There is a fishing quay at Mudeford, known for its eighteenth century smuggling activities and battle with the Navy. Closeby is the famous "Run" where salmon are netted, and the sandy beaches of Avon Beach and Friars Cliff are popular with family holidaymakers.
The Saxons knew Christchurch as Twynham - the place between the waters. The present name is taken from the great Norman priory church, which is the longest parish church in England, and is set amidst a jumble of little streets with quaint shops and restaurants.
Alongside the Priory are ruins of the Norman castle. You may also try out ye olde stocks and even the ducking stool - the last one to be used in anger, and the Town Crier might tell you all about it.
There are picturesque walks along Town Quay - the superbly restored 900 year old Place Mill is open to visitors, the very many swans and the river boat traffic add to the atmosphere here.
Delightful riverside walks lead on to Stanpit Marsh, an area of special interest for wildlife lovers, and Christchurch Harbour which is an important spot for migrating birds.
The views across to Hengistbury Head and the Isle of Wight are dramatic.
The Red House Museum and the Electricity Museum are key places to visit.
Christchurch has a weekly Monday market held in Saxon Square and the High Street (which is "pedestrianised" for the occasion) and there is a Friday market at Highcliffe. Annually there is a Food Fest.
The beaches at Highcliffe can be accessed from the grounds of Highcliffe Castle if you are fit - it's a bit of a climb! The restored castle, originally built in 1835, is set in peaceful gardens and is a place to relax with a cup of tea or amble round the exhibition.
Road traffic congestion in Christchurch is at an all time high and is best avoided at peak times, and don't look up - this is one of those towns where you are being watched. There are several hotels and guesthouses providing accommodation in the locality.
Not far from Christchurch: Southbourne
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