Reviewed by Gemma Cooper
I visited Beaulieu Motor Museum on Friday 25 April 2014 with my 4 year old boy/girl twins, my best friend and her 4 year old boy. Unfortunately the weather was typical for April, and was very wet and windy. This didn’t deter us for our visit and as a big plus, did mean that the museum was quite quiet.
Parking was easy as there weren’t many cars and it was only a short walk up to the reception area. Unfortunately our tickets weren’t there waiting for us, but the staff were very helpful and got us in the museum very quickly and easily. We were given a map and vouchers for the Top Gear simulator, and entered the grounds. We decided to head for the museum first (to get out of the rain!). I did have a few reservations about how well 3 four year olds would cope in the museum and not being allowed to get in all the vehicles, but they were very good and enjoyed looking at the cars and motorcycles. There is a huge collection and at 4 years old they did lose interest after a short while, so we decided to take a trip on the monorail – due to the weather and the park being quiet we didn’t have to wait long to get on the monorail, and the kids loved it, especially going through the museum and looking down on all the cars. We did a round trip and came back to first stop.
We decided to make use of our vouchers for the Top Gear simulator, thinking it was going to cost us £12 for a family, we were very surprised and happy to find out that under 5’s were free, as we did think it was a little pricey! So with our vouchers, it cost £6 for all 5 of us, we were hoping the kids would be ok and it turns out we did have tears… at the end when they were told it was over and they had to get off!
We then had a look round the Top Gear area and being a huge fan of the show I really loved seeing the vehicles and remembered pretty much all of them from the show. I was a bit disappointed that part of the area was closed for maintenance, but understand this has to be done. The Enormodrome was also fab, to watch the specially recorded show and get up close to the COOL WALL – a must for any avid Top Gear Fan!
We stopped for lunch in the Brabazon restaurant, and although pricey (as with most attractions) the food was top quality and made the price more reasonable. I had a jacket potato and salad, which was very nice and really fresh, the kids lunch bags were very good, with lots of choice, including a lot of healthy options which a lot of places miss so I was very happy to see this and the range of drinks and food choices was very extensive. You could also eat your own food in the restaurant (well I didn’t see signs saying you couldn’t!) which was good as my friend brought their lunch with them)
After lunch we took a trip on the old bus, unfortunate due to the weather we couldn’t ride on the top deck but the kids really enjoyed the trip. And no sooner had we got off the bus they requested another trip on the monorail, so we heading back to go round again, absolutely no queue at all this time and we were the only ones on there! When we got back they had a go on the remote control cars, and we had another ride on the Top Gear simulator (we figured we were going to spend £12 on a family ticket the first time so with the vouchers 2 goes cost us £12 and we had 3 very happy kids – and 2 happy adults too!)
As the weather had got a bit worse we headed back into the museum – through the back door, as directed by the very helpful guy running the simulator, and where we took a trip on wheels. The last time I remember going on Wheels, was when I was a kid! I was watching my little girls face as the car moved and turned and remembered feeling the same when I was little. All the kids really enjoyed it and we had to get off and go round again, but again there was no queue which was a bonus.
Despite the weather we had a very enjoyable day, and finished off having a look round the shop which was huge, and had soo much to look at. I would however, be reluctant to go back paying full price for tickets at this time, as I think to benefit from the amount you spend, the kids need to be a little older and you need better weather to be able to enjoy the beautiful gardens (which we did see parts of from the monorail but it was far too wet to walk around with 3 kids in tow!) If you don’t have young kids in tow and have a love of cars/bikes, then you could certainly spend a lot more time in the actual museum looking at the vehicles and the details etc… You can also come back once for FREE within 6 days if you don’t get a chance to see everything, ask for details at the Motor Museum information desk while you are there.
Once the kids are a bit older they would also get more out the day and be at an age to enjoy looking around the house as well. I had fond memories of my visits as child and look forward to going back with my 2 when they are a few years older.
All in all we had a fantastic day, thoroughly enjoyed it and had 3 very tired kids which is always a sign of a good day out.
Thank you very much for a lovely day.
Tickets cost (covers entrance to the National Motor Museum, Palace House and Gardens, Beaulieu Abbey and World of Top Gear), Top Gear Simulator Go Karts and Radio Cars are an extra charge:
For more information or to book tickets visit www.beaulieu.co.uk.
Beaulieu, Brockenhurst, Hampshire, United Kingdom, SO42 7ZN | 01590 612345