Pick of the Month

Here is our recommendation for the best place to visit this month.

Beaulieu, Hampshire

Beaulieu is a heritage place like no other. One of the first to open its doors to the public, the stately home at Palace House has long accepted its place as just one element in a group of attractions that make Beaulieu a destination for the whole family that will fill your day with fun.

A brilliantly eclectic place with a middle ages, monastic, super car, World War 2 espionage vibe, it really has got something for everyone” Historian & presenter, Dan Snow

The Drawing Room, Palace House
Palace House is a Victorian country house created from the gatehouse of the ruined Abbey of Beaulieu in the 1800s. Tours are led by guides dressed as Victorian servants of the Montagu family who have lots of stories to tell whether you explore the main entertaining rooms or the working kitchens. Two special exhibitions in the house will catch your interest. The Lady & the Rebel revisits 20th century chatelaine, Pearl Pleydell-Bouverie and her unconventional step-daughter, Elizabeth Montagu. The opening of a gallery of 20th century Soviet Russian Art was a first for the UK, drawing on the Art Russe collection of paintings and sculpture from this innovative and exciting period.
The Dining Room, Palace House
The Victorian Kitchens, Palace House
At the centre of Beaulieu is the National Motor Museum, itself housed in an iconic building designed in 1964 by Leonard Massanah and Ian Baker, built around the oldest monorail in the UK. From the first five vintage cars in the museum in 1952, the collection has grown to 285 historic vehicles. Of course, there is plenty to excite anyone interested in the history of motoring but this is also a great place for nostalgia where you may spot your grandad’s first car or explore Jack Tucker’s 1930’s garage. Highlights are the speed record section around land speed record breaking Bluebird; The World of Top Gear featuring many of the vehicles the Top Gear team have tried so hard to destroy; and On Screen Cars including the Weasley’s ‘flying’ Ford Anglia from Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets.
Jack tucker's garage, national motor museum
Few people knew that secluded Beaulieu was the training centre of the British Special Operations Executive in World War Two, training secret agents to operate behind enemy lines. An exhibition explains how nearly 3,000 agents passed through Beaulieu before proving themselves amongst the most courageous of all WW2 combatants.
Secret army exhibition
Vintage cars, national motor museum
If the excitement gets too much the ruins of the medieval Abbey offer a peaceful hideaway. Founded by King John in 1204, the key buildings were destroyed in 1538 by Henry VIII’s commissioners but enough survives to recreate the atmosphere enjoyed by the white-robed Cistercian monks. The herb gardens they would have tended beautify the ruins.
Beaulieu Abbey Cloisters
victorian walled garden
The New Forest setting is as lovely as it was when it was the Norman Kings’ ‘beautiful place’. The Victorian Walled Garden is flower-filled at all times of year; the Wilderness Gardens planted in the 1770s are home to spring bulbs and rare trees; the Mill Pond Walk reconnects you to the water and to King William Rufus, who was famously killed while hunting at Beaulieu in 1100. A rather special feature of the gardens is the Love Lock Tree, a sculpture created for the wedding of the current heir to Beaulieu, where visiting couples can attach an engraved padlock to mark their love for each other.
Palace House, Beaulieu
The key to Beaulieu is that it is a destination for all the family. Kids will love all the interactive exhibits and fun trails. There is go-karting and a mini driving circuit in the school holidays as well as a play area. Travel around on the monorail or the 1912 replica Vintage bus. Teens will find the On Screen exhibits fun and there are endless opportunities for crazy selfies. For all, there is history at first hand and, of course, shopping and great cafés.