Where better to step back in time, than in one of the New Forest’s historic houses? Discover life from centuries gone by, be enchanted by the unique history and explore the area for yourself…
Palace House at Beaulieu
Palace House at Beaulieu is an excellent place to start your delve into our history. The house was granted to Thomas Wriothesley (who later became the 1st Earl of Southampton) by Henry Vlll at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Originally part of Beaulieu Abbey, the house has developed over the centuries to become the home of the Montagu family. Within it you will find fine furnishings, fan vaulted ceilings and treasures collected by past and present members of the family. Today, it’s a fine example of a Victorian-styled stately home. Visitors young and old will enjoy learning about the Victorian kitchen, with cookery demonstrations often taking place during the school holiday.
Look out for trails for children during the school holidays and be sure to make time to explore the extensive grounds and gardens that surround Palace House.
In addition to Palace House, we highly recommend that you visit the other attractions that form part of Beaulieu, including the National Motor Museum and the Abbey ruins. Keep an eye out for the regular events that take place at Beaulieu as well including concerts, fireworks and family activities.
Step back in time when you visit the wonderful Buckler's Hard. Located on the beautiful Beaulieu River, this was once a bustling shipbuilding village, where the ships for Nelson's Navy were built. There are many an interesting story to be told about the history of this village and the buildings within from years gone by. Come and explore - take a walk around the village, learn more in the museum, enjoy lovely views and grab a bite to eat!
Breamore House is located a couple of miles north of Fordingbridge and is a beautiful red brick Elizabethan Manor House.
The house was completed in 1583, supervised by William Dodington who had bought the manor a few years earlier and today, remains in the Hulse family. Open to visitors during the summer months, delve into the fascinating history of this property, with many of the interiors still in the same style as they were originally created. Visitors will particularly enjoy viewing the various paintings and tapestries as well as The Great Hall. In addition to the house, visitors can explore the Countryside Museum.
Breamore House has been used over the years as a film and TV location and stars in ‘Children of the New Forest’.
Highcliffe Castle has been described as arguably the most important surviving house of the Romantic and Picturesque style of architecture, which flourished at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. Set on a clifftop, just four miles from Christchurch, the Castle offers stunning views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight and is a popular choice for weddings and events. Visitors can book onto a guided tour led by one of the castle’s volunteers for a fascinating insight into the history of the building.
Use the New Forest as a base
The New Forest also makes an excellent base for travelling further afield to visit historic houses.
In Salisbury, you will find the National Trust Queen-Anne-style, Mompesson House with its small courtyard garden set within the historic Cathedral Close.
At nearby Romsey, Broadlands, home of the Mountbatten family, visitors can join onto a guided tour of the stately home. Just up the road you will also find the beautiful Mottisfont Abbey and Gardens, owned by the National Trust.
Kingston Lacy is another stately home with extensive gardens that can be found near to Wimborne Minster.
Stay in some of our historic houses
You don’t just have to visit historic houses, you can also stay in some of them! Chewton Glen Hotel and Spa was once known as Chewton Glen House before becoming a hotel. In fact, the residence used to be the home of George Marryat, who’s brother Frederik used to visit regularly and penned the famous novel ‘Children of the New Forest’.
Take a look at some of our places to stay here in the New Forest and discover your own bit of New Forest history.
Also, don’t forget to purchase your Go New Forest Card in advance of your visit for just £10. The card gives you money-saving discounts of many of our attraction, places to stay and restaurants and cafes in and around The New Forest.