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A Family Guide To Visiting the Beaulieu Motor Museum

The county of Hampshire in southern England is home to some incredible family-friendly attractions, and visiting the Beaulieu Motor Museum is up there as one of the best. 

A Family Guide To Visiting the Beaulieu Motor Museum

With plenty of old and new cars to discover, as well as insights into the world of the Grand Prix, the evolution of cars, and the history of motorcycles, the Beaulieu Motor Museum is a haven for all car lovers and an excellent afternoon activity that will appeal to all ages. 

And don’t worry, even if you aren’t the biggest car enthusiast, the Beaulieu Motor Museum is still a great afternoon activity.

Although I wouldn’t typically find car-related topics interesting, I did thoroughly enjoy myself looking at some of the classics and the other attractions.

Where is the Beaulieu Motor Museum?

The Beaulieu Motor Museum is in Brockenhurst, Hampshire—the heart of the New Forest. Located not far from Southampton, Bournemouth, Winchester, Salisbury and Portsmouth, Beaulieu is incredibly easy to access. And you can do so by car, bus, or train. 

How to Get to the Beaulieu Motor Museum

The easiest way to get to Beaulieu is by car. And you can either follow your satnav by inputting Beaulieu’s postcode, SO42 7ZN or take Junction 2 of the M27 and follow the brown and white tourist signs to the museum’s entrance.

Alternatively, there are bus routes and the nearby Brockenhurst train station. However, it’s best to refer to the Beaulieu Motor Museum website for more information.

The entrance of the Beaulieu National Motor Museum

Beaulieu Motor Museum Parking

The Beaulieu Motor Museum offers its guests free parking. And with 1000 spaces available, plus an additional overflow car park for particularly busy days, you should have no trouble finding a spot near the museum. 

Beaulieu Motor Museum Tickets and Pricing

It’s best to book your Beaulieu tickets online before arriving at the museum, as not only does it eliminate the need for waiting in line, but you’ll also save money, which is a huge plus, if you ask me.

Online ticket prices are as follows (you can expect to pay around £3 more when purchasing tickets on the day) :

  • Adult – £24.50
  • Senior (60+) – £23.50
  • Child (5 -16) – £13.50
  • Family (2 adults and up to 3 children) – £62.50
  • Under 5s – Free

Beaulieu Motor Museum Opening Times

The Beaulieu Car Museum is open daily, except on Christmas day. However, the museum’s opening times do vary throughout the year.

From the 1st of January to the 24th of May, Beaulieu is open from 10 am to 5 pm. During the summer, from May 25th to September 15th, the museum is open from 10 am to 6 pm. And from September 16th onwards, the opening times will revert back to 10 am to 5 pm. 

The car from the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Movie Gen 11 at the Beaulieu National Motor Museum
The car from the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Movie Gen 11 at the Beaulieu National Motor Museum

What There Is to See at the Beaulieu Motor Museum

Of course, in the motor museum, you can expect to see cars and lots of them. In addition, you’ll also have access to the Palace House, the Secret Army Exhibition, the World of Top Gear, Beaulieu Abbey, and so much more. 

National Motor Museum

Beaulieu’s most popular attraction is by far the National Motor Museum, which not only houses some of the earliest motor carriages, classic cars, and legendary F1 cars but also delves into the history of motors, how cars have evolved over the years, and how motor racing came to be. 

Palace House

As you walk through Beaulieu’s grounds, you’ll come across the 13th-century Palace House, which, for the past 500 years, has been the home of the Montagu family.

With your Beaulieu ticket, you can explore both the interior and exterior of Palace House while taking in its grand gothic tone and the family treasures, portraits and memorabilia that lie within. 

A Family Guide To Visiting the Beaulieu Motor Museum
Google Maps – Map data ©2024 Inst. Geogr Nacional

Secret Army Exhibition

Although Beaulieu is now one of the world’s finest collections of cars, that wasn’t always the case. During World War Two, Beaulieu was a top-secret training establishment for special agents of the Special Operations Executive (SOE).

In the Secret Army Exhibition, you can learn all about how 3000 SOE agents were trained in the dark arts of warfare and their dangerous missions behind enemy lines.

