There is something magical about Avon Beach and Mudeford Quay. The lure of these stunning places was one of the reasons we packed up our life in Berkshire and moved to the New Forest. We spend many happy hours, during all seasons, trudging through the golden sand and walking along the wind-whipped quayside.
Avon Beach is sandy, clean and picturesque – just a few of the many reasons visitors flock there all year round.
If you time it right and visit Avon Beach when the tide is out, you’ll be treated to an array of sandbanks which duly appear. My children love running about on these ‘islands’, collecting shells and chasing indignant sea gulls. The tide usually rolls out during late afternoon, though it’s not an exact science (if you know how to read them, you can find the tide times on the Mudeford Lifeboat Station website.)
If you do go gallivanting out to the sandbanks, beware the tide will come back in quite quickly. So please ensure you’re not stuck out on a rapidly disappearing island of sand (I’ve seen it happen).
If you brave the cold water and decide to swim, make sure you stay within the marked safe swimming zones. The tides and currants can be unpredictable so please be careful.
On a practical note, you can park right next to the beach if you arrive early enough. This is handy if you’re weighted down with buckets, spades, picnics, buggies and other beach necessities. The main Avon Beach car park does fill up quickly, however there are a variety of other car parks in the area (including a large car park at Mudeford Quay).
For breakfast, lunch and dinner, I would recommend my favourite restaurant in the area (if not on the planet), The Noisy Lobster. They use fresh produce and offer creative menus alongside friendly staff, a bubbly atmosphere and delicious coffee and cake.
Further along from Avon Beach (towards Steamer’s Point) you will find another eatery, the slightly less sophisticated Beach Hut Cafe. The Beach Hut offers reasonably priced all-day breakfasts, sandwiches and burgers, but isn’t open as late as The Noisy Lobster.
There is also a shop selling everything you might need for your beach visit, a fish and chips takeaway, a coffee hut and an ice cream parlour at your disposal on the beach. Make sure you have cash with you for the fish and chips and coffee (they don’t take card).
Dogs are welcome on the beach from October until the end of March. The rest of the time, they must be kept on leads on the promenade.
The beach is lined with pretty, pastel-coloured beach huts, some of which can be hired for short periods. To hire a hut for a day costs £30 (at time of writing) and can be arranged from the shop.
If you tire of sunbathing, shell collecting and sandcastle building, it’s just a short walk along the beach to Mudeford Quay. For those with buggies, you can walk from Mudeford up to Highcliffe along buggy friendly paths (more information on buggy friendly walks here).
This small quay on the end of the peninsula is popular with those who want to try their hand at crabbing, take a boat trip out to the Needles (in front of the Isle of Wight) or a short ferry journey over to Mudeford Sandbank. For wannabe fisherman, there are two hour mackerel moxie trips where you can hoick the little fish out of the sea at your leisure.
The quay also has a cafe, pub and shop as well as the Fish Stall, a great place to purchase fresh fish and seafood.
You can wander over to the lifeboat station and roam around amongst the (slightly smelly) stacks of lobster pots on the quayside. There are also some charming cottages, which used to be inhabited by fisherman but are now mainly holiday lets.
For the kids there is a small playground with slide, swings and a sand pit (right next to a beach – I’ll never understand the need for the sandpit, but it’s there all the same.)
Avon Beach and Mudeford Quay offer something for everyone – whether you’re after a long, satisfying coastal walk or a lazy day by the water’s edge. The place has a certain charm and sense of community, coupled with beautiful views and relaxing vibes. Three years after moving here, I still feel excited and exhilarated by a trip to Avon Beach and Mudeford Quay. For me, it’s a novelty that will hopefully never wear off.
(I have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this post and do not accept liability for any errors or omission. I do not accept any liability for you getting lost or encountering any other problems. )