driving range.
If you like to take to two wheels you can head along the coast, with cycle paths taking you to the heart of neighbouring Bournemouth and Poole.
Alternatively get on the beaten track (and off the road) with routes through the scenic New Forest National Park.
At home with nature
Get the binoculars out and see if you can spot a rare bird or shy reptile in one of Christchurch’s many nature reserves.
The unusual combination of habitats at Stanpit Marsh provides a home for hundreds of plant species, 14 of which are rare and endangered, in turn these support a wide variety of butterflies, dragonflies and birds.
Discover the countryside around Christchurch on horseback, it is a wonderful way to feel at one with nature and get up close to the wildlife, Stocks Farm Equestrian Centre is one of several in the area offering riding lessons and treks.
Book your holiday to Christchurch today
With so much to experience and so many things to see and do, it is easy to plan some fantastic days out - but don’t just stay for the day, stay awhile and pack more in!
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Highcliffe Castle is not only a beautiful and historical building, but the surrounding grounds are perfect for a relaxing stroll or a family picnic on the lawns. There is direct access to both...