Situated at the head of the Beaulieu River, the charming village of Beaulieu is home to the National Motor Museum. Dating back to the 13th century, the village grew up around the abbey, founded in 1204 by Cistercian monks on land given to them by King John.

Following Henry Vlll’s dissolution of the monasteries in the 1530s, Beaulieu passed into the ownership of the present Lord Montagu’s ancestors.

Beaulieu is a guaranteed great family day out. In the National Motor Museum, see over 250 stunning vehicles, from family cars of the 30s & 40s and classic cars of the 70s & 80s through to rare motoring oddities such as

Beaulieu Abbey

through motorcycling history. Jack Tucker’s Garage recreates the sights, sounds and smells of a typical country garage from the 1930s while the pod ride Wheels takes you on a journey through 100 years of motoring.

Motorsport display areas, Grand Prix Greats and Road, Race and Rally, feature F1, rallying, trials and drag racing exhibits. On Screen Cars has a display of TV and film favourites including Del Boy’s Reliant Regal from BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses and the flying Ford Anglia from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. In the World of Top Gear see the vehicles created by presenters for some of their most ambitious challenges.

Visitors have a fun birds-eye view of Beaulieu’s grounds and sights when they ride the high-level, Monorail or replica 1912 open-topped London Bus. Don’t miss Beaulieu Abbey’s film presentation and exhibition about the daily life of its Cistercian Monk founders and the Secret Army exhibition, which tells the story of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and its secret agents training at the Beaulieu ‘Finishing School’ during WWll.

Just a few miles away is Beaulieu’s sister attraction Buckler’s Hard, on the picturesque banks of the Beaulieu River. The unspoilt village was once a thriving shipbuilding community where ships for Nelson’s fleet at Trafalgar were built. Visit the Maritime Museum which reveals the story of this unique village and brings to life the characters that lived there at the time of Henry Adams, the Master Shipbuilder at Buckler’s Hard during the 18th century.

Visit the Labourers’ and Shipwrights’ cottages to see how families lived and join the River Cruise, between Easter and October, to explore the stunning wildlife and views (separate charges apply). Then visit the Captain’s Cabin Tea Rooms for light refreshments and drinks, including delicious cream teas.

Entrance to Beaulieu includes admission to all of the attractions and tickets can be bought in advance online. For more information see or call 01590 612345. For visits to Buckler’s Hard see or call 01590 616203.

a giant orange on wheels and children’s favourite, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. New this year is the completely restored Victorian kitchen in Palace House, which has been home to the Montagu family since 1538. The Victorian kitchen dates from Lord Henry’s 1870s enlargement and remained in use until the early 1950s, when it was gutted to make way for a motorcycle display.

A newly opened private wing has also been opened to the public. It includes the library of Edward, Lord Montagu and two exhibitions: The Lady and the Rebel, which pays tribute to two remarkable women in the Montagu family, and the first dedicated Soviet Russian art gallery in the UK, with the Art Russe Foundation.

In the museum, For Britain & For The Hell Of It features iconic Land Speed Record cars, Driving Change tells the story of motoring innovations, technology and safety and The Motorcycle Story takes you on a journey

20 The Tourist Handbook Wessex 2018-19

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