Beaulieu Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by Ellie22
  • Things to Do
    by Ellie22
  • Things to Do
    by Ellie22

Most Recent Things to Do in Beaulieu

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    Palace House

    by SallyM Updated Mar 1, 2014
    Palace House, Beaulieu
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    After the Dissolution of the Monasteries during the reign of Henry VIII, the Beaulieu estate fell into the hands of Thomas Wriothesley, a royal servant and close associate of Thomas Cromwell. He purchased Beaulieu from the King in July 1538, for the sum of £1,340 6s 8d. He adapted the former gatehouse into a manor house, though it was not used as a regular residence until Victorian times, when the current Lord Montagu’s grandfather (later first Lord Montagu of Beaulieu) received the Beaulieu estate as a wedding present and set about making substantial alterations. He added an east wing and a new main entrance on the west side.

    Today, the house is still very much a family home, and the Entrance Hall displays many artefacts belonging to the family: from the first Lord Montagu’s travelling medicine cabinet, to a picture of the train driven by the second Lord Montagu during a railway strike and a cast of the current Lord Montagu's hand.

    There are costumed ‘staff’ on hand to answer visitors’ questions. The kitchens are particularly interesting. As well as the old-fashioned utensils (some of which are remarkably similar to those in my own kitchen!) a blackboard displays the upstairs and downstairs menus for a particular date. When I visited I thought that the servants’ rabbit stew sounded much more appetising than the upstairs menu.

    I found the house very beautiful. It is imposing, with vaulted ceilings, but at the same time feels like a real family home rather than a palace.

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    The World of Top Gear

    by SallyM Updated Mar 1, 2014
    The Hover Van
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    The World of Top Gear is a must for fans of a certain 'ambitious but rubbish' TV show. You can see many of the vehicles that have been involved in Top Gear challenges over the years (or what is left of them...) including the stretched Fiat Panda, and the Reliant Space Shuttle.

    The 'Enormodrome' offers an opportunity to experience what it is like inside the Top Gear studio, and includes a screening of a short 'behind the scenes' film. You can also view up-to-date lap times for the 'Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car' (though the writing on the board is much neater than Jeremy's. I was relieved to see that my car was on the 'cool' side of the famous 'Cool Wall'.

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    Beaulieu: Palace House, Abbey and Motor Museum

    by SallyM Updated Feb 28, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Monorail at Beaulieu
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    There are four separate main attractions at Beaulieu, all included in a single ticket:
    Beaulieu Abbey, the remains of the original Cistercian Abbey;
    Palace House, the home of the Montagu family, which was converted from the original Abbey gatehouse;
    The National Motor Museum and
    The World of Top Gear,
    so there is something for everyone. There are also a couple of smaller exhibits - one on cars that have appeared on screen (including Mr Bean's mini, and Del Boy's van) and one on the use of Beaulieu as a Special Operations Executive base during World War II. Note that the James Bond exhibit has now closed.

    Visitors can take free rides on a monorail or vintage bus in order to get around the site, although the distances are easily walkable.

    To visit everything takes 4-5 hours.

    The on-site Brabazon restaurant has a café and self-service restaurant which offers a choice of hot dishes. Prices are reasonable for the quality, but there is also a picnic area if you prefer to bring your own food.

    Admission (2014) is £20 for adults, £9.95 for children. Family tickets £52.50. Admission is free to Friends of the Historic Houses Association.

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    Beaulieu Abbey

    by SallyM Updated Feb 28, 2014
    Beaulieu Abbey
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    Beaulieu Abbey was founded in 1204, on land given by King John to the Cistercian monks, probably in order to make up for previous misdeeds. It was his only religious foundation, and was on the site of a former royal hunting lodge in the New Forest.

    The Cistercian order itself had been founded in 1098, by the Abbot of Citeaux, who felt that the Benedictines were not applying the monastic rule strictly enough. In contrast to the black habits of the Benedictines, Cistercians wore white. They were particularly known for keeping sheep, which meant that as well as wool, they had a ready supply of vellum for manuscripts.

