Things to Do in Beaulieu
Step back into centuries of history
Beaulieu is steeped in history from the medieval days. Visitors flock to the village to see one of the New Forest’s most famous attractions, the National Motor Museum. The Museum holds a vast collection of iconic cars and motorbikes from the early days of the motorcar right through to the modern day. You can find vehicles used to set World land-speed records and Formula 1 racing cars. Top Gear fans will enjoy exploring the ‘World of Top Gear’ which features some of the vehicles that featured in the ever-popular BBC series.
Rest your legs on the monorail which circles the site and stop at Palace House where you can discover more about the rich history of the Beaulieu estate and the Montagu family. Palace House has been a home to the Montagu family since 1538 and was remodelled in the 1800s to become a fine example of a Victorian mansion. Costumed guides will help you learn about the history on one of the guided tours and be sure to stop by at the Victorian kitchen where you can find out how the Victorians used to cook.
Walk in the footsteps of monks who used to inhabit the Beaulieu Abbey before it was destroyed by King Henry VIII in the dissolution of the monasteries in 1538. Explore the aromatic herb garden once tended by the monks, the Monastic Life exhibition and the Beaulieu Parish Church, which was once the monks’ refectory.
The rich history continues as you travel southeast of the village along the Beaulieu River to the 18th century village of Buckler’s Hard. Forming part of the Beaulieu estate, this village was developed as a ship-building location and was home to the ships built for Horatio Nelson in the Battle of Trafalgar. A maritime museum in the village depicts the history. You can also choose to go on an optional river cruise to see the wider area.
Enjoy the big outdoors with an activity
If you fancy getting active on a visit to the Beaulieu area then there are lots of opportunities for you. Walk or cycle the two mile stretch between Beaulieu village (or start it at the National Motor Museum) and follow along the picturesque Beaulieu River as it meanders towards Buckler’s Hard. Bikes are available to hire from New Forest Activities.
New Forest Activities are also on hand to provide a wealth of outdoor adventures. Whether you are travelling as a family, a couple, looking for a team building event or as a group activity for a stag or hen party, there are plenty of options available for getting active. How about taking a paddle to the pub with one of the kayaks? Or taking to the trees with the high ropes course. Other options include Battlefield Live (with infra-red gaming guns), bushcraft and archery. The difficult thing will be choosing which activity to start with!
Explore the New Forest in a different way with New Forest Classic Car Hire, based in Beaulieu. With stunning classic cars that you can hire for a couple of hours or for a day to take out into the wonderful New Forest.
Get close to nature
Just walking around the village of Beaulieu you may just come across some of our New Forest ponies or donkeys as they amble along the High Street and on the open heathland. You might also be lucky enough to spot a kingfisher or other wetland birds if you take the riverside walk between the village towards Buckler’s Hard.
The colourful Exbury Gardens are a delight, particularly during late spring when the rhododendrons and azaleas are in flower. Enthusiastic horticulturalists, young gardeners and anyone with a keen eye for nature will love visiting here. There’s also the fantastic miniature steam railway which operates, popular with all ages of visitor.
If you fancy improving your own garden then it’s well worth stopping by at Fairweather’s Garden Centre, in the heart of Beaulieu village. Many of the plants sold here are grown in the village. Be sure to check out Patrick’s Patch, an inspiring, educational and productive garden that we have built adjacent to the Garden Centre and it’s free to enter.
Shop in our independent stores
There is a small cluster of independent shops and stores that you can find in the centre of Beaulieu. A popular spot for visitors is often the Beaulieu Chocolate Studio where you can pick up a tasty souvenir of your visit!
Want to know more?
Take a look at our listings below and discover more about some of the fantastic things you can do in and around Beaulieu…