Another bright sunny morning so we started the day with a walk along the seafront to Boscombe. Walking along to the end of the pier we had far reaching views to the Isle of Wight and along the coast. Boscombe Pier first opened in 1889, but the boomerang shaped Art Deco entrance wasn’t added until 1958 and is now grade 2 listed. There used to be a theatre at the end of the pier but this was demolished in 2008 when the pier was renovated.
Just beyond the pier we enjoyed our morning cups of coffee sitting out on the terrace of the Urban Beach bistro. It was hard to believe it was February as we sat out in the sunshine watching children play on the beach.
A few miles further along the coast lies Christchurch, an attractive town dominated by its elaborate Priory Church, dating back to Norman times. It’s very interesting to tour the ancient church with its vaulted ceilings and view its length as it is the longest parish church in the country which actually exceeds the size of 21 English cathedrals.
Adjacent to the priory lies Christchurch Quay, a pleasant riverside promenade where one can both admire the boats moored in the harbour as well as hire rowing and motor boats for short trips. A large number of swans reside along the sheltered inlet, probably because there are plenty of people around sharing their sandwiches with them!
We then followed the trail known as the ‘Nun’s Walk’ along the side of the priory, the pathway was very scenic and ended at a restored Anglo Saxon water mill known as Place Mill, now used as a gallery during the summer months. I recommend following this short trail during a visit to the town (see feature photo).
Feeling hungry, we found a pizzeria for a late lunch and then took a look around the town centre shops before returning to Bournemouth later in the afternoon. A market is held along the high street in Christchurch each Monday throughout the year.
The sunny February weather was too good to last as we woke up to a wet, windy morning. Not to be deterred, we walked along Bournemouth’s West Cliff as far as Durley Chine watching the large waves crashing along the seashore. After a leisurely lunch we drove to Lymington located in the adjoining county of Hampshire. Lymington is a Georgian market town situated on the southern edge of the New Forest mid way between Southampton and Bournemouth. The town is a well known sailing resort boasting two marinas as well as two sailing clubs. The high street has a good selection of independent retailers, several chandlers and some clothes sailing shops including Musto.
A large market is held each Saturday selling local produce, textiles and plants. I particularly liked the small shop selling freshly caught dressed crabs ready to take home to eat.
It’s very picturesque down by the quay even when the weather isn’t at its best. Pastel coloured buildings with low mullioned windows add to its charm. Across the bay, Wight Link ferries operate a regular service between Lymington and the picturesque small town of Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight, the journey time taking only 40 minutes. It’s also possible to take boat trips along the Solent and to The Needles (these are three distinctive chalk stacks that rise out of the sea off the most westerly point of the Isle of Wight). Along the quay, there are plenty of benches to sit on during the summer where you can relax, admire the view and sample some of the locally made New Forest ice cream.
Returning to Bournemouth, the rain continued to fall but we had still managed to spend an enjoyable day exploring the Dorset/ Hampshire coast.
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