Little Beaulieu

No doubt your kid’s favourite part of Beaulieu will be Little Beaulieu, a wooden adventure playground where they can run about and blow off some steam. Little Beaulieu is actually a replica of Palace House and has secret tunnels, passageways, and even a zip wire!

World of Top Gear

I will admit that I don’t mind the TV show Top Gear. So, the World of Top Gear was actually a highlight of my time in Beaulieu. 

The World of Top Gear exhibit features vehicles from the Top Gear challenges, shows what it’s like inside the Top Gear TV studio, and even has its very own test track where you can test your driving skills with remote-control models of the Top Gear challenge cars. 

Beaulieu Abbey

If you liked Palace House, then you’ll also enjoy the Beaulieu Abbey that King John founded over 800 years ago. Sadly, King Henry VIII destroyed the abbey in 1538. But the Montagu family have done a wonderful job of preserving the ruins so visitors like you can marvel at its sheer beauty. 

On Screen Cars

The exhibits in On Screen Cars are forever changing. However, you’ll get the chance to see some TV and film favourite motors, including the Mini from Mr Bean, Del Boy’s three-wheeled yellow van, the flying car from Harry Potter, and Doctor Who’s Bessie. 

Ford Anglia from Harry Potter at the Beaulieu National Motor Museum
The Weasley’s Ford Anglia from Harry Potter at the Beaulieu National Motor Museum

To find out which cars are on display during the time of your visit, head over to the Beaulieu website.

Monorail

To get a whole different perspective of the Beaulieu grounds, you can jump on board the monorail—the oldest monorail in England!

Playground and seating area, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, in England

Playground and Gardens

Once you’ve finished inside the museum, you can then head out to Beaulieu’s gardens and spend hours strolling around taking in the pond, the flowers, and the various topiaries and tree carvings. The kids’ playground with a convienent cafe right next door, is a lot of fun too!

Art Russe at the Clockhouse

And one of the final exhibits you can see while visiting the Beaulieu Motor Museum is the Art Russe, the UK’s first Soviet Russian art gallery. The gallery is home to late nineteenth and twentieth-century Russian art and encompasses a variety of artistic styles, including Socialist Realism and naturalistic landscapes.

Aston Martin DB5 from James Bond at Beaulieu National Motor Museum
Aston Martin DB5 from James Bond at Beaulieu National Motor Museum

Food Options at the Beaulieu Motor Museum

As Beaulieu has sprawling grounds with plenty of shaded grass areas, it is the perfect location for an afternoon picnic. I personally love attractions that allow you to bring in your own food and drink, as we all know how expensive eating out can be.

So, it’s great to see that Beaulieu actually encourages its visitors to pack their own picnic.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to bring your own picnic, you can also sit down for a meal in the Brabazon Restaurant or grab a coffee, sandwich, or baguette in the Beaulieu coffee shop. 

How Long Do You Need at the Beaulieu Motor Museum?

To see all of the exhibits and enjoy the gardens, palace, and abbey, then you’d need at least four hours at Beaulieu. I will say that the grounds are large, so you will be doing a lot of walking.

But if you come prepared with a stroller or a wagon, you should have no trouble fitting it all in. 


Tips for Visiting the Beaulieu Motor Museum

If you’re visiting the Beaulieu Motor Museum, then here are some tips that will make your day even more enjoyable. 

  • Pack a Picnic – To cut down on costs, pack a picnic! Beaulieu has plenty of areas where you can sit down and enjoy a prepacked sandwich. And on pleasant summer days, you’ll really be thankful you did.
  • Pack Extra Snacks and Drinks – On top of your picnic, be sure to pack extra snacks and drinks. There aren’t many places to purchase food or drinks at Beaulieu. So, it’s best to take your own to avoid any meltdowns. 
  • Bring a Stroller – The museum can get quite busy at times, which does make it hard to manoeuvre with a stroller. However, if you have young children, then your stroller will be a godsend when you’re out exploring the abbey, Beaulieu’s grounds, and the Palace House.
  • Prioritise Exhibits/Attractions – As there are so many things to do at Beaulieu, I highly recommend prioritising the exhibits/attractions that you really want to see. We all know how quickly kids get tired. So, if you don’t want to miss out on anything, make sure to head there first. 

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