This is a coastal destination for those in search of a lively year-round seaside experience. Christchurch Bay provides both a relaxing and revitalising lifestyle with its mix of outdoors leisure activities, arts centres, heritage and destination restaurants.
Lying to the west of the Solent, one of the most famous sailing areas in the world, Christchurch Bay is popular with water sports enthusiasts, among them kayakers and kite surfers, paddle boarders and sailors. Meanwhile the sandy beaches and clear waters, from Milford on Sea in the east to Mudeford sandbank in the west, attract swimmers and families keen to splash in the waves.
Other activities include a clifftop golf course at Barton on Sea, long distance coastal footpaths and nature reserves of national importance, home to a range of birds, butterflies and insects. Dolphins and seals have also been spotted in the waters of Christchurch Bay.
The Bay’s varied residential communities include coastal villages, leafy seaside neighbourhoods and historic riverside market towns. The past can be seen in its historic structures, including a Tudor fort at the end of Hurst Spit and Highcliffe Castle, an elaborately ornate country house, once home to Harry Gordon Selfridge, owner of the London department store.
Meanwhile a thriving arts scene can be found among the area’s galleries, museums and theatres, such as the Forest Arts Centre in New Milton and Red House Museum in Christchurch.
Christchurch Bay also has a strong reputation for food and drink. Picturesque Milford on Sea runs the foodie spectrum from stylish cafes to traditional tea rooms, wine bars to fine dining. New Milton’s Chewton Glen is one of the country’s finest country house hotels with a restaurant and cookery school overseen by TV chef James Martin. Charming Christchurch is home to one of the country’s first food festivals and an excellent selection of restaurants including waterside The Jetty. There are popular beachside eateries while Mudeford Quay, at the mouth to Christchurch Harbour, is the focal point for the local fishing community, as well as a favourite with families for crabbing
With excellent road and rail links to Bournemouth, Southampton, Winchester and London, and easy access to Bournemouth and Southampton airports, residents can feel as though they are on holiday while still being connected to the workaday world.