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!
Do you need to arrange travel insurance, car hire or accommodation? Please check out my resources page to help you plan your trip.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Useful Information about Hengistbury Head
Getting to Hengistbury Head
Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre, Hengistbury Head Nature Reserve,
Bournemouth, Dorset BH6 4EW
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.
From London to Bournemouth via National Express Coach will take under 3 hours.
The Bournemouth Hop-On-Hop-Off Tourist Bus will stop at both Christchurch and Hengistbury Head.
Best Accommodation in Dorset near Hengistbury Head
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.
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.
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!
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.
Please Pin for Future Travel to Dorset