Found: idyllic beach less than 2 hours away!
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But I’m happy to report that finally – dear God, finally – we’ve found it. The perfect sandy sojourn if you live in Bucks/Oxon or a little beyond. It’s Mudeford Sandbank, in Dorset (nearest town: Christchurch), an easy two hour drive from Muddy Towers to the most exquisite set of white sandy beaches, each enclosed wooden groynes or rocks.
The beaches are a two minute chug across to the spit on a ferry, and as you arrive you’ll see a fantastic cafe/bar/restaurant, The Beach House, open all week from 10am-6pm, and until 10pm on a Saturday night if you really can’t bear to leave. Next door is a small shop with the basics (wipes, nappies, sweets, cereal etc) if you’re planning on staying the night or need emergency child-bribing rations.
Attractive, colourful, much-loved beach huts line the beach – if you have a spare £100,000 knocking around you can buy one – and there’s not a beer belly or knotted handkerchief in sight.
You can either park at Mudeford Quay and get the little boat, or start from Hengistbury Head (go to Christchurch and follow the signs) and walk/scoot/cycle the mile or so to the beach. There’s a little Noddy train that goes both ways if you want some help getting back to the car.
All in all, an idyllic day out. Enjoy it.
Good for: families of all ages, watersports enthusiasts (Christchurch Harbour is on the ferry side of the spit), romantics
Bad for: British beach traditionalists. Donkey rides, Punch & Judy and arcades are 5 miles down the road in Bournmouth.
Mudeford Quay: BH23 4AB. Call 07968 334441 for up to date ferry information.
Mudeford Beach Hut Association for hut rentals and sales