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CHRISTCHURCH RURAL DORSET www.visit-dorset.com

THE OFFICIAL VISITOR GUIDE 2017 Wimborne Minster | Christchurch | Highcliffe | Mudeford | Burton | Hurn

What’s inside Countryside ...................................... 1

Photography by:

Gardens ............................................ 5

(AB) adamburtonphotography.com

Coast ................................................ 9 Family Fun ........................................ 13

(SC) samanthacookphotography.co.uk (RH) dorsetpictures.com (Roger Holman)

History .............................................. 15

(JM) Jake Moore

Activities ........................................... 17

(JM2) James Maclannan

Eating Out, Food & Drink .................. 19 Culture & Shopping .......................... 21

Mudeford Sandbank

Christchurch and Rural

numerous attractions, a

escape and unwind. Use

Dorset offer the perfect

wealth of land and water–

the area as the ideal touring

holiday package; picturesque

based activities, major events

base; Christchurch and

countryside, stunning

and fabulous restaurants,

Rural Dorset are ideally

coastline, welcoming

pubs and tea rooms, there

placed to visit the charming

quality accommodation and

is plenty to see and do

New Forest National Park

beautiful market towns and

throughout the seasons.

to the east, cosmopolitan

villages to explore.

Of course if you wish to

Bournemouth and historic

just relax there are miles of

Poole to the west and the

With a fascinating heritage,

footpaths, glorious gardens

cathedral city of Salisbury to

spectacular natural harbour,

and tranquil parks in which to

the north.

Hambledon Hill- C RH

Breathe in the scent of bluebells in an ancient woodland, photograph the vibrant colours of traditional heathland or enjoy sweeping panoramas from Iron Age hill forts over patchwork fields.


Take in the sea air and

for hundreds of bird species.

Outstanding Natural Beauty.

stunning views over the coast

This beautiful, unspoiled area

See if you can spot the rare

from the Christchurch coastal

is rich in wildlife; much of it

Dartford Warbler, Natterjack

path or get the binoculars to

enjoys protected status with

Toad or the endangered Sand

the ready at Stanpit Marsh,

a multitude of sites of special

Lizard, a Smooth Snake or

where an unusual combination

scientific interest, nature

even the shy otter as you

of habitats provides a home

reserves and an Area of


Learn more about wildlife and conservation at a special event or at one of our award-winning visitor/information centres at Stanpit or Steamer Point or at our outstanding country parks at Moors Valley and Avon Heath.

stanpit marsh- C jm

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St Catherine’s Hill


Discover p tranquility a flora an

peace and and wonderful nd fauna

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Award-winning gardens abound in Christchur

Britain in Bloom Small Town winner and the p

stunning borders, win regular accolades in the

Enjoy the fabulous

Wimborne Model

walled, burgage plot

gardens of some

Town and the Red

which extends 100

of our amazing

House and Priest’s

metres down to the

attractions including

House Museums. The

clear waters of the

Highcliffe Castle,

latter sits on an old

River Allen.


Knoll Gardens

Knoll’s nation

acclaimed, s

four acre gar

a peaceful ha

featuring spe

naturalistic m planting and

trees and shr allotments



rch and Rural Dorset. Wimborne Minster was

parks and gardens in Christchurch, with their

e South and South East in Bloom competition.

The area has a rich horticultural history with some excellent independent nurseries and garden centres to discover, many specialising in particular species including ornamental grasses, fuchsias,


are a nice counterfoil


to the formal gardens

rden is

and parkland that


surround the house


itself, pay a visit in


February to see the


rubs. The

grounds carpeted in snowdrops, a magical

camellias, heathers, roses and azaleas. The area also has many larger garden centres, offering priest’s house museum- C sc

a full range of gardenware, plants and accessories.


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hengistbury head beach


SOUTH Historic Locations

Endless Beaches

others are less commercial

Christchurch’s sandy beaches

and welcome dogs. Highcliffe

Christchurch’s spectacular

stretch continuously from

Beach, Avon Beach and Friar’s

location at the edge of

Highcliffe in the East to Avon

Cliff Beach have all been

the Jurassic Coast World

Beach in the West. Each

awarded Quality Coast Awards

Heritage Site and on the

beach has its own individuality,

and the water quality is

shores of its own natural

some cater for families and

checked regularly throughout

harbour makes it the

people with disabilities and

the season.

perfect location to relax and enjoy stunning views across the four miles of coastline and indulge in a host of water activities.


