Chester and I went on an impromptu trip to Beaulieu last week with my friend Rach and her little girl Thea. Having not been since I was a child myself, I’ve been well aware it’s there and meaning to take a trip but wasn’t sure if it was a good day out with the kids or not. Thought I’d share my views with you for things to do in Hampshire!
First off – it’s expensive! Advance prices are £19 for an adult, £9 for an over 5 (Under 5’s are free!), £18 for a senior/student or £49 for a family (1 adult, 4 kids or 2 adults, 3 kids). On the day tickets are £3 more expensive for a child and £5 for an adult so I highly recommend advance booking, which you can do here.
We were there for over 3 hours and were very nearly late picking the big boys up from school due to too much chatting!! You could probably spend a little longer there.
Parking is free – bonus!
Things to do include:
This is good. You have to go up three flights of stairs (no other access) and leave pushchairs at the bottom so have a think about valuables. Lasts about 15 mins and keep hold of the kids as it’s quite ‘open’. It goes through the motor museum and above the gardens as shown below!
- World of Top Gear
Great if someone you know loves Top Gear. It’s full of lots of the vehicles they have destroyed when doing their challenges and behind the scenes footage. My son James (he’s 5) would like this and if we went again I’d watch some of the episodes prior to going to try and show him the actual vehicles. There’s also some simulators around for bigger kids.
- National Motor Museum
This is undeniably very cool, even cooler if you really like cars and bikes. Kids aren’t allowed to sit on any of them but there are a few interactive screens they can play around with. Other than that not much inside here for younger ones but some interactive activities for bigger ones!
- Double Decker bus trips
Go for a short ride on an open top Double Decker bus! No extra cost for this or the monorail.
- Palace House
Please note no buggies are allowed in here so don’t time it with nap time thinking they’ll be quiet. The staff are in character costume and it is what you expect inside, very palace like! If your kids like touching everything in sight (like mine) it might be less stressful to admire from the outside.
- Kids Play Area
The kids play area is great! Lots of room for them to play and lots to play on. With cars to drive, slides, swings and more it’s an ideal spot to let the kids release some energy while perching (if you’re one of the lucky ones) on one of the benches and having a chat! There are a number of picnic benches here too, some covered, so a good spot for lunch.
For food and drink there is the Brabazon Restaurant with seating inside and outside. You are more than welcome to take your own picnic (including picnic paraphernalia like rugs, games etc) and there is an ice cream hut situated near the Palace House with real ice creams and some decent flavours, salted caramel yummmmmm, plus the opportunity to have a much needed caffeine hit with some decent coffee!
The grounds are beautiful and there is plenty of space for kids to play and run around without becoming a nuisance and being frowned upon!!
You also have the opportunity to go back within 6 days for free if you so fancy! Driving to Beaulieu you also pass lots of donkeys at the road side and a huge lake which would be lovely for a walk around.
All in all a nice day out but I wouldn’t take the whole family on a whim. Wait for a nice day weather wise to make the most of the gardens and go armed with a picnic. I’d perhaps pair it with a trip to Bucklers Hard, a general stroll round the New Forest or maybe stop in a nice pub on the way home for a bite to eat and a much called for glass of wine!
For more information visit the Beaulieu website.