Holiday cottages in Christchurch, Dorset

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Christchurch is a pleasant town with an interesting heritage, situated at the point where the River Stour and the River Avon flow out into Christchurch harbour. Originally known as Twynham "the place betwixt the waters", Christchurch takes its name from its 11th century Priory Church, which was originally known as Christ's Church. The area called 'The Quomps' is a flat, open, grassed area containing a paddling pool and children's play area. Place Mill is a Grade II listed building dating from 1100AD which straddles the millstream at the Quay. It has recently been restored and is open to the public. You'll find pleasant cafes and tearooms occupying other quaint old buildings in Christchurch. In the summer months, music drifts out from the Victorian bandstand. Take a stroll along the riverside promenade and soak up the atmosphere of this charming spot. Christchurch is also a popular place for sailing and other water sports; there are boats available for hire as well as guided boat trips around the bay.

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Just two miles from Christchurch is Mudeford, a little fishing village at the entrance to Christchurch harbour. It has a pretty quay with old fisherman's cottages, lobster pots and traditional watering holes. You can also catch the ferry to Mudeford Sandbank, a unique spit of land joining up with Hengistbury Head. From this headland you can also reach the sandbank by foot or bicycle, but not by car (which makes it nice and peaceful!). There's a pretty row of beach huts and an interesting maritime history to discover. The sandbank is an important environmental site, supporting a variety of wildlife. Hengistbury Head protects Christchurch bay from prevailing south-westerly winds. It's a scenic headland which is unfortunately under constant threat from severe coastal erosion. Christchurch holiday cottages offer great freedom to explore Dorset if you are on a self-catering holiday.

The Alice in Wonderland Family Fun Park has won awards as a top family attraction; it's situated inland from Bournemouth and Christchurch, just opposite Bournemouth international airport. Themed around Lewis Carol's classic tale, the park includes a 'Mad Hatter's tea-cup ride', 'Cheshire cat's castle of adventure', 'Queen of Heart's croquet lawn', and the impressive 'Alice in Wonderland maze'. At weekends and school holidays there are also pantomime style shows and, in good weather, a storytelling lawn. The park also now includes 'Wild Thing', a 'next generation' 10,000 square foot indoor play centre aimed at 2-12 year olds, which is open all year round. The Christchurch area of Dorset is a great place to rent a cottage for a family holiday in the UK.