When you think of Bournemouth, the beach and sea will spring to mind, but there are a few different avenues for waterside living around the town and surrounding areas.
One of the most compelling reasons to lay down roots in Bournemouth has to be the prospect of waterside living. Opening up your patio doors to enviable aspects of the River Stour or the English Channel as you eat your breakfast or wandering to the foot of your garden to embark on a splashing good trip down the river. What a life! An aspirational lifestyle, perhaps, but with the abundance of options along our 7 miles of coastline and various river ways, perhaps life by the water is more within reach than you may expect? Whether you have visions of drawing the curtains to views of a magnificent international marina or being based paces from your local boat club, here is a round-up of some of the most popular waterside addresses in town:
In the Bournemouth area itself, you’re frankly spoilt for choice with an assortment of apartments, flats, villas and houses affording magnificent sea views across the English Channel. From Hengistbury Head to Southbourne, Boscombe, Bournemouth, Westbourne and across to Alum Chine on the Poole border, if you’ve got your sights on seaside life there’s plenty of options to bag some enviable sea glimpses for yourself.
While a lot of the town has branched out into the beautiful countryside inland as the population has soared over the past century and a bit, there are endless addresses close-by the sea if this is in your residential wish-list. Much of the East Overcliff is understandably occupied by a mix of vintage and modern hotels and guesthouses although there are a number of flats and apartments still offering premium vantage points from various sites along this premium road and across town stretching along into popular Durley Chine to the west. From Durley across to Alum Chine you’ll find enviable modern and older sprawling properties peeping through the pretty fauna around West Overcliff Drive and along desirable Milner Road.
If you are a serious mariner or just in possession of your own boat, however, finding a property with a mooring would probably steer your search to the brinks of Christchurch or Poole if you’re intent on staying in Bournemouth.
Upmarket shopping and residential area Westbourne has its own pathway to the beach in Alum Chine. This beautiful, gardens-flanked avenue to the seafront is a popular choice for those who want to combine the peaceful seaside backdrop with a centre-of-town lifestyle. There are a number of cliff-top residences with an Alum Chine address including the snaking West Overcliff Drive, which stretches into Bournemouth town centre, Alumhurst Road and Sandbourne Road with sea glimpses available further back from higher ground. Again, there are a lot of modern flats and apartments mixed in with older bungalows and houses.
Southbourne is a popular spot for seaside living, with properties dotted along Southbourne Overcliff Drive and Southbourne Coast Road providing commanding views across the English Channel. There are a number of high-rise and hill-top residences offering covetable sea glimpses or panoramas a matter of paces away from the cliff-top too so take a wander around the local roads to figure out your perfect beachside vantage.
Boscombe is a district of Bournemouth to the east of town and the west of Southbourne. The area has seen a lot of modernisation and restoration in recent years to transform it into a spa town. The area itself is quite sprawling, with opportunities to enjoy glimpses of the sea from a number of residential roads off the main Boscombe Overcliff Drive on the clifftop. Heading into town there are covetable properties along Boscombe Cliff Road, into the aptly-named Marina and Sea Road, where a number of high-gloss sea-facing modern apartment buildings rub shoulders with historic art deco residences each enjoying the views across the Channel past the town’s striking art deco pier. On the other side of the town, popular residential addresses affording the same stunning sea views can be found along Undercliff Road, East Overcliff Drive and Manor Road on the route heading west into Bournemouth.
If riverside living is more your thing, there is a settlement on the River Stour that might be ideal. Iford is the bridging point between Christchurch and Bournemouth, with Iford Bridge the furthest point inland that can be accessed by a boat along the River Stour from its source in Christchurch harbour. If you fancy living right on the Stour there are several properties along Old Bridge Road with on-foot access to the riverbank ranging from detached housing to mobile homes.
Home to the second biggest natural harbour in the world (the first being Sydney), Poole has been a major maritime town and fishing port since the 12th century. So if you’ve got some serious sea-legs or a real thirst for waterside living, a Poole postcode won’t see you far wrong.
Home of prestigious luxury motorboat manufacturer Sunseeker and with a centuries-old maritime tradition, Poole Quay is a safe bet for a home within steps of the water. There are a mix of modern apartments and older properties in the immediate Quay and adjacent Baiter Park and Marina areas. The Quay itself offers the Port of Poole Marina and Poole Quay Boat Haven, where residents and visitors can moor their crafts within easy reach of the town’s amenities. The Marina can berth up to 75 boats of up to 60 metres in length by prior arrangement and the quayside Boat Haven can also accommodate vessels of these dimensions. The Quay (road name) offers up some pretty harbour-side apartments and flats above some of the town’s waterside traders. Head east down the quay and along to Baiter and the mixed properties along Ballard Road, Labrador Drive and Catalina Drive offer a choice of accommodation within easy sight and reach of the harbour.
