Whether you are visiting Christchurch, Dorset for the first time, for a day trip or as a seasoned visitor, we’ve put together a list of the 6 best things to do in Christchurch so that you can get the very best out of your trip 😊
Dorset’s Christchurch offers something for everyone with a choice of award-winning beaches, a pretty harbour, heritage attractions, coastal nature reserves, countryside and an historic town.
Not only can you find all of that in Christchurch but there is so much more to discover here too!
Here are the 6 best things to do in Christchurch!
Visit Christchurch Priory:
Christchurch Priory is a magnificent and grand 11th century and Grade 1 listed church which overlooks Christchurch town centre and Christchurch Harbour. The Priory which stands today has evolved over many centuries and it is the longest parish church in England with a nave over three hundred and eleven feet long.
The ‘Miraculous Beam’ for which the Priory is most noted, is known to attract pilgrims from all over the world as the legend, which dates back to the 12th century tells a story of how Jesus Christ himself intervened with the carpentry on a beam that was originally cut too short but miraculously and mysteriously fitted in to place.
The Priory is currently open for Sunday worship only am and pm and will re-open to visitors on 17/05/21 in line with government legislation. Until then, it will be closed except for private prayer only between the hours of 10.30am to 3pm.
Visit Highcliffe Castle:
Located 10 miles from our self-catering accommodation in Bournemouth and 3 miles from Christchurch, Highcliffe Castle is a beautiful and historical building built between 1831 and 1836 by Lord Stuart de Rothesay. It is a grade 1 listed building and the glorious surrounding grounds are perfect for a stroll or a picnic with fabulous view across Christchurch bay to The Isle of Wight.
There is also direct access to Highcliffe beach and the wonderful unspoiled nature reserve at Steamer Point. This lavish building which was destroyed by fires many years ago and left to ruin, has been restored and brought back to life and is now recognised as arguably the most important surviving house of the Romantic and Picturesque style of architecture.
Visiting inside the castle will resume on the 17/05/21 subject to the government guidelines. Tickets need to be booked online. The grounds and car park (car parking charges apply) remain open to visitors.
Visit Christchurch Harbour:
Christchurch Harbour is a large natural harbour and was formed around 7000 years ago at the end of the Ice Age. It is a wonderful place to visit for beautiful walks, watersports such as kayaking, paddle-boarding and boating and other activities.
A variety of habitats surround The Harbour including, saltmarshes, wetlands, grasslands, heath, sand dunes, woodland and scrub. The Avon River and The Stour River flow into The Harbour from Christchurch and The Harbour flows into the ocean via a narrow channel in the Mudeford sandbank known locally as ‘The Run.’
Take a walk around the harbour or maybe hire a boat and go for a sail down the river. The Priory is only a short walk from Christchurch Harbour.
There is a large children’s playpark here as well as swans and ducks that love to come out of the water and say hello. Local kiosks sell specialised feed to give to the local bird life. The grassland here is a great place for a picnic 😊
Read on for more of the 6 best things to do in Christchurch!
Have fun at Adventure Wonderland Bournemouth:
Adventure Wonderland Bournemouth is the perfect place for family fun and entertainment and this year marks Adventure Wonderlands 30th Anniversary. The park is approximately 5 miles from our self-catering accommodation in Bournemouth and the journey takes around 10 minutes in a car or a taxi. The standard cost of a one way taxi is £15-£18 GBP. We recommend taking a car or taxi to this attraction as the location can be difficult to reach via public transport.
The park has a range of outside rides and attractions including family favourites such as Jungle Falls, Battle Boats, Wild Bill’s Runaway Train and the Turbo Teacups. In order to ensure COVID safety, families ride together and there is no mixing with others. Ride carriage distancing and cleaning is in operation.
Visitors are also able to see the pint-sized ponies in Shetland World, get lost in the south’s largest hedge maze and get adventurous in the outdoor play areas. Alice, the Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts, the resident characters at The Park, are on hand to greet visitors, appear for socially-distanced photo opportunities and take to the stage for outdoor performances. Refreshments are available in the Wild Thing Café and the outdoor Flamingos snack shack.
