After a morning of essential admin and a thick soup lunch, we all piled into the car and headed for Beaulieu (pronounced Bewlee). I’m not talking about the village, which we visited later. No, I mean the Beaulieu Estate Family Fun Park where you can wander the grounds that once belonged to the Crown then the Cistercians then a mate of Henry VIII before becoming a wedding present and high altar to the combustion engine.
It’s the location for the National Motor Museum and has, possibly, one of the biggest car parks I’ve ever visited. I guess that’s easily explained, given vehicles are the nation’s obsession. Though, not being a driver, I’m not sure of the appeal of looking at something you already have and use every day.
Still, Beaulieu Estate has a lot more than just a transport temple. There’s also the ruin of an abbey, a Russian art exhibition, gardens and a monorail. And you can take your dogs in if you want as long as they stay out of the buildings. Which, at £11 per person (and that’s without entrance to the Motor Museum) is a bit much. So, we didn’t end up going in.
On the other hand, we thoroughly walked the length and breadth of Beaulieu the village. And, I have to say, what we missed out by not going to the National Motor Museum was more than made up for by walking the streets of the village.
I discovered it’s next to impossible to take a photo of the beautiful Beaulieu high street without including a car or van. And the traffic noise is constant. Being February 1, I’d hate to think what it would be like in the summer.
I wanted to take a photo of the Chocolate Studio, especially for Fi, and this is the best I could do.
Vehicles aside, we really loved the village. The shops are mostly tourist specialized and the buildings very cute. In fact, we both thought the village could easily double for Meryton. There was even an upstairs window where Mirinda thought that Lydia could almost be seen trying on hats she didn’t like but could change the trim.
Mind you, in order to make Beaulieu into a Regency village street, a lot of cars would have to find somewhere else to park. I’m not sure what the population is, but I reckon there are more cars than people.
We ended up having coffee/tea at the Bakehouse (delightful cakes, excellent coffee and dogs very welcome) before heading back to the house.
Needless to say, Beaulieu village is not a place I’d like to live.