Hengistbury Head Beaches across christchurch- C jm


COAST Sailing & Windsurfing

Fun For all The Family

There’s always activity on the

Enjoy a wet hair day and take

water as local sailing clubs

a RIB blast to the Isle of Wight,

regularly host regattas and

Brownsea Island or Old Harry

windsurfers travel from all over

Rocks or why not hop on a

the country to enjoy the wave

ferry from Mudeford Quay to

sailing at Avon Beach.

Mudeford Sandbank with its

Crabbing from the quayside

pretty beach huts. You can

is great fun for the children

walk along Hengistbury Head

whatever the weather and it’s

and catch the Noddy train

free… all you need is a line,

back, it’s great fun for all the

bucket and bait!

sailing at christchurch harbour- C jm


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A ferry service runs from Tuckton Tea GaRdens across the h A great opportunity to learn about the flora and fauna

tuckton Tea Gardens Tuckton Tea Gardens is a small cafe set in beautiful gardens beside the River Stour. The cafe has stunning views of the river, boats and gardens with a Putting green and Crazy Golf course.

Tu gar

mudeford sandbank Mudeford Sandbank offers picturesque views across Cristchurch Harbour and the Isle of Wight. The spit is connected to Hengistbury Head and forms a natural barrier between Christchurch Harbour and the open sea.


harbour to Mudeford Sandbank, stopping at Christchurch Quay. and see the swans for which Christchurch is renowned.

christchurch quay Christchurch Quay is a beautiful riverside open space in Christchurch town centre with a variety of events and facilities available throughout the year. The Quay is perfect for a picnic, relaxing, sports and games.

uckton rdens Christchurch quay

Mudeford QUAY Mudeford sandbank

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Adventure Wonderland is Dorset’s number one family theme park with over 30 fantastic rides and attractions both outdoors in Wonderland and Adventureland, and inside in the Wild Thing!

adventure wonderland

Blue sky days are ideal for discover

Christchurch Quay, an excellent wa

features including water sprays, and

free activities think a little more trad

paddling in the picturesque River St kite at Badbury Rings, Hengistbury

When it’s glorious outside, make the most of the sunshine with a visit to the country’s third largest country park at Moors Valley. With its forest cycle trails, walking paths, narrow gauge steam railway, fishing lake and adventure play area, it is the perfect place for burning off energy!


adventure cycling, moors valley

Whatever the weather, Christchurch and Rural Dorset has something to keep even the most demanding members of the family happily occupied.

ring the fantastic Splashpark on


ater play park with its interactive

d all free of charge! For other

ditionally, take a picnic and go

tour or try your hand flying a Head or Hambledon Hill.

Let off some steam at Snowtrax where children can try ski-bobs and ringos as well as dry-slope skiing and the Alpine Adventure Park. From juicy steks to filled baguettes, the Alpine Bar & Restaurant has a vast Mudeford Sandbank

range of foods to cater for all palettes.

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wimborne minster

The Magnificent churches, grand buildings and scenic mills, the historic borough of Christchurch and the heritage market town of Wimborne Minster share many links. 15

christchurch prioRY

Christchurch’s historic Priory Quarter is in the heart of the town centre, dominated by the stunning Priory Church with its excellent architecture ranging from Norman through to Renaissance.

The gracious Minster Church of St Cuthburga in Wimborne Minster also dates from the Norman period; its unusual artifacts include an Astronomical Clock and a rare Chained Library dating from 1686.

The superb cliff-top mansion of Highcliffe Castle, built between 1831 and 1835, is recognised nationally by its Grade 1 status on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural and Historical Interest. Today the Castle is a popular tourist attraction, community space and one of the most popular wedding venues in Dorset and Hampshire.

chained library

“the most important remaining example of the Romantic and Picturesque style of architecture”


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Cycling near Long Crichel - C AB


GET ACTIVE The picturesque countryside offers a huge variety of circular walks, long distance trails and on and off-road cycle routes. If you prefer not to go under your own steam, explore with the assistance of a four-legged friend and enjoy a gentle hack, there are a selection of riding stables catering for all abilities.

