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How to Spend a Great Day at Hengistbury Head in Dorset

How to Spend a Great Day at Hengistbury Head in Dorset

Hengistbury Head is the perfect place to spend a day on the beach in Dorset. The fabulous nature reserve juts out between the seaside towns of Bournemouth and Mudeford and is situated south of Christchurch Harbour.

Hengistbury Head offers visitors a lovely sandy beach, numerous clifftop and harbour-side walks and fantastic views of the Isle of White and the New Forest.

It is a great place to visit for days out in Dorset for adults and children alike, and there are so many quirky places to stay that you may decide to stay a bit longer than just one day!

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Relax on the beach

Pay and Display parking is plentiful, and a visitor centre and cafe are open for you to learn about the history of Hengistbury Head and, of course, to start or finish your day with a coffee, cake or ice cream.

Bring your own picnic, beach deck chairs and umbrella and prepare for a relaxing beach day after exploring the headland.

Hengistbury Headland and Beach

Follow the Hengistbury Head Trail

If you are feeling energetic, walk the 3.7-mile loop of Hengistbury Head, which can be completed in one and a half hours.

The walk will cover a few different environments, which means a lot of opportunities for wildlife spotting, which is perfect for nature lovers.

Several ponds are en route, so keep an ear out for the rare Natterjack Toad. From May to July, you can hear them calling to each other after dusk, often from over a mile away!

Birdwatchers will find this area the perfect spot to observe over 300 species, including kestrels and skylarks.

Loop Walk around Hengistbury Head

Hengistbury Head is named an ancient monument, as it is believed that an Upper Paleolithic settlement is underneath it, dating back to the stone age.

Hengistbury Head is one of England’s most important Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Cliff Walk at Hengistbury Head

The Famous Beach Huts of Mudeford Spit

Make sure to visit the sandbank of Mudeford Spit, accessed via Hengistbury Head. The famous painted Hengistbury Head beach huts are among the country’s most sought-after beachside huts.

The average price for a beach hut here is £300k, and that’s with no internal toilet or running water (washing facilities are located in a block nearby). Complete madness, maybe, but plenty of buyers are eager to own one of the most desirable beach huts in the UK.

If you want to experience a stay in one of the beach huts, many of them can be rented and offer wonderful views out to sea and across the harbour.

You can also catch the Mudeford Ferry from here. A small passenger ferry sails between Mudeford Spit and the quay on the other side of the entrance to Christchurch Harbour.

If you don’t want to walk to Mudeford Spit, take the land train from Henigstbury Head car park.

Mudeford Beach Huts

Useful Information about Hengistbury Head

Getting to Hengistbury Head

By Car:

Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre, Hengistbury Head Nature Reserve,

Bournemouth, Dorset BH6 4EW

By Train:

Christchurch is the nearest train station to Hengistbury Head, just over a mile away, with direct routes from London Waterloo taking just under two hours. Then you can take the bus or ferry.

By Coach:

From London to Bournemouth via National Express Coach will take under 3 hours.

By Bus:

The Bournemouth Hop-On-Hop-Off Tourist Bus will stop at both Christchurch and Hengistbury Head.

Best Accommodation in Dorset near Hengistbury Head

Christchurch Accommodation

Mudeford Accommodation

Bournemouth Accommodation

Best Things to Do in Dorset near Hengistbury Head

Christchurch’s medieval church and 11th-century priory ruins sit alongside a lovely harbour, where boat trips will take you along the River Stour to view the surrounding area.

If, like me, you fancy having a go at boating yourself, hire one for an hour from Quay Leisure Boat Hire in the harbour.

I had a fabulous time meandering along the river for only £30, a bargain for such an enjoyable experience.

Christchurch Abbey

In Christchurch, you will also find Tuckton Tea Gardens, a traditional cosy café in beautiful gardens beside the River Stour.

With stunning views down the river Stour and to Christchurch Priory, sit back and watch the boats go by while enjoying afternoon tea, light lunches or locally made ice cream.

A putting green and crazy golf course will keep all the family amused.

view of the river in Christchurch

Bournemouth Beach is one of Britain’s best beaches. It is the main attraction when visiting Bournemouth, and with seven miles of golden sands and blue-flag status for safety and cleanliness, it’s not to see why!

A view of the sandy beach leading to the sea

If you prefer to venture further afield, I recommend visiting the New Forest National Park.

In just 40 minutes by car, you will be able to experience the beauty of this area with its quintessential English villages and, of course, the New Forest Ponies who reside here.

Ponies grazing in the New Forest

Please Pin for Future Travel to Dorset


Saturday 8th of August 2020

Well this is seriously enticing! Great photos and info. We've been to the New Forest years ago and I'd go back to that area now just to see Bournemouth Beach! I had no idea England had beaches like that. And I love the beach huts.


Friday 7th of August 2020

What a beautiful place. I love those beach huts look similar to ours on the Peninsula. We are unable to rent ours, they are privately owned, some have power but your not allowed to stay overnight. They can fetch over $100,000 Aus if sold. The sandy toes how interesting.