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A Day At Beaulieu, New Forest

A photograph of Beaulieu Palace House

Please note: the lens I took with me this visit turned out to be entirely the wrong one for the weather and light in the house so I have supplemented them with photos from a previous trip in June 2013. The arrangement of furniture in the house has changed since that day but the gardens are much the same.

Last Sunday morning and early afternoon I spent at Beaulieu (‘byu-lee’) in the New Forest. It was to my knowledge the hottest day of the year so far here, the temperature reaching 29 degrees Celsius at some points.

A photograph of the Abbey's arch

Beaulieu is an estate that offers a lot to do and it’s always packed with visitors. It’s best known for its National Motor Museum which was created by the 3rd baron Montagu of Beaulieu in 1952, whose statue stands outside the entrance to the museum building. The Montagu family still own the estate, living at Palace House, the historic home on the edge of the estate, by the river. It was originally built in the 1200s as the gatehouse of the abbey, and following Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries the estate was purchased by Thomas Wriothesley – whose portrait is in the house – then passed down through the Montagu family.The house is partly open to visitors; not surprisingly, it’s my favourite element of the place. (And currently, there is a garden set piece dedicated to Alice Liddell, the supposed inspiration for Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, who visited Beaulieu as an adult. Image at the bottom of this post.)

A photograph of the Abbey

Beaulieu Abbey is medieval, founded in the early 1200s by King John. It was the residence of a fair few Cistercian monks and nowadays it’s rather haunted. You can view part of the inside but the upper floor is solely for event hire. (In recent years I attended a reception there; the hall is dark as expected but worth seeing if you get the chance – all beams and rafters.) You can also walk along the foundations of the abbey church, outside.) The surviving rectory serves as the parish church.

A photograph of the monorail

Apart from the attractions I’ve already noted, Beaulieu has an elevated monorail that takes you from near the entrance of the estate, through the eves of the Motor Museum and up to the Abbey. A kitchen garden is accessible. And the restaurant features a lot of choices – on this day I favoured the slushies, which were invariably crowned best item on the menu.

A photograph of some of the Jaguars

And on this day about a hundred Jaguars were parked up by the main thoroughfare, an added attraction. (The Motor Museum contains many old vehicles – early and record breaking cars, cars from films and television. The Weasley’s Ford Anglia from The Chamber of Secrets resides there as does Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. There’s also a tent dedicated to Top Gear experiments.)

A photograph of the dining room

But back to the house; it’s lovely to walk around and this visit I noticed more rooms were open to the public than in years gone by; not that there were ever few rooms – for a house still lived in the access is very generous. You are welcome to take photographs, invited to in fact. The welcome in general is super; Beaulieu staff are on hand to tell you about the rooms or give you a tour, and there are lots of information boards sporting text from the Montagu family themselves. You never have to wonder who features in a painting and whilst areas are naturally cordoned off it doesn’t feel at all restrictive.

A photograph of the staircase

As I walked up the grand stairs, a member of staff asked if I had a similar staircase at home – I kind of understood where he was coming from because I did nip up there quickly – I told him I’d been to many historic houses. After a number of different staircase designs you’re prepared for anything.

The rest of my photos

Beaulieu

Beaulieu

Beaulieu

Beaulieu

Beaulieu

Beaulieu

Beaulieu

Beaulieu

Beaulieu

Beaulieu

Beaulieu

Beaulieu

Beaulieu

Beaulieu

Beaulieu

 
The Forest Of Bere, Rainy Spring Day

A photograph of the Forest of Bere, bluebells all over the ground

On a dreary day in May, having decided to get lunch to go, we chose to drive for longer than usual to find somewhere new to sit. On a road we’d never been on, a ‘what’s that?’ moment happened; we turned down the tiny lane and found the Forest of Bere. It’s a relatively small area of land just north of Fareham and on that day there were bluebells as far as the eye could see.

A photograph of the Forest of Bere, a path leading to an old railway bridge

A couple of bridges define the place where a railway line once skirted the edge of what is now a road. There are a couple of entrances, that we could find, and the ‘main’ one is set up for picnics and short walks, parking and benches aplenty. Some sites call it ‘the former forest of Bere’ – it is essentially, now, at least, a patch of forest in an otherwise rural but populated place – there is a country park and myriad villages nearby.

A photograph of the Forest of Bere's picnic area

A photograph of the Forest of Bere, a path surrounded by bluebells

A photograph of the Forest of Bere, an old railway bridge, graffiti on the underside of it

 
The Vyne, Autumn

The Vyne

When I last wrote about The Vyne I focused on the interior as it was cold and we didn’t get many photographs. Looking through them again, however, I realised the weather didn’t look so bad…

The Vyne

The Vyne

The Vyne

The Vyne

Do you have any recommendations for places to visit in autumn?

 
Salisbury Cathedral, Restoration

Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral was undergoing restorative work when we visited, but the beautiful day made up for it when it came to taking photographs (this was the same day we visited Mompesson House. It’s a lovely cathedral in itself, but something we were surprised to discover was that it holds a copy of the Magna Carta, making it even more ripe for the budding historian or tourist. Of course I couldn’t take pictures of the document, and the cathedral interior was off limits, but exterior made up for it.

Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral

Have you any building/museum visits planned for the lighter days ahead?

 
Knightshayes Gardens

Knightshayes

You aren’t allowed to take photographs in the house at Knightshayes and cannot see much of it, so I recommend you take this into consideration before deciding to make a day of it. This said, what you can see of the house is magnificent, and not dissimilar to Cardiff Castle. Due to the weather I used a filter on my camera a few times in order that my photos be more reflective of how the place truly looks; the gardens are wonderful.

Knightshayes

Knightshayes

Knightshayes

Knightshayes

Knightshayes

Knightshayes

Knightshayes

Knightshayes

Knightshayes

Knightshayes

Knightshayes

Knightshayes

Knightshayes

Knightshayes

Have you been to any gardens recently?

 

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