The last time we went to Beaulieu it was November 2021 for the new Bond exhibition. When we went it was crazy busy and that definitely had an impact on our experience. On a (very) sunny Sunday in October (first of half term for Hampshire) we returned. Beaulieu has something for everyone in the family making it a unique and accessible day out.
We went on the mono-rail first which I was a bit critical of previously, however both children (& us parents) loved this AND we spied the potion shed on the journey which our son (Dylan) was very excited about!
There was an array of things put on for half term specifically looking at the unique history of Beaulieu with a spin on Halloween which was great!
We caught the open top bus a short distance to The Abbey and found potion making in the extensive kitchen garden, which was very informative about how the Monks at Beaulieu would have lived. As Dylan (6) is a very able reader the lady leading the session made it more challenging asking Dylan to find the herb (of the ones named) which would help Stomach and Liver complaints. Dylan rose to the challenge and then made a potion of various herbs (and lots of strong garlic!!).
Next we went to the falconers talk which was incredibly interesting and informative and watched the majestic birds in flight. Next we headed to the main house where we dressed up in period hats and played Victorian wooden games in the upstairs lounge. We saw the cook in the kitchen who was baking ‘Soul Cakes’. A very interesting discussion ensued about what influence Halloween had on baking in the Victorian era and the children had a go with a variety of old fashioned whisks!
Next we went to a ‘ghost stories’ talk given by a cousin of the current Lord Montague of Beaulieu about ghostly sightings and experiences around the house and grounds (which included some photograph evidence). My son was enthralled by the 45 minute session. This also included some interesting history of the house and origins of the name Beaulieu.
As an addition, there is a lovely photographic exhibition in the main house regarding the relationship between the Montague family and British royal family with some rare insights into our late queen and King Charles.
Next we made our way to the epic playground – children would happily spend hours exploring this playground which is wonderfully laid out for small explorers (Cecilia is 2) and bigger explorers! I was negative about the coffee here last time, which I am pleased to report is much improved and was needed at this point!
Dotted around the estate are plenty of places to perch for a picnic or there is a large restaurant/cafe as well as a couple of strategically placed coffee stands.
Lastly we did the main car exhibition – there’s an unforgettable smell as you enter which is so nostalgic! I love the old bus and the sports cars while my husband was ogling over various cars and bikes. We did the ghost hunt here – can you find them all? And Dylan got a little prize at the end. We also lastly visited the cars in films exhibit which I wish was a bit bigger but Dylan loved seeing the car from Harry Potter and the Mini from Mr Bean!
We didn’t do the Top Gear exhibition this time, as we had done it before (this is great if you are a Top Gear fan and very accessible for kids!) and as any parent will know 4-5 hours somewhere is generally enough.
There is a great deal on over half term where you can return for a second free visit within 6 days of your first by getting a coupon at the visitor reception in the main car exhibit. I would highly recommend doing this as there is so much to see and do!
Like every great museum, there is also a great gift shop where I gave Dylan £5 and he spent £5.25 on a racing car, Beaulieu pencil & rubber! Good work Dylan!
Beaulieu remains an excellent day out and they go all out during ‘events’. The staff are exceptionally knowledgeable and friendly. As a family there is something for everyone and you always come away feeling as though you have learnt something (which is a bonus)!
Thank you Beaulieu for an unforgettable half term day out!