So why do visitors come to Christchurch, and what do they like to do while they are here? Christchurch (originally called Twynham, a name you see around the town) is rich in history, and sits on two rivers – the Avon and the Stour which both flow into Christchurch Harbour.
Christchurch has its own harbour for sailing, beaches for health and well-being, nature reserves and beautiful scenery and historically important buildings, and has therefore become a popular tourist destination, attracting some 1.5 million visitors a year. In fact, visitors who come to Christchurch often like it so much that they decide to retire here, which is good for the overall economy.
Particularly important to the town is Christchurch Priory built in 1094 (and even before that there was a Saxon church here). Just outside to the East, Highcliffe Castle is another popular attraction and one of the most popular wedding venues in Dorset and Hampshire.
The town’s High Street offers a wide range of shops and restaurants (and there is plenty of parking). Around the town you can see parts of the old castle, which dates from the twelfth century and is free to visit. Both Christchurch and Mudeford Quays are important places for those who own a boat or want to sail; and there are sandy beaches at Avon Beach, Friars Cliff and Highcliffe.
Night time entertainment can be found at the Regent Centre – the town’s arts centre, theatre and cinema; and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants of all types.
Although it is a resort in its own right, another important factor in Christchurch’s popularity is the fact that it is so near to both the World Heritage Jurassic Coast and the New Forest National Park; each with its own attractions. This makes Christchurch a good place for visitors to base themselves. Christchurch also neighbours Bournemouth, which is well known for great nightlife, entertainment and shopping.