Mudeford Sandbank is a sandy peninsula or spit at the entrance to Christchurch harbour. Walking along the beach you get incredible views of the sea on the east side (sunrise) and the harbour on the west side (beautiful sunsets). On most days you can see the Isle of Wight and Needles across the Christchurch Bay.
Due to its popularity this beach can get a bit busy during the summer months but it is also a great location for a romantic walk at anytime of the year. On a sunny day you have to pinch yourself to remind you that you’re still in England.
The beach is about 500m long and comprises golden sands backed with dunes and almost 300 colourful beach huts. Unlike other beach huts these ones are residential and can be stayed in overnight from April to October. Many of the huts are like tiny houses with kitchens and bedrooms upstairs. Some have recently been sold for more than £250,000 ! As well as the hefty purchase price owners have to pay annual rates of about £500 and a licence fee (ground rent) of about £2,500 a year.
Facilities at the beach include several toilet blocks, a beach shop and cafe. Unfortunately the Beach House Cafe burned down in 2018 and has been replaced by a temporary set up. Plans for a new cafe have now been approved and it’s expected to open in 2022.
It should be noted that there are no lifeguard services on this beach. Do not swim near the harbour entrance as the current are very strong.
The southern end of the beach extends to the ancient headland of Hengistbury Head and the whole area is designated a Site of Nature Conservation. This area is particularly popular with dog walkers since dogs are allowed on the beach all year round.
Mudeford Sandbank is rather isolated and you can’t just drive up and park close by. There are a few ways to get there:
1. The most popular way is to park at the Hengistbury Head car park. Sat Nav postcode of the car park is BH6 4EL (Google map). For parking details and tariffs see Hengistbury Head Beach. It’s then a 20 minute walk to Mudeford Sandbank along a surfaced level road. There’s a cafe and toilets next to the car park. There is also a land train that operates this route (adults £2.30, children 4-16 years £0.70, Family tickets (2 adults, up to 3 children and 1 dog £5.80) – info and prices given as a guide, prices and service may have changed.
2. The easiest way is to park at Mudeford Quay and take a ferry ride from the Quay to the jetty on the harbourside at Mudeford Sandbank. www.mudefordferry.co.uk Adult one way fare is £2 or £1 for children. Ferries run every 15mins from Easter to late October.