Things to do in Christchurch, Dorset
Historic Christchurch nestles between the River Avon and Stour at their confluence and enjoys unparalleled harbour views, walks and wildlife.
Close to lively Bournemouth and the tranquillity of the New Forest and rural Dorset, Christchurch's unique combination of heritage, coastline, harbour and rivers provides all the ingredients to make your visit extra special.
Christchurch dates from Saxon times, and lies in the shadow of the magnificent 11th century Priory Church and still retains its Saxon street layout.
Originally known as Twynham "the place betwixt the waters", Christchurch takes its name from the Priory Church, which was originally known as Christ's Church.
The town centre dates from Saxon times and lies adjacent to the majestic 11th century Priory church.
The beautiful historic Priory has a wealth of medieval carving and is reputedly one of the longest parish churches in England.
It is famous for its 1094 Norman nave and turret, the Lady Chapel's pendant vault, probably the first in this country, misericords including one, by tradition, the oldest in England.
Also the Miraculous Beam, the ninth centenary commemorative stained-glass window and the restored 18th century organ.
Red House Museum and art Gallery, was originally a workhouse. This fascinating museum contains countless objects relating to local history, geology, natural history and archaeology as well as an impressive costume gallery.
Place Mill, mentioned in the Doomsday Book, was part of the conventual buildings of the Priory. Although the mill has been carefully restored, it no longer grinds flour, but the working machinery provides a fascinating backdrop to a collection of milling artefacts, arts and crafts.
The fascinating older part of the town with its quaint houses, excellent restaurants and specialist shops, is just a few minutes walk from the bustling High Street, with its Saxon Square shopping precinct.
On Mondays in the town centre there is a large and popular market.
They all offer amazing views across Christchurch Bay from the Isle of Wight and the Needles in the east to Hengistbury Head in the west.
The Regent Centre is the cinema, theatre and concert hall serving Christchurch and the surrounding area. It was built in 1931 and retains all the Art Deco charm of the era.
The foyer is used by local artists, for exhibitions of their work.
The Regent Centre screens new release films, as well as hosting concerts, plays, pop groups and pantomime to suit all tastes.
Christchurch is famous for its exciting places to eat out, and has probably the widest selection of restaurants in the area offering international cuisine.
Christchurch has a wide range of indoor and outdoor sports. As well as the Two Riversmeet Leisure centre, there is excellent angling, watersports, bowls, tennis, golf, riding, skiing and ski bobbing.
Christchurch is ideal for walkers with a variety of walks by the sea, the rivers, through heathland and woodland or across Stanpit Marsh - the birdwatcher's heaven.
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The M3 and M27 provide easy access from London and the South -East, and the M40 and A34 provides good access from the Midlands. The A35 links Southampton with Christchurch and continues through the town to Bournemouth, Pool and the South -West.
South-West Trains provide a regular rail service between London Waterloo, Southampton, Christchurch, Bournemouth, Poole and Weymouth. Connecting regional and direct inter-city trains operate from Bournemouth.
Bournemouth International airport is actually located in the borough of Christchurch, only 10 minute drive from the town centre. Ryanair provide a daily scheduled flight to Dublin and Gil Airways operate a daily service (except Saturdays) to Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Christchurch is only 9 miles from the port of Poole where Brittany Ferries sail to Cherbourg in France and Condor Ferries operate scheduled services to the Channel Islands and St. Malo from May-October.