Best things about living in Christchurch
PUBLISHED: 15:48 03 December 2014 | UPDATED: 15:48 03 December 2014
Quality of life scores highly for residents of one of the UK's top retirement destinations.But with its proximity to beaches and the New Forest, it is perfect for active families too
Picturesque Christchurch – perfectly situated between coast and countryside - is located at the confluence of the rivers Stour and Avon, alongside a beautiful natural harbour. Known for its mild climate, the area offers easy access from London and the South East. With three in ten of its residents retired, last year Christchurch was named the UK’s top retirement destination. And Dorset has recently been named the best place to retire to in England and Wales (2014 Prudential retirement research).
It is ‘quality of life’ scores - determined by good health, home ownership, marital status, and propensity to travel among the over 65s - that contributed to Dorset’s high ranking. And Christchurch has evolved an infrastructure for an optimum retirement lifestyle and a thriving economy driven by the “grey” pound has ensued.
The bustling town also boasts a thriving cultural scene. The Regent Theatre hosts live shows, music concerts and screenings, and the nearby Priory also holds music and literary events.
There are also plenty of outdoor activities for all ages. This area of East Dorset is renowned for its specialist nurseries, pick your own fruit and New Forest walks. Stanpit Marsh, a 160 acre nature reserve on the outskirts of Christchurch, is home to many rare flora and fauna as well as wild horses. And for those who enjoy getting out on the water, Christchurch, Mudeford and Highcliffe all have sailing clubs.
Twynham is a popular area with families due to the excellent schools. Mudeford, famous for its highly desirable beach huts, has a working quay and abundance of holiday homes. Friars Cliff, one of the most sought after locations due to its close proximity to Friars Cliff Beach, offers large detached character residences, some with commanding sea views. Highcliffe is popular with families due to the excellent secondary school, but retirees also like it given its proximity to the beach.
However, this is a town of contrasts, with a relatively low wage local economy and high average property prices compounded by a low supply of homes for sale. Retirement homes are, of course, highly sought after and you will find a high percentage of local properties are detached bungalows. New developments such as those around the marinas make ideal family homes but, like much of the South of England, there is an urgent need for more affordable new homes to be built.
Christchurch Property Market - What’s sold in Christchurch over the last 6 months?
• For £1m – A waterfront house on the marina at Priory Key
• For £610,000 – A detached 4 bedroom house in Friars Cliff
• For £399,950 - A 4 bedroom chalet bungalow in Canberra Road
• For £177,000 – A new build retirement flat in Montagu Road
Data from YOUhome.co.uk