Beaulieu National Motor Museum

Beaulieu House

Beaulieu is a multi-attraction property, where visitors can see Lord Montagu's stately home, the ruins of the medieval abbey that preceded it, a huge model railway, a monorail and the National Motor Museum.

The Palace House, on the edge of the New Forest, was originally the 14th C. gatehouse from a Cistercian Abbey, that destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. It was subsequently extended into the present manor house in the 16th C. Behind the house are the ruins of rest of the Abbey, circa 1246. Its refectory was converted to a Parish Church following the Dissolution. A 'Secret Army Exhibition' tells how secret agents were trained at Beaulieu during WWII.

The National Motor Museum, located nearby, contains over 250 vintage cars from Peugeots to Daimlers. You will also find vehicles once owned by celebrities and cars that broke speed records.

Opening times: May-Sep 10am - 6pm; Oct-Apr 10am - 5pm (closed Xmas) Admission Charge
Location: Beaulieu, SO42 7ZN - Tel: 01590 612345 - Website
Facilities: Parking, cafe, restaurant, picnic area (outdoor), toilets, shop

Breamore House & Countryside Museum

Breamore house

A traditional pink Elizabethan manor house, built in 1583 on the edge of the New Forest. It was bought in 1748 by Sir Edward Hulse, physician to Queen Anne, whose descendants still live there to this day. Set in beautiful gardens and parkland, and surrounded by fields. The magnificence and grandeur of the house has changed little during its 430 year history.

The house was used as a filming location for "Churchill at War", "The Woodlanders", "Children of the New Forest" and "Florence Nightingale". There is a small Countryside Museum in the grounds, displaying a wide range of traditional farming tools and machinery. Includes a children's playground.

Opening times: Apr (Tue, Sun & Etr); May-Sep (Tue-Thu & Sat, Sun) Oct (Tue & Sun) 2pm - 5pm Admission Charge
Location: Near Fordingbridge, Hampshire, SP6 2DF - Tel: 01725 512468 - Website
Facilities: Parking, cafe, toilets, shop, children's play area.
Image Credit: PxHere (CC2)

Bombay Sapphire Distillery

The distillery is based in the historic Victorian and Georgian Laverstoke Mill, by the River Test. The ancient recipe uses 10 specially selected botanicals that give Bombay Sapphire Gin its crisp, pure and elegant taste. Take the self-guided tour of the mill and experience first hand the distillation techniques used to achieve its unique taste. Then sit back and relax with a free cocktail at the Mill Bar.

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Opening Times: All year daily (exc. Xmas & NY), Apr~Sept: 10am-8pm; Oct~Mar: 11am-6pm
Location: Laverstoke Mill, London Road, Laverstoke, Whitchurch, Hampshire RG28 7NR - Tel: 01256 890090

Bishop's Waltham Palace

Romantic crumbling ruins of a medieval palace, once the seat of the Bishops of Winchester. Nearby restored farmhouse contains a museum about the reign of Winchester Bishops.
Run by English Heritage.

Opening times: End Mar-Oct, Sun-Fri 10am to 5pm. Free Entry
Location: Bishop's Waltham, SO32 1DH - Tel: 0870 3331181 - Website
Facilities: Parking, picnic area, shop

Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle

This grand Gothic style pinnacled mansion is built on a very ancient site, once recorded in the Domesday Book. It has been owned by the Carnarvon family since 1679. The current house was constructed in 1842 to designs by Sir Charles Barry - the architect who designed the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London. The Castle houses an Egyptian exhibition, which commemorates Howard Carter's 1922 discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun, in the Valley of the Kings.

The Castle, its grounds and the exhibition are only open to the public during Easter and May Bank holidays, and during the summer months (July to September). The castle is also available for private events such as weddings, corporate events and film locations. The latest production is that of 'Downton Abbey', a Edwardian drama series set in 1912, shown on ITV1.

Opening times: times vary see, website for details Admission Charge
Location: Highclere Park, Newbury, RG20 9RN - Tel: 01635 253210 - Website
Facilities: Parking, café, gift shop, toilets.

Jane Austen's House and Museum

17th century house

Just 1 mile south of Alton, in the small village of Chawton, stands the charming 17th-c. red-brick home of the novelist Jane Austen, where she lived from 1809 until her death in 1817. It was here that she wrote the final drafts of her six novels, Sense and Sensibility (published in 1811), Pride and Prejudice (published in 1813), Mansfield Park (published in 1814), Emma (published in 1815-16), Northanger Abbey and Persuasion (published after her death in 1817). The house has been preserved as a museum, which celebrates here life and works. The drawing-room contains the novelist's work-table and first editions of her books, the other rooms contain some of her letters and personal possessions.

Opening times: vary see website for details - Admission Charge
Location: Chawton, Alton, Hampshire GU34 1SD - Tel: 01420 83262
Facilities: audio trail, refreshments, reference library, disabled access to ground floor

Mottisfont Abbey and Garden

Formerly a 12th C. Augustinian priory. It was converted into a house by Lord Chamberlain Sandys following the Dissolution of the Monasteries and further altered in the 18th C. Set in tranquil grounds with sweeping lawns and magnificent trees, beside the River Test. Run by National Trust*

Opening times: daily Mar-Oct 11am to 5pm. Admission Charge*
Location: SO51 0LP - Tel: 01794 340757 - Website
Facilities: Parking, café, restaurant, picnic area, shop, toilets.

