Mudeford in Dorset is a popular coastal destination year round and one of our favourite spots in the UK. In this post we round up the best things to do in Mudeford for visitors of all ages.
Travelling to Mudeford
Before visiting Mudeford you need to know it’s a truly beautiful place and therefore, by default, it can get extremely busy.
If you are day tripping and have flexibility on when you can visit I would recommend visiting outside of school holidays as the area is very popular destination for UK holidaymakers.
The nearest train stations are Christchurch or Hinton Admiral. Both are about an hour walk or twenty minute cycle. Whilst there are some bus routes into Mudeford from nearby Christchurch and Bournemouth, travelling by car is the easiest option to access Mudeford. Pay and display parking is available at Mudeford Quay, Avon Beach and Friars Cliff.
Five Fun Things To Do In Mudeford
#1: Crabbing at Mudeford Quay
Mudeford Quay is a lobster-pot-lined working dock situated at the entrance to Christchurch Harbour. Mudeford is probably most famous for its authentic crabbing experience.
The waters off the Quay – although deep and completely unsafe to swim – are great for crabbing. If you don’t have your own crabbing supplies you can purchase everything you need from the little shop nearby.
Lastly… I’m sure I don’t need to say this but I will… please, please, please handle the crabs with care and return them safely to their ocean home once you are done.
If you are here with children, they’ll love the new natural play area which has opened next to the quay.
#2: Avon Beach
Avon Beach is a beautiful sand and shingle beach with blue flag waters. There’s a lovely promenade which connects the quay to the beach and onto Friars Cliff beach.
The beach is lovely for enjoying relaxing day by the water building sandcastles! You can also hire a Beach Hut if you’re visiting for a special occasion. The beach is really popular for watersports and you can almost always spot a windsurfer, kayaker or kite-surfer taking to the waves.
There’s two beach eateries to choose from – The Noisy Lobster & The Beach Hut Cafe. If you fancy a light bite or a slice of delicious home-made cake then The Beach Hut Cafe is calling. If a more refined a la carte dining is on the menu, then you’ll want to head to the Noisy Lobster.
The Noisy Lobster also has a take-away option from ‘All Things Fish’ on the promenade. This means you can enjoy a tasty fish and chip supper on the beach – a real taste of summer.
If you fancy a walk, from here you have direct access to Friars Cliff, Steamer Point Nature Reserve and Highcliffe beach. The beautiful Highcliffe Castle is about a 25 minute stroll along the beach and up the new zig zag path.
#3: Mudeford Spit & Hengistbury Head
From Mudeford Quay you can catch the foot ferry across to Mudeford Spit and Hengistbury Head. When family and friends visit (weather permitting) visiting here is our favourite thing to do in Mudeford.
The beach is beautifully sandy and home to some of the countries most expensive beach huts (a price tag typically around £300k!). There is also the Beach House restaurant serving light refreshments and snacks. Here you can also enjoy panoramic views of Christchurch and the harbour.
From Mudeford Spit you have direct access to explore Hengistbury Head. The stunning headland site has lots of things to see and do and is the perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors.
The Visitor Centre is packed full of interactive displays sharing the areas history, wildlife, archaeology and geology. Kids will love the wildlife cameras! Its around a 25 minute walk to the visitor centre from the beach.
Please note: There is a set of quite steep steps leading up from the beach on to the head.
#4: Watersports on the Quay
Mudeford harbour has safe and shallow waters which makes it the perfect spot to try out watersports.
ShoreSports Watersports School is located right on the Quay and offer visitors sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding lessons. They have a wide range of options to meet individual needs and budgets. If there is a few of you you could also organise a group lesson.
Following the Easter holidays, ShoreSports is open Friday – Monday every week. Pre-booking is recommended so get in touch with the team here.
#5: Take a wildlife walk at Stanpit Marsh
Stanpit Marsh is a wonderful nature reserve situated on the north side of Christchurch Harbour, just below the confluence of the rivers Avon and Stour.
The 65 hectare site is an unusual combination of habitats with 7000 years of human history. It is home to over 300 species of plant, including 14 rare and endangered species.
The Stanpit Marsh visitor centre is a great place to stop first. Here the wonderfully knowledgeable volunteers will share with you their comprehensive knowledge of the sites history and wildlife. During school holidays, they often run special activity trails and craft activities, which the children always enjoy.
Stanpit Marsh is grazed by New Forest Ponies. There are two separate herds: the main herd which permanently lives on site and a seasonal herd, that grazes Priory Marsh and is removed over winter. The ponies, which are semi-wild, are cared for by a grazier.
If visiting in winter months, ensure you were suitable walking shoes or wellies as some parts of the pathways are prone to flooding. If you’re taking your dog, please note that dogs need to be on a lead at all times. There is a recreational ground next door which is suitable for dogs to run off lead.
There is a free car park at the northern end of the marsh in Stanpit village. Enter the postcode BH23 3LX into your sat nav and you’ll see it.
You may also like…