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Top places to live in Dorset Christchurch

Lying between two rivers, the sea and the New Forest, the harbourside town boasts an idyllic location - and much more. Part of our Top 200 Places to Live series.

WHY?

The attractive riverside town, located where the river Avon meets the Stour, has the feel of a fishing village, with a natural harbour, amazing beaches and the New Forest close by. It also has excellent schools and good rail links.

EAT

You’re spoiled for choice. Enjoy seafood fine dining at the award-winning waterfront Jetty at Mudeford Quay. There are gourmet pizzas and cocktails at Soho and ditto with river views at The Boathouse. For nice nosh head over to the Georgian The King’s Arms Hotel, part of the illustrious Harbour Group and at The Captain’s Club with spa and views. Knock back natural, low intervention wines at Bodega.

SHOP

There are indy boutiques in the town, with Church Street and Wick Lane having some quirky shops, including Bombshell Chic for vintage-inspired togs, and a weekly market. For all the main high street stores you’ll need to slope over to Bournemouth (but it’s only 6 miles miles away).

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS

Bring your boat and/or fishing rod – the waterways are gorgeous. History hounds will want to head to Christchurch Castle, the Grade I listed Christchurch Priory and the gothic splendour of Highcliffe Castle. There may not be a cineplex here but the independent Art Deco Regent Centre has a rolling programme of theatre, music as well as film. The great outdoors is on your doorstep with walks, water sports and other activities (including the Stanpit Nature Reserves) around the town’s famous natural harbour. The nearby beaches are amongst the best in the UK. The heathland, trails and wild ponies of the New Forest are close by. Fancy an impromptu trip abroad? Bournemouth Airport is a mere 15 mins away.

AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE

There’s a wide range of properties of all types with Mudeford and Highcliffe at the (much) higher end of the market. The average house price over the last year was £437,054, with detached properties going for an average £551,192, terraced for £383,873 and semis for £341,498.

HOT PROPERTY

Literally on the quayside, this 2-bed Victorian house is on for £1m.

SCHOOLS

The area is well served for good schools. State Christchurch Primary, Mudeford Junior and secondary Twynham School are all ‘Outstanding’. Nearby independents include Bournemouth Collegiate (day and boarding from 2-18) and Yarrells Prep & Nursery. (nursery, pre-prep and prep).

BEST KEPT SECRET

It used to be in Hampshire until 1974.

COMMUTE

Christchurch to London Waterloo twice hourly from 1 hr 52 mins; hourly to Southampton (49 mins) and it’s only 8 mins to Bournemouth.

View the full Top 200 Best Places to Live 

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Dorset

Best Place to Live in Dorset Reader Vote

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Cast your vote by entering your email address and ticking the town or village you think deserves to win for the chance to bag £1,000 to spend at John Lewis, courtesy of our partner Strutt & Parker.

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Westbourne, Bournemouth

Probably Bournemouth's hippest, most cosmopolitan area stuffed with places to eat, drink and shop – and just 15mins walk to the beach.

Christchurch

Lying between two rivers, the sea and the New Forest, the harbourside town boasts an idyllic location - and much more.

Wimborne

A bustling town with pretty streets and courtyards, period buildings, independent shops and whopping weekend markets.

Lyme Regis

Georgian streets, independent shops and eateries, an ancient harbour (and even more ancient fossils) on offer at this pretty seaside town on the Jurassic Coast.

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Bridport

Sometimes known as London-by-the-sea, the town has a vibrant community, rich cultural scene, indie shopping and eateries.

best places to live Dorchester Poundbury, Dorset

Dorchester

The historic county town of Dorset, Dorchester is great for families with very good schools, close proximity to the Jurassic coast as well glorious countryside.

best places to live Shaftesbury Dorset

Shaftesbury

Sleepy hilltop town nestled within the Blackmore Vale in North Dorset, with indie shops, cafes and restaurants and one of the UK's most iconic views at Gold Hill.

best places to live Sherborne Dorset

Sherborne

The picture postcard market town in north west Dorset has gorgeous medieval and Georgian properties, an eclectic array of independent shops, cafes and restaurants, excellent schools, a magnificent abbey and not one but two castles.

Know another brilliant place to live in Dorset?

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