There’s also lots of outdoor space for playing and picnicking. For inquisitive visitors there’s the outdoor Alice Trail where they can find out more about the story of Alice in Wonderland.
Limited tickets for half day sessions are available via online pre-booking only in order to ensure visitor numbers are kept within government guidelines. The half day sessions will run from 9.30am – 1pm and 2pm – 5.30pm. Entry for adults and children 3+ years – £10, 2 year old’s, seniors and registered disabled – £5.
Visit the stunning Steamer Point Nature Reserve:
Steamer Point is a 24 acre cliff top designated local nature reserve (LNR) that is situated between Highcliffe Castle and Friar’s Cliff on the Christchurch coastline. It comprises of woodland and aquatic habitats and supports a wide variety of flora and fauna. It is located approximately 7.5 miles from our self-catering accommodation in Bournemouth and is suitable for young and old alike.
Steamer Point Nature Reserve can be reached by a 15 minute car or taxi ride (standard taxi cost £19-£23 one way) or via bus (run hourly) which takes around 45 minutes no X1 OR X2 from Lansdowne Unisys, (15 minutes walk from our self-catering accommodation) with a 14 minute walk to the destination at the end.
The Information Centre at Steamer Point provides extensive information regarding Christchurch’s countryside and also has an interactive display for children to play and learn with. The centre is also the home of the Countryside Service and many of the countryside events in Christchurch are based here.
The site was formally declared as a local nature reserve and awarded a Green Flag by the Civic Trust in 2005. Visitors to Steamer Point may also wish to visit the fantastic Highcliffe Beach which sits below Steamer Point at the same time, made up of shingle and sand beaches, ideal for bodyboarding and swimming as well as a variety of cliff paths and promenades to explore.
Please note that dogs are not permitted on the beach between groynes H4 and H8 from 1 May to 30 September inclusive.
Christchurch Castle Ruins:
Built in the early 12th century the mound-top keep or Great Tower here was part of a large Norman castle that once dominated the town of Christchurch.
Nearby is the riverside chamber block known as ‘The Norman House’ and is one of the few remaining examples of domestic Norman architecture in England. Built in about 1160 it provided grand and comfortable living quarters for the Lord of Christchurch.
This is a great historical site to visit for the young and adventurous who wish to climb the steep steps up the remains or for those who wish to view from the ground there is a dirt path which runs around the base of the keep. This base path is also suitable for those with pushchairs or in wheelchairs.
Entry is free. The ruins are open during daylight hours and there is a car park nearby. Dogs on leads are welcome.
How to get to Christchurch from our self-catering accommodation in Bournemouth:
Getting to Christchurch By Car / Taxi From Bournemouth:
Christchurch is located approximately 4.5 miles from our self-catering accommodation in Bournemouth and this journey will take you around 10 minutes in a car or taxi. The standard price for a taxi to Christchurch is approximately £12 – £15 GBP for a one way trip.
Getting to Christchurch From Bournemouth Train Station:
Bournemouth train station is located approximately 1 mile from our self-catering accommodation in Bournemouth. From here you can hop on a train to Christchurch. Trains run approximately every 7 minutes to Christchurch and the journey will take a total of around 47 minutes.
You can then either take a 15 minute walk in to central Christchurch or grab a taxi for a 2 minute ride in to the centre (£5-£6) or hop on a bus for a 3 minute ride (No 1 1b, 31) which run every 30 minutes from Christchurch Fairfield.
Getting to Christchurch By Bus From Bournemouth:
There is a bus stop located a 20 minute walk from our self-catering accommodation in Bournemouth at Lynton Court Boscombe. The bus numbers 1 and 1b take around 24 minutes for a journey in to central Christchurch and run every 30 minutes.
Getting to Christchurch on Foot From Bournemouth – How long does it take?:
This journey will take you approximately 1 hour and 16 minutes if you are walking at a steady pace, and passes through the following local areas: Springbourne, Kings Park, Littledown, Holdenhurst, Iford, and Christchurch.
We hope you enjoyed our guide on the 6 best things to do in Christchurch and please revisit our website for our next blog on places to eat in and around Christchurch!