Beaulieu: Sunshine, Gardens and Cars Galore

Beaulieu: Sunshine, Gardens and Cars Galore

July was the month we were all waiting for. Lockdown restrictions easing meant the travel & leisure industry could start to pick things up again. The pro of that being us avid travellers could start making plans to fill our weekends – within reason and following the Government guidelines. This led to me wanting to return to a place I haven’t been to since 2011. Beaulieu National Motor Museum.

If you are based down South, especially within the Hampshire/Dorset area, you may be aware of Beaulieu. Known for being the home of the Montagu family and houses a very impressive collection of cars, both old and new. Some people may not feel like Beaulieu is on their list of places to visit because they have a lack of interest in cars. I concur as it’s more than just the motor museum.

Note: You don’t need to wear a mask when visiting Beaulieu. All staff had face coverings and kept their distance from guests. Honestly, with the capped capacity, it almost felt a bit like normal despite the social distancing measures in place.

So what else is there to see and do?

Beaulieu Palace House

One of the standout attractions at Beaulieu is the beautiful Beaulieu Palace House, home to the Montague family. Anybody who loves stately homes will adore this. The building itself has some stunning gothic architecture, overlooking the Beaulieu river millpond and vast Garden area. With the new Government guidelines, they have implemented a new one-way system which worked really well. Certain rooms with public access were restricted to one household (due to entry and exit being via the same door).

The staff were happy to help answer questions about the home and provide some interesting facts. Most of the artwork, paintings and needlework on display in the house has been created by Lord Montagu’s mother, Belinda. I do enjoy walking around a stately home and seeing history unfold as you walk through the different rooms. Sometimes I wonder what it must be like to live in such a grand place as your home.

Beaulieu Abbey Ruins

Am I the only person that loves wandering around some ruins? Not only is it the perfect way to take some creative photographs but discovering the history surrounding them makes it more fascinating. The 800-year-old Abbey has an interesting history behind it including being the home to monks, a falconry, destroyed by Henry VIII in 1538 and so much more.

Not only do you have the Abbey ruins, there is a working Parish Church (closed during our visit) and one of the buildings decked out as an entertainment venue for weddings etc. I can see why many people would want to get married here – the setting is just too perfect! So make sure to walk down towards the Abbey ruins and explore this area.

Beaulieu Gardens

As you make your way towards the bottom end of the grounds, there are some beautifully stunning gardens to enjoy. Photographers will enjoy spending time taking photos here – especially when playing around with manual mode like myself. A nice feature in the gardens which I haven’t seen before was a topiary set-up to Alice in Wonderland, based off the original book by Lewis Carroll. It’s a nice way to break up the day as you take in the flowers, fauna and see the monorail going past above you.

Lots of Vroom from the past and present…

Motor Museum

Most people will know Beaulieu for its extensive collection of classic cars, motorbikes and more – there’s at least 280 different models. Most cars within the motor museum are part of the main Montagu collection however there have been many donations over the years. Once again there was a one-way system in place so guests can maintain social distancing. The museum is fairly sizeable therefore you won’t feel concerned about getting close to other households. Before you enter the museum, you are also given the option to use the hand sanitizer provided.

Once inside, you can follow the whole museum round, exploring the many different types of cars on show. My main focus and fascination here has always been with F1, Le Mans etc. since my brother and dad are into their motorsports! There were some new additions for this year including The Bear motorbike that’s been ridden around the world. A great way to spend a couple of hours seeing the different cars throughout history – it’s amazing how much cars have changed.

World of Top Gear

Top Gear is well known amongst motor enthusiasts. At Beaulieu, you have the opportunity to see some of the most notable creations from the show from both the old series with Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May and the new series with Matt LeBlanc, Paddy McGuinness, Chris Harris etc. I may not be a die hard fan of the show but it’s actually cool seeing the cars featured here – some are the actual cars from the TV series. You’ll also have the chance to see The Stig too. As per the new rules and regulations at the moment, select ‘selfie spots’ are closed off to the public.

On Screen Cars

Famous cars from some of your favourite movies and TV shows are also featured here at Beaulieu. This include Mr. Beans, Only Fools & Horses Van, the Ford Anglia from Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets plus many more. It’s nice to have this feature here as it provides a nice bit of nostalgia. Whilst this is only a small area next to the World of Top Gear, it’s worth having a little wander inside. Again, as per Government guidelines, this is also a one-way system.