    The Abbey Church at Beaulieu was once the largest Cistercian building in England, but now only a single wall and the pillar bases remain, so that all that can be seen is the outlines in the grass. The former refectory is now used as Beaulieu Parish church. The Domus, or living quarters of the lay brothers remains intact and is used as an abbey museum.

    If you like to read an appropriate book when travelling, try Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The White Company which opens with scenes in Beaulieu Abbey.

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    National Motor Museum

    by SallyM Updated Feb 27, 2014
    'Outspan' promotional car, based on a Mini.
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    John, Second Baron Montagu of Beaulieu was one of the early pioneers of motoring in England. He was the first person to drive a motor car into the House of Commons Yard, and as MP for the New Forest he promoted a bill that raised the speed limit from 12 to 20 mph in 1903.

    The National Motor Museum began as a display of veteran cars which the current Lord Montagu created in his father’s honour, back in 1952. After a while, the collection was moved into a separate museum: the current building was opened in 1972.

    Today, the collection includes over 300 vehicles, dating from the 1890s to the present day. As well as cars from different eras, there are also some record-breakers and some oddities: the car from the film ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ and a promotional car built in the shape of an orange (it has a tendency to roll, apparently!).

    There are also recreations of an old-fashioned garage and street scene, a display of advertising, including some charming early cinema commercials, and an opportunity to take a pod ride through the history of motoring.

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  • amsor's Profile Photo

    Nice carmuseum

    by amsor Updated Nov 27, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Beaulieu has a nice carmuseum for James Bondcars and cars with global speedrecords like the bluebird and so plus many vintagecars of last century. It is a nice castle and park also. Maybe 2-3 hours from London, it is close to Southhampton.

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    Top Gear - The Vietnam Special

    by Maria81 Written Dec 25, 2011

    The Challenge:

    For one of the Christmas specials, the Top Gear team is given the challenge of covering 1,000 miles from the south of Vietnam to the North - in 10 days. And they are given millions of local currency to buy themselves some wheels. The problem is... The millions turn out to be only USD 1,500 per person - nowhere near enough to buy any car.

    The Exhibits:

    There was only one way to resolve the problem - buy second-hand motorcycles and try to complete the challenge using them (and, should one of them fail, a 'Made in the USA' bike which was really inappropriate given historical context - and, thus, offered a great incentive to keep the old bikes working). The Top Gear show features the 3 bikes - Jeremy Clarkson's scooter, Richard Hammond's Minsk, and James May's Honda.

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    Top Gear - Middle East Special

    by Maria81 Written Oct 29, 2011
    'Top Gear' - 'Car of Many Colours'

    The Challenge:

    Clarkson, Hammond and May - the modern-day 'three wise men' - have to follow in the footsteps of the original Three Wise Men, getting from by northern Iraq to a stable in Bethlehem, using second-hand two-seater convertibles bought for 3,500 pounds - supposedly carrying the gifts for baby Jesus (including a Nintendo console).

    They drive through the Kurdish part of Iraq (after they were not allowed into Iran), through Turkey, Syria, Jordan and finally into Israel - all that to find... a baby Stig in a manger.

    The Exhibits:

    The three cars from the special, still with their original features (the tent, 'the paint of many colours, the bullet hole from the failed sand shot-blocking system): Clarkson's Mazda MX-5, Hammond's Fiat Barchetta and May's BMW Z3.

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    Polar Special - The Arctic Hilux

    by Maria81 Updated Mar 21, 2011
    The Arctic Hilux

    This is the car used on the show in an attempt by Clarkson and May to be the first to drive a motor vehicle to the 1996 location of the Magnetic North Pole, racing Hammond going to the Pole on a dog sledge.