FISHING There are numerous lakes and fishing locations to discover, further information wier longham

can be found on our website.

WATERSPORTS Christchurch’s spectacular location at the edge of the Jurassic World Heritage Coast and on the shores of its own natural harbour makes it the perfect destination for watersports enthusiasts of all ages. The rivers Stour and Avon and Christchurch Harbour the perfect paddleboarding in christchurch hrbour

spots for kayaking and paddle-boarding.

MOORS VALLEY If high adrenalin activity is more you, head for the treetops on the Go Ape High Wire Adventure course at Moors Valley Country Park.

go ape, moors valley

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christchurch food and wine festival


TASTEBUDS Enjoy a full range of foods and meals, from fine dining in AA rosette restaurants, tasty treats in traditional pubs, delicious snacks in contemporary cafĂŠs to scrumptious cream teas, you are sure to find something to tempt you, whatever your budget.


Take time to savour the wonderful variety of locally produced foods on offer at one of the many farmers’ markets, farm shops or delicatessens in Dorset. Try a Dorset speciality;

offer menus bursting

Christchurch is

Festival Food Market

some Blue Vinney

with locally sourced

renowned for its

in the High Street,

Cheese, Dorset Apple

ingredients. Local

annual Food and

with over a hundred

Cake, or perhaps a

and regional foods

Wine Festival which

traders selling quality

Dorset Knob! Many of

are celebrated at

takes place in May,

local, regional and

our local restaurants,

a number of major

including the much

international food and

pubs and cafés

annual events.



To try some delicious

or bring your apples for

There are regular

Blue Vinney for yourself,

pressing at the Apple

Farmers’ Markets

visit the aromatic

Day at the Ancient

across the area as

Sturminster Newton

Technology Centre in

well as visiting French

Cheese Festival

Cranborne in October.

and Italian markets

levi roots at christchurch food and wine festival

Sturminster Cheese Festival

in Christchurch and Wimborne Minster.

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Arts & Exhibition Venues

Rural Dorset Artsreach www.artsreach.co.uk Barrington Centre (Ferndown) www.barringtoncentre.co.uk Lifestyle Verwood www.lifestyleverwood.com The Allendale (Wimborne) www.theallendale.org Tivoli Theatre (Wimborne) www.tivoliwimborne.co.uk Walford Mill Crafts (Wimborne) www.walfordmillcrafts.co.uk

There is always

of historic buildings,

someone around

cafĂŠs, pubs and

to give a warm and

restaurants and a

unique welcome to

blend of independent

our traditional market



and seaside towns

contemporary shops

Highcliffe Castle

Wimborne Minster

and high street stores,

and Christchurch offer

perfect for retail

a wonderful mix


Christchurch CADArts & the Hayloft Gallery

www.highcliffecastle.co.uk Place Mill www.visit-dorset.com The Regent Centre www.regentcentre.co.uk

Christchurch Mondays

Wimborne Minster Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays


Market Days

Christchurch and Rural Dorset offer a wealth of cultural activities all year round. Local artists and crafts people regularly exhibit their work at a variety of venues, a full list is available on the website and from our Tourist Information Centres.

Music lovers are

and music events

Stompin’ on

in for a treat with a

throughout the year

the Quomps in

feast of concerts,

help bring local

Christchurch (August)

musicals, recitals and

traditions alive such

or the truly quirky

shows from classics

as the Wimborne

Ashmore Filly Loo,

to rock, opera to folk.

Minster Folk Festival

celebrating mid-

Numerous arts



Enjoy great

Wimborne Minster or

setting such

performances in

The Regent Centre in

as Wimborne

one of our charming

Christchurch, or

Minster Church

theatres including

enjoy a show in a

or Christchurch

The Tivoli in

more unusual


stompin on the quomps christchurch quay

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christchurch castle ruins

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Profile for Christchurch and Rural Dorset Tourism

Christchurch and Rural Dorset Visitor Guide 2017  

The tourism guide for Christchurch and East Dorset 2017

Christchurch and Rural Dorset Visitor Guide 2017  

The tourism guide for Christchurch and East Dorset 2017