Christchurch Priory

Christchurch Priory

Christchurch was originally known as Twynham. When the Normans arrived they decided to replace the Saxon church, which had stood since 800 AD, with a grand new building. Legend has it that when building the present Priory one of the roof beams was cut too short. The carpenters not knowing what to do left for the day but when they came back the next day the beam had extended overnight to fit exactly. They attributed this miracle to Jesus, also a carpenter, and the church and town became known as Christ's Church.

Christchurch Castle ruins

Christchurch Castle ruins

Priory Tours

Christchurch Priory is considered one of the finest churches in England and at 311 feet long it is the longest. It's an impressive building with a distinctive Norman style. You can also spot three Gothic architectural styles - early English, Decorated and Perpendicular, as well as Tudor Renaissance. Entrance is free to the church but a donation is suggested which goes towards the upkeep of this magnificent church. The inside is beautiful with tall arches sweeping up above, stunning decorated reredos (alterpieces) and you can see the miraculous beam in the Ambulatory. With so much to see it's well worth pre-booking a guided tour. Special evening guided tours are also organised throughout the year.

St Michael's Loft Museum is in what was the grammar school for boys and has an exhibition on the Priory's history. Guidebooks and various souvenirs are available from the Priory's Gift Shop. The Priory Quarter is the oldest part of Christchurch and its Saxon layout has largely been retained. It's a pleasant place to stroll around with a variety of shops, cafes and restaurants as well as the historic character buildings.

The restored Anglo-Saxon Place Mill

The restored Anglo-Saxon Place Mill

The Castle, Place Mill & The Red House

Just to the north of the Priory is what remains of the Norman castle built around 1100 AD. It was the centre of a siege during the English Civil War when a Parliamentary force held the Castle and the Priory grounds against the Royalists. Nearby is the 12th century riverside 'Constable's House'. This is an early example of domestic architecture which includes a rare Norman chimney. Down by Christchurch Quay is Place Mill which was mentioned in the Domesday Book. It is an original Saxon watermill that has been restored to working order. It ground corn right up until 1908. You can now visit it to see the workings of the mill and and its collection of milling artefacts. A resident artist and adjoining gallery display local works and changing exhibitions. The Red House Museum and Gardens is housed in what was the town's Georgian workhouse built in 1764. It now houses collections on local social and natural history. Admission is free.

Accommodation in Christchurch

  • Christchurch   (1.9 miles from the centre of Christchurch)
    Sleeps 8
    Prices from
    £202
    3 night Caravan/Apartment breaks. Sleep 4-8
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 101 reviews
    Rating from 101 reviews
    Stylish beachfront holiday park on the Dorset Coast overlooking Christchurch Harbour with spacious caravans & apartments, outdoor pool, playground, gym & family bar. Sleep 4-8.
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    Rating from 101 reviews
  • Bournemouth   (1.3 miles from the centre of Christchurch)
    Sleeps 6
    Prices from
    £220
    per week (seasonal) Sleeps up to 6
     
    Two self contained apartments in an original Bournemouth Victorian house close to beach. Onsite parking. Use of large garden. WiFi. One apt sleeps up to 4, the other up to 6
     
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  • Christchurch   (0.2 miles from the centre of Christchurch)
    Prices from
    £310
    Per week (seasonal) sleep 1-6
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 36 reviews
    Rating from 36 reviews
    Town house accommodation in Christchurch offering self-catering holiday homes furnished to a high standard. Great for families, couples, singles and groups.
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  • Christchurch   (0.0 miles from the centre of Christchurch)
    Prices from
    £40
    Per person B&B (2 sharing)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 154 reviews
    Rating from 154 reviews
    Multi-Award winning family run Christchurch Hotel. Awarded 5 Star Gold for luxury en-suite accommodation. Licensed bar, free WIFI & close to town centre & quay.
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 154 reviews
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  • Christchurch   (1.2 miles from the centre of Christchurch)
    Sleeps 5
    Prices from
    £433
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 5
     
    Ideal touring base
     
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  • Christchurch   (2.0 miles from the centre of Christchurch)
    Prices from
    £80
    Per room per night
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 46 reviews
    Rating from 46 reviews
    Best Western hotel with family rooms and conference facilities in Christchurch. Popular wedding venue, large garden, licensed bar
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  • Bournemouth   (1.8 miles from the centre of Christchurch)
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    £110
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 1590 reviews
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    With a stay at Village Urban Resort Bournemouth in Bournemouth, you'll be in the business district and minutes from Littledown Sports Center, and close to Castle Point Shopping ...
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  • Christchurch   (1.9 miles from the centre of Christchurch)
    Prices from
    £80
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 78 reviews
    Rating from 78 reviews
    Located in Christchurch (Mudeford), Waters Edge is convenient to Christchurch Harbour and Highcliffe Castle. This bed & breakfast is within the vicinity of Sammy Miller Museum a...
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 78 reviews
    Rating from 78 reviews
  • Christchurch   (0.2 miles from the centre of Christchurch)
    Prices from
    £129
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 640 reviews
    Rating from 640 reviews
    Modern waterfront hotel in Christchurch with luxury guest rooms, spa, swimming pool, great restaurant & licensed bar.
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  • Bournemouth   (0.7 miles from the centre of Christchurch)
    Sleeps 6
    Prices from
    £714
    Per week (seasonal) sleeps 6
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 2 reviews
    Rating from 2 reviews
    Luxury three bedroom, two bath/ shower room holiday accommodation in Bournemouth with balcony, garden & parking. Cot & high chair can be provided. Short breaks.
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 2 reviews
    Rating from 2 reviews
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