The Beaulieu National Motor Museum has more to offer than you can imagine. Set in the heart of the New Forest, it is one of the South’s top visitor attraction. Why? As the name suggests, you will find tonnes of vehicles from across the century and even those which have appeared in movies and on TV. Basically, a petrolheads haven, even more so if you’re a fan of Top Gear. However, even though me and my kids weren’t car fanatics, there was so much to explore that there was something for everyone, regardless of age. Here, we shall explore the highlights of Beaulieu and what you can expect as well.
Address: John Montagu Building, Beaulieu, New Forest National Park Hampshire, Brockenhurst SO42 7ZN England.
Petrolheads and kids age 2+.
Adrenaline junkies. If you’re looking for heart throbbing rides, you’re in the wrong place. The only ride you’ll find here is the monorail and open top bus which takes you around the park in a modest speed.
Map of Beaulieu
There is a good chunk of Beaulieu which could be enjoyed if it’s a wet and windy day, like the Motor Museum, World of Top Gear, Secret Army Exhibition and Palace House. However, if you have little kids, they would probably want to spend a good amount of their time at Little Beaulieu, the children’s outdoor playground and the Victorian Flower and Kitchen Gardens.
Not to be missed
The Monorail and double decker bus
The monorail takes you on a quick whizz around the park so that you can see everything in all its glory from above. If even goes through the National Motor Museum giving you a birds eye view of the different vehicles. This is a great ride to go on when you first arrive at Beaulieu as it can show you what adventures lie ahead.
The old fashioned open top double decker bus takes you from just outside the National Motor Museum to the Abbey/Palace House (and vice versa). Great for little legs that don’t/can’t walk any further. It’s only a short couple minutes ride, but the excitement of being on an open top bus quickly awakened their senses for more adventures ahead.
National Motor Museum
I mean, this is what you came for, right? To see the cars! Be sure to look out for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and James Bonds’ bullet ridden car. There is also a separate much smaller ”On Screen cars” section which shouldn’t be missed either.
World of Top Gear
Kids (husband included) loved it. There was a screening of Top Gears best bits which showed some of the weird and wacky races and wreckages as well. The showcase area had a decent amount of the actual cars used in the programme, with all their bumps, dents and crashes. A great time to tell the kids only people on TV can drive like crazy madmen.
A purpose built and beautiful woodland area with treehouses and car themed role play. There is also an area for under 5s which we thought was brilliant and a nice touch. If the kids do manage to stop for a while whilst running around the playground, there are little notices/jokes dotted around which give it a very charming human touch. So if you are there next time, look out for these.
The Victorian Flower and Kitchen Gardens
Not exactly on the top of my kids priority list, but these were so beautiful and wonderfully maintained. When we visited, there was an Alice in Wonderland theme. A lovely walk after the excitement of Little Beaulieu.
The Palace House
The Palace House was an unexpected and pleasant surprise. This beautiful 13th century house belonged to Lord Montagu. Here you will learn the history of the monastery and house and the remarkable lives of two women of the Montagu family. Admission is included so definitely give these ”Treasure Houses of England” a view whilst you are at Beaulieu.
Again, not as exciting as the rest of the park, but nonetheless beautiful and tranquil. It was so peaceful and atmospheric with a recording of the monks softly singing in the background. This was a perfect wind down, quiet time after a long day.
Things to bring
- If it’s picnic weather, pack one. Not only does it save you money, there is also plenty of pretty green space to enjoy the park and weather.
- Lots of snacks and drinks. There is only one restaurant onsite near the entrance of the park. A small kiosk at Little Beaulieu and ice cream outlet by the abbey. So if you run out of snacks or drinks, you’ll have to go all the way back to the front of the park to replenish.
- Potty – if you have freshly potty trained kids, having a portable potty will always come in handy. Especially at Beaulieu where the toilets and baby change are limited to the restaurant, Little Beaulieu and abbey.
- If you can use a sling instead of a buggy, then do so. Even though the park is buggy friendly, it’s often the long way round. It would be so much easier to enjoy the park buggy free especially if it’s quite busy. Plus if you want to go to the Palace house, buggy’s are not permitted inside.
Is Beaulieu worth going?
Entrance fee can be a bit expensive, but everything mentioned is included and you don’t have to pay any extra once in the park. As of 2022, prices are: Adult tickets are £26 (or £23 in advance), children 5 – 16 are £15 (£12), or family tickets (2 adults + up to 3 children or 1 adult + up to 4 children) £69 (£59 in advance). Under 5s go free. Adult disabled visitors are £17 (£15 in advance) and child disabled visitors £10.50 (£8.40). Free entry for a disabled visitor’s personal assistant.
If you can, book in advance, as this is cheaper. Also if you’re a UK tax payer and choose gift aid when you book and you’ll receive an annual pass to the National Motor Museum (only). If not eligible for gift aid, choose ‘admission with donation’ at the checkout and you’ll still receive an annual pass.
We loved that Beaulieu catered for the whole family. It wasn’t somewhere that only the kids would have fun, me and my husband was also able to enjoy it. There was something for everyone, whether you were into cars or not. Then again, who doesn’t like seeing shiny cool cars, even if some of them have been crashed or crushed?
Staying in the New Forest Area? There is so much to explore and experience. If you have little kids, don’t miss Paultons Park, home to Peppa Pig World.
Thanks for reading and until next time,
Love, MsMamaBean x