Christchurch PrioryÂ is seen from Hengistbury Head and close by on the Southbourne-Mudeford winter coast path route.
â€œThis is my first love among English churches,” says Bill Bryson who has listed his 14 favourite churches for the National Churches Trust.
“Christchurch, Dorset, was where my wife and I lived when we were first married. I passed through the grounds of the priory almost daily for two years, and I could never do so without stopping to gawp at its magnificence. Stone doesnâ€™t get more glorious than this.
“How so many locals could scurry past it without seeming to notice its presence, never mind its grandeur, was a permanent mystery to me”
The writer recently spoke warmly of Highcliffe seafront when opposing the super beach hut plans.