New Forest Centre

New Forest Centre

The New Forest is actually quite old - it was created in 1079 as a royal forest by William I, for his private deer hunting. It has been subject to strict forest laws from Norman times until 1640. The Knightwood Oak in the New Forest is stated to be the largest and oldest oak in all England. New Forest ponies are a small, hardy breed, who wander freely through the forest glades and villages. Viewing points, picnic areas and parking lay-bys are available throughout the forest. Maps of trackways, walks and cycle routes are available from the New Forest Centre.

The New Forest Centre located in the town of Lyndhurst tells the story of the New Forest, its history, traditions, character and wildlife, with audio visual displays. Events and exhibitions run throughout the year.

Opening times: all year daily, from 10am (closed Xmas) Admission Charge - under 16s Free
Location: Main Car Park, High Street, Lyndhurst, SO43 7NY - Tel: 023 8028 3444 - Website
Facilities: Parking (charged), toilets, shop

Portchester Castle

The keep at Porchester Castle

Built in the 3rd C. Portchester is probably the best surviving Roman fort in England. Refortified in medieval times, the castle is renowned as the place in 1415 where Henry V rallied his troops before setting out to do battle in Agincourt.

Opening times: all year, Apr-Sep, daily 10am to 6pm; Oct-Mar, daily 10am to 4pm (closed Xmas)
Admission Charge
Location: Castle Street, Portchester, PO16 9QW - Tel: 02392 378291 - Website
Facilities: Parking, shop

Royal Armouries Fort Nelson

A unique collection of hundreds of guns and cannon, located in a restored Victorian fort overlooking Portsmouth Harbour. Built in the 1860s against a threat of invasion. There are secret tunnels, underground chambers to explore. Daily guided tours and gun firings.

Opening times: all year, Apr-Oct, daily 10-5 (Wed 11-5); Nov-Mar, daily 10.30-4 (Wed 11.30-4) (closed Xmas). Free Entry (charge for special events)
Location: Portsdown Hill Road, Fareham, PO17 6AN - Tel: 01329 233734 - Website
Facilities: Parking, cafe, picnic area, toilets, shop

Sandham Memorial Chapel

A First World War memorial built in the 1920s. The walls of the chapel are covered with paintings by Stanley Spencer of war scenes at Salonica. Run by National Trust*

Opening times: times vary see website for details Admission Charge*
Location: Harts Lane, Burghclere, RG20 9JT - Tel: 01635 278394

Stratfield Saye House

This stately near Reading, has been the seat of the Dukes of Wellington since the nation presented it to the first Duke. His victories over Napoleon are commemorated here, and there are many Napoleonic souvenirs - furniture, books, paintings, even clothes. In the house and the museum outside there is a fascinating collection of Wellington memorabilia, including his false teeth, death mask and locks of hair. One of the most outstanding exhibits is the huge funeral wagon on which his coffin was drawn by 12 horses.

Opening times: 28th Mar - 1st Apr & 25th July - 19th Aug; Weekdays 11.30am to 5pm; Weekends: 10.30am to 5pm Admission Charge
Location: Stratfield Saye, Hampshire, RG7 2BT - Tel: 01256 882694 - Website
Facilities: Parking.

West Green House & Gardens

Charming small English country house, dating from the early 18th C. with a delightful walled garden. Considered to be one of the top gardens to visit in England. Music and opera performances in summer (garden closes early on Opera weekends). Run by National Trust*

Opening times: from early March Sat & Sun then Wed, Thu, Sat, Sun until late Sep, 11am to 4.30pm Admission Charge*
Location: West Green, Hartley Wintney, RG27 8JB - Tel - 01252 844611 Website
Facilities: Parking, restaurant, picnic area (outdoor), shop

Marwell Wildlife Park

A 140 acre Zoo, with over 250 exotic and endangered species, within landscaped surroundings. Includes adventure playground, Encounter Village, picnic area, plus 16th and 17th century style formal gardens.

Opening times: Open every day (except Xmas) from 10am Admission Charge
Location: Thompsons Lane, Colden Common, Winchester, Hampshire, SO21 1JH - Website

The Vyne

A Tudor house built by William, 1st Lord Sandys (Lord Chamberlain to Henry VlII) from 1500 to 1520. The Vyne was the first English country house to acquire a portico (1654). In the mid-eighteenth century the Tudor stone hall and staircase were rebuilt in the classical manner. The Tudor chapel, with carved stalls and quite exceptionally fine stained glass, remains unchanged. Surrounded by beautiful lawns, herbaceous borders and a lake. Run by National Trust*

Opening times: time vary see website for details Admission Charge*
Location: Vyne Road, Sherborne St John, Basingstoke, RG24 9HL - Tel: 01256 883858 - Website
Facilities: Parking, restaurant, picnic area, shop, toilets.

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