Far from the fictional land travelled by Gulliver but just as marvellous, Lilliput borders the desirable Poole districts of Sandbanks and Canford Cliffs and shares a shoreline with Poole Harbour, gazing out to Brownsea Island. If you want to join the seaside set with a Lilliput address, there are plenty of options mainly snaking off from the main Sandbanks Road. Take a browse along Firs Lane or gorgeous Gardens Crescent to the East of the village. Lilliput is also the address of popular Salterns Marina, where you can enjoy premium facilities as well as annual or casual berthing of boats up to 20 metres in length. On the other side of the Marina and into Parkstone Bay, other water-lapped residences can be snapped up along Lagoon Road, Elms Avenue and Pearce Avenue on the approach to Parkstone Yacht Club.
Into Sandbanks, one of Poole’s most prestigious addresses with the fifth most expensive properties on the planet! Collectively the Sandbanks peninsula and Canford Cliffs shoreline have been dubbed Britain’s ‘Palm Beach’ by the media and with its luxury features and the glamourous lifestyle they promote it’s easy to see why. Looking to the spit itself and you’ll find glorious gated mansions all along Banks Road and Panorama Road – a mix of old Edwardian buildings and glossy, glass-shelled living spaces and everything in between. There are a few even more exclusive roads tucked away from the main circular thoroughfare including Old Coastguard Road, while the peninsula’s Royal Manor Yacht Club provides a premium spot to dock. Head out along Shore Road for another magnificent set of properties, each one blessed with a unique vantage point of Poole Harbour.
If you’re a fan of Bournemouth’s tree-lined walks, or Chines, but still hanker after a Poole address, Branksome Chine on the Bournemouth / Poole border might be the spot for you. From the grandly-monikered Branksome Towers with its mix of new flats and older housing perched behind the first row of beach huts, along to Westminster Road and Pinecliff Road stretching through to desirable Canford Cliffs you’ll discover plenty of places to make a home.
Canford Cliffs is a popular and luxurious little village perched on the Poole coastline just a beautiful, leafy meander down to its own golden stretch of sand. Pick up Pinecliff Road from Branksome in the east and you’ll soon reach lavish-sounding Martello Park. The area doesn’t disappoint, with a smattering of cliff-side piles affording stunning, sweeping views of the bay just beyond the steep cliffs. With Ravine Road, Meriden Close and the tell-tale Cliff Drive taking you all the way to Flaghead Chine before entering prestigious Sandbanks, this would be a prime address if you’re after a Poole beachside abode.
Hamworthy / Cobb’s Quay
On the Hamworthy side of Poole Quay overlooking Upton Lake, the majestic Cobbs Quay can accommodate up to 1090 boats in a mix of marina and dry stack berths. If you fancy living in this lively, seafaring community there are a number of water-facing properties to be found around Woodlands Avenue, with exclusive channels for entering the main harbour. Exit via Poole Quay and round the coast to reach Hamworthy Park if you prefer your waterside views out to sea rather than across the harbour.
Hamworthy Park and Rockley Pier
Hamworthy Park is 11 hectares of greenery with a beach backing on to Poole Quay. It’s somewhat of a motorboater’s playground with plum properties backing on to the water and in reach of the beach found along Branksea Avenue and Lake Road. Lake Road is also home to Lake Yard, a 44 berth deep water marina with magnificent views across Poole Harbour and its islands.
Just on the Christchurch edge of town, Tuckton is centred on its little tea rooms overlooking this pretty stretch of the River Stour. If you fancy setting down roots in this rather anonymous corner of Christchurch there are some prime riverside properties to be bagged along, a-hem, Riverside Road and Belleview Road with apartments on Willow Way offering prime moorings on the opposite side of the Stour.
The prospect of riverside living is a very common motivation behind people’s decision to move to historic Christchurch. Whether you want to dock on the bank of the Stour or pitch up your motorboat in the Harbour there are plenty of options for those seeking a nautical life. Check out some of the properties along Willow Way and Sopers Lane, both in very close proximity to Christchurch Rowing Club. Closer to town, the properties on Quay Road have their own ‘water courtyard,’ with private and sheltered moorings while Christchurch Quay itself is a busy thoroughfare for pleasure and leisure craft to pitch up or pass by.
