Mudeford Quay, Christchurch, Dorset, England

by informer

What's at Mudeford Quay? This staggeringly popular destination at Christchurch Dorset makes for the perfect afternoon out! Find out what is at Mudeford Quay.

Mudeford Quay is located at the entrance to Christchurch Harbour and is found just over one mile from Christchurch town centre. Sat nav is BH23 4AB.

The general area around Mudeford Quay is flat with plenty of parking, so is ideal if you've got mobility issues, prams, pushchairs and similar. The actual Quay is not old, having been built in the 1940s, it's a functional quay from which services could be provided, rather than being a picturesque centre-of-village style of Quay you might find elsewhere.

The car park has enough space for over 400 cars and is a pay and display car park owned by the local Council. Some parking spots overlook the sea, while others have a view back towards Christchurch.

Mudeford Quay RNLI Day
Mudeford Quay RNLI Day
Author's Own Photo

Food & Drink at Mudeford Quay

There's little choice, but the food and drink is adequate for the location!  

There is a perfectly good pub, serving great hot meals and the usual full range of alcoholic and soft drinks. The Haven House Inn has extensive tables out the front during the summer, which is where most people choose to sit and eat or drink.  Inside the pub is quite small, with some tables (which can be reserved) and out the rear there's a small "smoking" terrace with 4-5 tables and a restricted water view.

Inside the pub has a "No Children" policy, but dogs are allowed.  Children are not allowed inside at all, but are welcome outside.  I suspect this is more of a space issue than a case of "we hate children"; the pub is so small inside there's simply not the space. 

If you're into your history, then the car park at Mudeford Quay is the site of a battle in 1784, fought between pirates and customs men. The Haven Inn and the pub up the road called the Ship in Distress were both owned by the same landlady and she was the centre of a successful smuggling gang. George Coombes was hanged from a gibbet outside the pub - I'll leave it to you to do your research on this battle and George's execution, it'll give you something to use your Kindle for while you're sitting enjoying the great outdoors and a pint.

There's a substantial, high quality, fresh seafood stall, selling every variety of fish and seafood that you can think of that are caught locally.  Everything in the seafood shop is freshly caught.  Here you'll find small nibbles, such as whelks and cockles, as well as mussels, fresh crab and fresh lobster.  As everything is freshly caught, it's hard to say what'll be on offer from day to day, but catch of the day can include Dover sole, sea bass, scallops, prawns.  All the fish is always of the highest quality. 

If you watched the television programme, Invasion of the Job Snatchers, aired in the UK in 2014, one of the participants, Amber Wood from Slough, had a job at the fish stall in Mudeford.  In this TV programme unemployed young people from around the country were brought to Christchurch to try to get jobs and the TV show followed their trials and tribulations.  

If you want more food than this, then Avon Beach is just 1/4 of a mile away by walking along the beach path, which is wide, concrete and flat, so again, very accessible-friendly. 

Mudeford Quay is the sort of place you might go to for a meal and a drink and to then collect some fresh fish to take home and leave.  


Crabbing at Mudeford Quay

You'll find the edges of the Quayside full of people who are crabbing.  This is the most popular activity at the Quay and you might even struggle to find a spot to do it yourself!

The fish stall sells everything you need to do this.  You'll need a bucket, for the crabs you catch, a line/hook and some bait. 

Simply hook the bait to the line, drop it into the water and wait for a crab to nibble at it - then pull the crab out of the water and drop him into your bucket (which should contain water).  Most of the crabs will be 2-3" across the shell.  The purpose of this isn't to take the crabs away, you must return them to the water when you leave. 

As you walk along you'll be able to see how many crabs people have caught; most people will have got 4-6 crabs in their bucket. 

Locals, or those people who have come ready-prepared for some crabbing, might be seen using a variety of bait; a pack of raw bacon's popular.

Mudeford Quay Boat Trips

The Mudeford Ferry makes the short trip back and forth between the Quay and Hengistbury Head sand spit, where the expensive beach huts are to be found. 

The ferry runs most days during the summer season, but it is weather-dependent if there are adverse conditions.  

This ferry was another of the businesses that featured on the TV programme "Invasion of the Job Snatchers", with Adam Pike of Nottingham having the job of ferry-hand. 

It's just a distance of about 200 yards over the water, with the fare being roughly £0.70 for a child and £1.50 for an adult.  They also take bicycles over (charged the same as the rider price) and dogs.

There are many other boat trips that can be taken from the same point, or from Mudeford. The boards list all the current boat trips.  Some go to the Isle of Wight, some into Christchurch, others are an evening cruise including a Fish & Chip supper.  There are a variety of boat sizes and operators.

Clubs and Activities at Mudeford Quay

Mudeford Sailing Club is located in a fairly new building on Mudeford Quay - you will see their sailing boats in the protected part of the Quay known as the Dinghy Park area.  This area, with a slipway, is where members store their boats and access the water.  There is an annual Mudeford Week, held in the first week of August each year. This is a week of sailing races and a regatta. 


The RNLI have the Mudeford Lifeboat stationed at the end of the Quay - there is an annual Lifeboat Day to raise funds for this, held each August.  There's a small funfair on the Quay, as well as a variety of stalls, lots of fresh/hot/local food and the usual mix of duck races, lifeboat displays and helicopter displays. 

The RNLI Lifeboat Day at Mudeford is on the last day of Mudeford Week, the Sunday and often raises more than £25,000 in fundraising from this one day!

Mudeford Quay RNLI Lifeboat Day
Mudeford Quay RNLI Lifeboat Day
Author's Own Photo

Although there are no fees to enter/watch the Lifeboat Day and wander around ... the car parking is something that isn't free.  

If you want to see what Mudeford Quay has to offer, when it's busy and there's plenty to see or do, then the RNLI Lifeboat Day is one of the biggest events of the year, with something for everybody. 

If you want to sit quietly and enjoy a people watching session, then any other day of the year will suit!

Updated: 07/15/2016, informer
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AngelaJohnson on 07/29/2016

A great description of Medford Quay with lovely photos. Maybe sometime I'll get to visit England.

dustytoes on 07/19/2016

I love to visit places along the seashore, and eat fresh seafood. This place looks popular, with all the visitors. So people will catch crabs and then just let them go? It's the fun of catching them I guess. Interesting. Thanks for including the photos!

candy47 on 07/16/2016

This is a wonderful guide for anyone visiting Mudeford Quay. Photos are lovely.

frankbeswick on 07/15/2016

This article shows that you have mastered the style of a guidebook. Welcome to Wizzley. Let's hear more from you.

Veronica on 07/15/2016

Lovely photos. This looks like a lovely seaside place.

Children are allowed in English pubs if the landlord permits and if food is being served. But they must not drink.

blackspanielgallery on 07/15/2016

Perhaps the no children inside the pub is due o alcohol. Here we have laws prohibiting children from entering places where alcohol is the primary source of revenue.

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