    Starting from Resolute, in Canada, the car crew won - although not but such a huge margin as one might imagine - getting through ice boulder fields, cracking ice, meeting polar bears, and just having some fun (and possibly showing a little less political correctness than usual!) along the way

    The car is heavily modified, having been fitted - among other things - with an extra fuel tank (very useful), huge lamps (pointless - as it was light throughout) and a gun. With an outside toilet seat having been fitted along the way

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    Top Gear - The Channel Challenge

    by Maria81 Written Mar 21, 2011
    Jeremy Clarkson's Nissank

    The Challenge

    Clarkson gets the challenge envelope and flinches

    May: Is it bad?
    Clarkson: Yes. No, REALLY bad. You will now drive to Dover.
    May: No...
    Clarkson: And then you will cross the Channel to France

    The Exhibits

    The actual cars used by the presenters to try and cross the Channel - which were actually upgrades to a similar challenge, but on a lake. Clarkson created an amphibious Nissan pickup (the "Nissank"); Hammond used a new Volkswagen Transporter; May upgraded and used the same Triumph Herald he had used in the original challenge.

    The outcome? Clarkson made it, with Hammond and May as passengers.

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  • Rachael71's Profile Photo

    Buckler's Hard

    by Rachael71 Written Apr 1, 2005
    Main street at Buckler's Hard

    Buckler's Hard is about two miles outside Beaulieu, and I really recommend a visit. I actually preferred it to the more famous attractions of the Palace and the Motor Museum in the village itself.

    Buckler's Hard is an 18th century village famed for its ship-building. Most famously, the ships for Nelson's fleet were bulit here, and there is an interesting museum where you can find out more about this.

    There are wonderful recreations of what the village would have been like in Nelson's time, and you can walk through the village pub, a labourer's cottage and a more well-to-do shipwright's cottage.

    Entry to the village museum and cottages is around £5. You an also enter the village from Beaulieu by walking the well-signed riverside walk. This is about 2 - 2.5 miles long, and is a really lovely walk (if a little muddy in places!). You will have earned your pint at the Master Builder's Hotel in Buckler's Hard when you get to the end! If you come to Buckler's Hard this way, you will be able to get to the village street and see where the ships were built, but not the museum or cottages.

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  • Rachael71's Profile Photo

    Beaulieu Abbey

    by Rachael71 Written Apr 1, 2005

    I think this was probably my favourite part of my visit to Beaulieu. It was a beautiful, sunny Easter day, and sitting in the cloisters provided a serene contrast to the bustle of the rest of the site. And I didn't notice any of the ghosts that are reputed to haunt the ruins! The abbey was founded in the early 12th century by Cistercian monks - a fictionalised account of its history can be read in Edward Rutherford's book 'The Forest'.

    Entry to the Abbey is included in the overall cost of the Beaulieu ticket (approximately £15)

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    Beaulieu Motor Museum

    by Rachael71 Written Apr 1, 2005
    The name's Bond...

    The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu is probably the most popular attraction. It has been put together over several decades by the Montagu family, and the collection of over 250 vehicles provides an fascinating account of the development of the car and motorcycle over the past 100 or so years. There are specialist collections, including one of James Bond's cars - do you remember this one from 'Live and Let Die'? You can't ride in the cars, but there is an old-fashioned bus which you can take a short trip in.

    Entry to the museum is included in the Beaulieu price of around £15 per adult, which also allows access to the Palace and the Abbey.

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    Beaulieu Palace

    by Rachael71 Written Apr 1, 2005
    Beaulieu Palace

    Entrance to the Palace is included in the (rather expensive!) cost of the ticket price to Beaulieu. It remains the home of Lord Montagu and as such only a few rooms are open to the public. They are lovely to see, but I did leave the Palace wishing I could have viewed more. The Palace dates back to the 14th century, but the present interior reflects more what it is like to live as a member of the aristocracy in the early 21st century.

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    Take a stroll through the gardens

    by Ellie22 Written Mar 17, 2014
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    Originally the grounds of the Abbey, the gardens include; a Victorian Flower Garden, a dedicated rose garden, the Wilderness Garden, the Ornamental Kitchen Garden and the scenic Mill Pond Walk .

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Beaulieu Things to Do

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