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Thursday, June 16, 2016

A Fantastic Day Out At The Beaulieu National Motor Museum

Last week we were in New Forest. The weather forecast was - cloudy and rainy but we lucked out with wonderful weather. And it was a good thing because we spent a wonderful day at Beaulieu National Motor Museum. Beaulieu is much more than just a motor museum though. A ticket to the museum also allows you admission to other attractions within the estate like - Palace House, Beaulieu Abbey, World of Top Gear, the Victorian Flower and Kitchen gardens and unlimited rides on the Monorail and Veteran Bus.

We visited Beaulieu museum on the last day of our stay in New Forest. We checked out of the hotel and headed to the museum around 10:30am and spent a major part of the day on the Beaulieu estate. The place caters to all ages and there is so much to see and do that it makes for a wonderful day out. Our first stop was obviously the main attraction - the National Motor Museum.

The National Motor Museum


The motor museum houses more than 250 vehicles - cars, motorcycles, F1 racers, commercial vehicles and even famous vehicles like the 1961 Bluebird and the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I also spotted 3 cars that my grandfather had in the 1940-1960s. In addition to the vehicles there is a large collection of objects and photographs, all telling the story of motoring in Britain. If you are a motor enthusiast then I would definitely recommend visiting the museum if you are in New Forest.

Beaulieu National Motor Museum

Beaulieu National Motor Museum

Beaulieu National Motor Museum

Beaulieu National Motor Museum

Beaulieu National Motor Museum

Beaulieu National Motor Museum

Beaulieu National Motor Museum

Beaulieu National Motor Museum

Beaulieu National Motor Museum


Beaulieu National Motor Museum

Beaulieu National Motor Museum

Beaulieu National Motor Museum

Beaulieu National Motor Museum

Beaulieu National Motor Museum

Beaulieu National Motor Museum

Beaulieu National Motor Museum

Our second stop was the World of Top Gear. Here you can see cars from some of the series as well as some behind-the-scenes footage from the show.



Monorail and Veteran Bus


We then took the Monorail ride which is a fun way to get a bird's eye view of all the offerings at the Beaulieu Village. The are two stops for the Monorail - one near the World of Top Gear and the other near Palace House. A section of the ride enters the motor museum building and it was amazing to see the car/motorbike collection from above. An open top Veteran Bus also offers unlimited rides around the park.

Monorail and Veteran Bus

Monorail and Veteran Bus


Gardens


Beaulieu's gardens were picturesque and the wonderful weather meant that we enjoyed them to the fullest. The formal Victorian flower garden was lovely - lots of flower blooms and lots of benches to sit and enjoy the natural beauty. The Mill Pond Walk near the Palace House was also beautiful. When we visited, the Surrey Sculpture exhibition was on and a trail of beautiful sculptures (a mix of modern, traditional and abstract) were displayed around Beaulieu's grounds.







Beaulieu Abbey


From the gardens we made our way to the Abbey. Dating back to early 1200s, the Beaulieu Abbey
was founded by King John and most of it was destroyed during the reign of King Henry VIII in 1530s. The ruins have been well conserved and you can learn a lot about the Abbey and the monks who resided there via the artefacts on display and the galleries in the Domus building. The Parish Church is another of the surviving buildings and is now used for weddings. You can enter the church when services are not taking place.






Palace House


The Palace House, which has been the Montagu family home since 1538 and is one of the Treasure Houses of England, was our last stop. Overlooking the Beaulieu River mill pond, this Victorian country house is a beautiful example of gothic-style architecture. The house is as beautiful on the inside as it is grand on the outside. Costumed guides within the Palace House share the fascinating history of the building and its inhabitants.








In addition to the attractions listed above, there is also a small ever changing exhibition called 'On Screen Cars' which features cars from popular movies and a 'Secret Army Exhibition' which tells the very interesting story of the Special Operations Executive once based at Beaulieu.

Other Facilities | Restaurant and Gift Shop


There is a restaurant and coffee shop near the motor museum offering light meals, coffees and teas and homemade lunches. We had a packed picnic lunch with us on this occasion, so we did not visit the restaurant. However, we did enjoy locally made New Forest ice cream at the Ice Cream Cottage (located near Palace House).



Admissions to all the attractions at Beaulieu is included in a single ticket which costs £24.00 for adults if bought on the day, while an advance ticket for adults is priced at £19.00. You get one free re-admission with each ticket (within 6 days of your first visit). You can check the ticket prices here.

Beaulieu | New Forest, Hampshire, United Kingdom, SO42 7ZN
Phone: 01590 612345

Disclaimer: Our visit to the Beaulieu Motor Museum was organised for us for the purpose of a review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

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