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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


















July 20, 2018, 4:08 pm

Beautiful inside and out – I would love to visit someday. Thank you for the pronunciation. I’m not sure I would ever have come up with that.

Lisbeth @ The Content Reader

July 21, 2018, 9:16 am

What a wonderful castle. I live walking around old castles, ruined or well preserved like this one. Have to check out where it is situated for a future trip. Thank you for sharing these lovely photos.

Mary Mayfield

July 21, 2018, 4:22 pm

Oh, it’s years and years since I’ve been to Beaulieu. My husband spent the day looking at cars, and daughter and I walked round the grounds and played on the monorail! I don’t think the house was open back then, or maybe she was too small to be interested


July 21, 2018, 6:30 pm

Charlie, I am pleased to hear you enjoyed another lovely visit to Beaulieu; a place I have been lucky to visit too (it is very close to where my mum lives). I had enjoyed a wonderful trip there one Christmas holiday, where we were served mulled wine and all the staff were dressed up as Victorian characters, including a drunken lord! Great fun :-D


July 21, 2018, 10:55 pm

What a lovely place! Thanks for the tour. Inside is grand but the gardens are gorgeous, especially those arches with the blooming trees reaching down. ;-)


August 9, 2018, 11:52 am

Kelly: It’s one of our weird British words for sure!

Lisbeth: South of England, just to the west :)

Mary: I think you’re right, the house hasn’t always been open. The access is wonderful though, very much worth a return visit when you’re in the area :)

Jessica: That sounds fab, I might have to keep an eye out. I did a similar sort of thing at Chatsworth once, though we couldn’t see much of the house.

Carmen: The gardens are lovely, enough flowers to enjoy it but not so much that you feel you’ve missed anything (I do tend to prefer lawns for this reason!)



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