The National Motor Museum in the New Forest

by Maritravel

The New Forest is a constant delight, but visitors should not miss the chance to visit Beaulieu Palace and Abbey and the collection of antique & vintage cars housed in the Museum.

Beaulieu Palace, the Abbey and the famous National Motor Museum, are the New Forest's special places and the all-inclusive entry allows freedom to roam the grounds, the Palace, the 13th century Abbey and the Motor Museum.

Where to start in this amazing complex? The Monorail and the Veteran Bus that transport visitors through the grounds gives an ideal overview, but on a fine day nothing beats a walk through the beautiful gardens to seek out the individual sites. Guided tours to the Palace House, the Abbey and the Vineyard are on offer, but it is very easy to manage without a guide.

Beaulieu Palace, New Forest

 

Home of the Montagu family since 1538 the Palace was first opened to the public in 1952. Visitors can walk through the house, kept in the style of a late Victorian establishment, and listen to tales from the butler, cook and housemaids. A kitchen and pantry, faithfully following the style of the 19th century, is a favourite feature of the house, closely followed in popularity by the Victorian Flower Garden, the Wilderness Garden (dating back to the 1770’s) and the Ornamental Kitchen Garden laid out on the site of the 1872 original

Beaulieu Abbey
Beaulieu Abbey
Mari Nicholson
Dining Room in Beaulieu
Dining Room in Beaulieu
Mari Nicholson

Beaulieu Abbey, New Forest

The picturesque and tranquil Abbey Cloisters are planted with fragrant herbs which accounts for the fact that many people choose this as a picnic spot. The story of how the Abbey came to be built in the New Forest, its importance to the local community, and what life was like in the Cistercian order at Beaulieu Abbey right up until its dissolution at the hands of Henry VIII, is told in an audio visual presentation. Although much was destroyed during the dissolution, there is still a lot to see, including the Monastic Life Exhibition and some very impressive wall hangings which depict scenes from the Abbey’s history.

Beaulieu
Beaulieu
Mari Nicholson
Beaulieu Abbey, part of the ruined walls
Beaulieu Abbey, part of the ruined walls
 

The National Motor Museum, home to 250 Magnificent Vintage and Antique Cars

In 1952 when the first display of veteran cars was shown in the front hall of Palace House, the initial display was only a few cars. This has now grown into a collection of over 250 vehicles which has a magnificent museum (The National Motor Museum) all to itself telling the story of motoring from the earliest days to the present.

In the National Motor Museum there are sections devoted to specialised motoring, i.e. The Motor Sport Gallery for historic racing cars and World Land Speed Record Breakers (including Donald Campbell’s famous Bluebird.  There is a typical country garage re-created with sounds and smells of the 1930’s to lend authenticity, and the “Wheels” Pod ride transports visitors on a fascinating journey through 100 years of motoring.  Daily and themed tours are held throughout the year at 2.30 p.m.

Special exhibitions run alongside the normal display every month – sometimes weekly.  Recently there have been The James Bond Experience and The Secret Army Exhibition, both appealing to boys from 9 to 90. The James Bond Experience had the genuine cars, boats and props from the films – glorious cars all of them. The Secret Army Exhibition told the story of the SOE during World War II.  For current exhibitions check out the website http://www.beaulieu.co.uk/beaulieu-events

Beaulieu Palace and Museum offers a perfect day out for all the family, for lovers of history, vintage and antique car lovers, and for those who like to sit amidst tranquil lawns and enjoy the peace of the English countryside.

Vintage Car in National Motor Museum, New Forest
Vintage Car in National Motor Museum,...
Mari Nicholson
Vintage Car, National Motor Museum, New Forest
Vintage Car, National Motor Museum, N...
Mari Nicholson
Vintage Transport, National Motor Museum, New Forest
Vintage Transport, National Motor Mus...
Mari Nicholson
Vintage Car, National Motor Museum, New Forest
Vintage Car, National Motor Museum, N...
Mari Nicholson

Where to Stay in the New Forest

For overnight stays, nearby is The Montagu Arms Hotel, a 5* hotel with Michelin Star chef and carrying two AA Rosettes. It is a small, intimate hotel on the River Beaulieu, within walking distance of the Palace and Museum, and perfect for an overnight stay, a romantic week-end, or a trekking holiday in the New Forest.  http://www.montaguarmshotel.co.uk/

Updated: 05/04/2013, Maritravel
 
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John on 05/07/2013

The last time I drove was in Phuket five years ago and as you can imagine Mari that was a hair raising experience. Before that I had not driven in the UK for 12 years.

Maritravel on 05/07/2013

Yea, do go John. I have no love of cars, I drive because I have to, but the cars at the N.M.M. are unbelievable. Allow a whole day for the delights in store.
Nice to see your name on Wizzley. I'm sure lots of the folk here will recognise a fellow refugee from Suite.

John Howe on 05/06/2013

Wanted to go here for many years, now my appetite is whetted perhaps it is time to fulfill the ambition.

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