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

  • Bournemouth   (1.6 miles from the centre of Christchurch)
    Prices from
    £1,350
    Per week (seasonal)
     
    Beautiful 5 bedroom celebration property in Bournemouth ideal for groups including stag/ hen parties. 3 twin & 2 triple bedrooms, parking for 2 cars, Wi-Fi. Pet friendly.
     
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  • Christchurch   (1.3 miles from the centre of Christchurch)
    Sleeps 4
    Prices from
    £295
    Per Week (Seasonal) sleeps 4
     
    5* luxury Dorset self catering holiday cottage in Christchurch, on the edge of the New Forest. Family friendly with large gardens & spacious rooms. Sleeps 4 +
     
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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.
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 36 reviews
    Rating from 36 reviews
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  • Bournemouth   (1.3 miles from the centre of Christchurch)
    Sleeps 6
    Prices from
    £200
    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   (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 99 reviews
    Rating from 99 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.
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 99 reviews
    Rating from 99 reviews
  • Christchurch   (1.5 miles from the centre of Christchurch)
    Sleeps 6
    Prices from
    £600
    per week (seasonal) sleeps 6
     
    Modern self catering cottage accommodation close to Mudeford Quay & Christchurch. 3 bedrooms, parking, Freeview TV, wifi. Private slipway, storage for kayaks/ windsurfers. Sleeps 6
     
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  • Bournemouth   (1.6 miles from the centre of Christchurch)
    Sleeps 4
    Prices from
    £420
    7 nights (seasonal)
     
    Ground floor Bournemouth apartment, just a short walk from the beach, shops and restaurants. Cot and high chair available free of charge. Well equipped kitchen & laundry facilities
     
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  • Christchurch   (1.3 miles from the centre of Christchurch)
    Sleeps 8
    Prices from
    £1,493
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 8
     
    Large holiday home in Southbourne, in an elevated position with sea views. Excellent modern luxury facilities throughout. Ideal for large families and small groups. Parking. WiFi.
     
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  • Bournemouth   (1.6 miles from the centre of Christchurch)
    Sleeps 2
    Prices from
    £235
    Per Week (seasonal) Sleeps 2
     
    Well appointed studio apartment in Bournemouth set just 100 metres from the beach at Southbourne. Off road parking, Wi-Fi service, cot/ high chair for children. No pets.
     
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  • Bournemouth   (1.5 miles from the centre of Christchurch)
     
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 95 reviews
    Rating from 95 reviews
    The Waterside is situated just 175 metres from a cliff-top overlooking Bournemouth’s 7 miles of sandy beaches. Bournemouth town centre can be reached in a 10-minute drive, and t...
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 95 reviews
    Rating from 95 reviews