Highcliffe beach is reached from the clifftop car park, locally known as the Crow’s Nest, off Wharncliffe Road.

Dorset Beaches: Friar;s Cliff

Where is it? Easternmost stretch of the Dorset Coast,signposted from the A35 and A337 at Christchurch

Best features: Shingle beach with safe, clean bathing and views to the Isle of Wight.

Local facilities and shops: Cliffhanger Cafe beside the clifftop car park off Waterford Road/ Wharncliffe Road and the shopping centre of Highcliffe is just a short, level walk from the car park.

Great for the kids? Swimmers, paddlers and watersports are segregated into designated areas between numbered groynes. The area between groynes H0 and H8 is for swimmers, the area between H8 and H11 is for watersports.

How far are the loos? There are public toilets in the Highcliffe Cliff Top car park.

Parking: The Highcliffe Cliff Top pay-and-display carpark is at the foot of Waterford Road and has an adjoining grassed overspill area.

Public transport: Wilts and Dorset bus services between Bournemouth and Lymington with stops in the centre of Highcliffe village. The Wilts and Dorset routes 121 and 123 serving Mudeford, Friars Cliff and Highcliffe run half hourly from Christchurch High Street.

How about pets? Dogs are not permitted on a short stretch of Highcliffe Beach between groynes H8 and H11 from May 1 until September 30. Dogs must be on a lead on the promenade

Wet weather options:

Highcliffe Castle Restored Victorian mansion, plus visitor centre and gift shop, tea rooms, exhibitions and events. Open 11am-5pm daily in summer. 01425 278807.

Two Riversmeet Leisure Centre, Stony Lane South,Christchurch Wide range of sports and activities for all ages and abilities. Special children’s activities throughout the week. 01202 477987.

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