Taking prime position between Christchurch Harbour and Christchurch Bay, pretty Mudeford offers a number of options for people eager to live within a glance of the open water here. The main road stretching through Stanpit and into Mudeford harbours a variety of properties with such nautical addresses as Fisherman’s Bank, Coastguard Way and Waterside following the arc of the harbour around to Highcliffe Sailing Club.
If you’re serious about sailing and prepared to live a 40-minute commute out of town (13 nautical miles!), Lymington life might be worth a punt. Lymington River is lined with opportunities for waterside living and offers a mixture of property types along Quay Road and Bath Road. The Lymington Harbour Town Quay and Lymington Yacht Haven are ideal moorings, whether storing your boat for the night or just stopping in to go for dinner in town.
Milford On Sea
Sitting just south of the New Forest, Milford On Sea is another pretty settlement right on the Solent – Channel divide offering sweeping sea views from a number of prom-side addresses. It’s one bay closer to Bournemouth but still a fair drive at some 35 miles from town. If you choose to settle on the Keyhaven side of the spit, you can snap up a property along Saltgrass Lane and moor your boat at Keyhaven marina. This row of properties boasts sweeping sea views across the salt marshes. Closer to the heart of the village, you’ll find largely modern beachside residences along Hurst Road facing the shingle shore, plus prime properties on the corner of Sea Road.
Barton on Sea
Inching closer along the coast towards Bournemouth and you reach Barton on Sea, a beachside suburb of New Milton with a smattering of plum-positioned properties on the water’s edge and tall residences grasping some sweeping sea views. Move along Marine Drive and you’ll spot a mixture of flats and houses gazing out across the expansive green which leads to the cliff’s edge beyond.
The pretty Christchurch town of Highcliffe is the next coastal settlement you reach on the sweeping coastal journey from the edge of the beautiful New Forest bound for Bournemouth. Now, a lot of the immediate coastline is occupied by the magnificent Highcliffe Castle and the thick woodland that masks the coastline below. But properties along Wharncliffe Road enjoy uninterrupted sea views, as do some on Beacon Drive, Ranelagh Road, Arundel Way and Rothsay Drive. If you like this neck of the woods, be sure to take a look at neighbouring Friar’s Cliff and along to Avon Beach for some beautiful cliff-top houses on Southcliffe Road and Avon Run Road.
The market town of Wimborne sits next to the River Stour where it meets the River Allen. There’s a smattering of prime location properties backing on to this tranquil stretch of water. Just outside the main town along Merley Ways, the riverside houses each have a jetty for mooring their own personal paddle boats. Cast your sights to the Allen on the other side of town and there are a few river-facing properties to be found here too, most prominently along Allenview Road – as long as the surrounding trees and foliage have been trimmed!
Further west towards the Purbecks, two tributaries run either side of historic market town Wareham and in fact Wareham itself sits on the River Frome. This pretty location is 30 minutes away from the centre of Bournemouth, just inland from the Wareham Channel which stretches past Studland, Brownsea Island and Arne in the Purbecks. You’ll find ample opportunities to moor your boat along the Frome as it snakes through the town, with well-positioned residences along and around Abbots Quay.
Sat along the River Avon as it heads south to join the Stour before flowing out into the Channel at Christchurch, St Ives is a village in the north of the town close to the Dorset / Hampshire border near Ringwood, Verwood and West Moors. Well worth a look if your waterside wish is to own a little patch of the riverbank. But you won’t be able to take a boat along this pretty little stretch.
Keep following the Avon before it joins the Stour on the edge of the town’s quay and harbour and you’ll come to the Christchurch district of Burton. Your best bet for river living around here will be along Salisbury Road via Winkton. Please note this stretch of the River Avon is not navigable by boat but if your priority is serenely beautiful riverside views, it definitely delivers.
As you can see from this extensive round-up of waterside plots and properties, there are plenty of avenues you can go down when looking for a coastal retreat in Bournemouth and its surrounding areas. From the banks of the Stour, the Frome, the Avon or the Allen to the bays of Hamworthy and Sandbanks. The beaches of Southbourne, Bournemouth and Canford Cliffs, to Poole, Mudeford and Christchurch Quays; when it comes to waterside residences in Bournemouth, the world is your oyster. Whether you fancy a punt on an inland river way just outside your back door or the harbour-side lifestyle a stroll down the pontoon from your safely moored sailboat or RIB, Bournemouth is ideally positioned to make your dreams of life by, and on the water, a reality.