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Area Guide: Highcliffe and the surrounding areas

Highcliffe-on-Sea is a coastal village situated towards the eastern side of Christchurch, bordering the Hampshire boundary, which leads into New Milton and Barton-on-Sea. The Christchurch conurbation area encompasses a vast area, which includes the pretty village of Bransgore to the North and Burton that sits just outside Christchurch Town centre, with the remainder of Chrictchurch extending as far as Hurn, where the Bournemouth International airport is located, approximately five miles from the centre of Bournemouth. The ninety-two thousand acres of unspoilt open New Forest stretches across Hampshire and Dorset, hosting many pretty villages and Hamlets, where livestock take priority over us lesser mortals.

The area generally has many places of historic value, with Highcliffe Castle, a Grade I Listed building, sitting proudly on the cliff top at Highcliffe, set in magnificent grounds, which offer direct access to the beach. The 18th Century Castle was originally built by Lord Stuart de Rothesay, the son of Lord Bute. The castle is now in the ownership of English Heritage and was restored in the 1990’s with the dedication of the Christchurch Borough Council and a Lottery Grant, having been derelict through fire damage for two decades in the 1970’s and 1980’s. This historic building was restored through a remarkable repair and conservation programme and is now open to the general public for special events and festivals.

The coastal village of Highcliffe lies between the westerly entrance to the river Solent and the natural Harbour of Christchurch, where the rivers Stour and Avon Meet. The area attracts people looking for a change of lifestyle. This is more often than not, people moving from the Home Counties, to the coast, predominantly due to job relocation, or the need for a quieter pace of life.

Mudeford Quay lies approximately two miles west of the castle and can be approached via the coastal walks ways, encompassing the popular Avon Beach, which is a wind- surfer’s paradise. Mudeford Quay itself still thrives as a fishing haven and a year round tourist attraction, with the small ferry giving access to the popular Hengistbury Head with its picturesque beach huts, which have been enjoyed since the Victorian era.

The bustling town of Bournemouth is approximately ten miles west of Highcliffe, offering a wide variety of Leisure and entertainment facilities, with the Bournemouth International Centre (The BIC) at its heart, which hosts year round concerts, Conferences and all round entertainment. If your needs are an evening at the theatre watching the latest ‘’West End’’ musical, then the Mayflower in Southampton can fulfil your needs. The historic port of Southampton is synonymous for anyone departing for a cruise on the high seas, with global destinations far and wide.