Other attractions that I haven’t mentioned above include:

Monorail

The monorail that takes you from the entrance area near World of Top Gear down towards the Gardens/Palace House. There are normally 2 monorail stations so you have the opportunity to get off at each stop however due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, they’ve closed off one station therefore you take one lap around the grounds. A quick 10 minute journey that is perfect for the whole family.

Little Beaulieu

New for 2020, this play area has been created for the whole family to let off steam. What is great is that the architecture has been inspired by the real history of the Beaulieu area, including a nod to the Palace House and Beaulieu Abbey. The whole area looks great and features a perfect sitting area for adults to keep an eye on their little ones. Unfortunately the site was closed during our visit but Beaulieu are making plans to get the area ready to re-open under the new Government guidelines. Keep updated on the Beaulieu website.

Have you visited Beaulieu?

What is your favourite attraction here?

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Room on the Broom – A Magical Journey | Review

Room on the Broom – A Magical Journey | Review

room on the broom reviewRoom on the Broom: A Magical Journey is now officially open at Chessington World of Adventures. And so kickstarts the 2019 season for the park! The attraction is based on the children’s book, Room on the Broom, written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. Some of you may recognise their work from the Gruffalo children’s book. Let’s not forget the Gruffalo River Ride Adventure that opened at the park in 2017.

room on the broom reviewRoom on the Broom: A Magical Journey entrance signroom on the broom entrance to rattractionroom on the broom paintingHaving had the chance to experience Gruffalo last year, I was very excited to see what was in store for Room on the Broom. Since Hocus Pocus Hall closed in September last year, I knew it was about time this needed a fresh new look. It looked tired and in dire need of some love and TLC. Especially with the removal of the 3D glasses. It wasn’t long before Chessington announced that the Hocus Pocus Hall was ‘up for sale’. Everyone was eager to find out who the new buyer was? And so, Room on the Broom: A Magical Journey was born.

Room on the Broom: A Magical Journeyroom on the broom by julia donaldson and axel schefflerRoom on the Broom: A Magical JourneyI was kindly invited by Chessington Buzz to join them at the media event on Saturday 9th March. We would be one of the first to experience the new attraction. I was eager to see the changes that have been made. And slightly curious as to how Merlin Magic Making were going to bring this story come to life. The Gruffalo River Ride Adventure turned into a real success so I knew we’d be in for something special. Spoilers ahead from this point on…

projection mapping on bookcaseRoom on the Broom: A Magical JourneyRoom on the Broom: A Magical JourneyAt first glance to the exterior of the building, you might not notice many changes. To the left of the entrance is the extended queueline that has been specifically made for this new IP. It’s very much needed as the original queue line was tiny! There’s also your standard Picsolve photo opportunity building. A necessity to any attraction, right? The main entrance sign looked very cute. I loved the witch’s broom hanging out of the window above here. As if to suggest that the witch crash landed into the building.

magical bookcase opens up for guestsRoom on the Broom: A Magical JourneyRoom on the Broom: A Magical Journeyjump up and down to find witch's hat in bookFirst thing to note is that this attraction is wheelchair friendly. Everyone can experience the new Room on the Broom attraction which is amazing. Andy Porter from Merlin Magic Making escorted through the attraction. He gave us some great insight into the attraction and how this concept came to life. It’d been completely repainted inside. The paintings were updated with each of the characters in the Room on the Broom story. Then it was on to the main attraction. Before you is a massive open book along with the witch’s cauldron, brewing away. As the show started, the projection mapping in this first scene was fantastic. It’s aligned so well with the props in the room. The splash/smoke effects were in perfect sync with the projection. This really made it come to life.

Room on the Broom: A Magical Journeybird poking head out of hole in treeRoom on the Broom: A Magical JourneyAs you journey through the building, you’re transported into the story, joining the witch on her journey as she meets an array of characters who catch a ride on her broom – only question is, is there room on the broom? Each scene is captured beautifully well and adds in an extra element of interactivity. From jumping up and down to get the witch’s hat to finding the witch’s bow amongst some hay bales. This interaction is perfect for the kids to be immersed in the story – of course, adults can join in too! Each room has the perfect blend of animatronics, AV effects, lighting, smell canisters. Plus with THAT awesome soundtrack, it really transports you into the Room on the Broom story.

Room on the Broom: A Magical Journeyfrog sat on rocks near pond, with flower in handfrog with magic wand in mouthRoom on the Broom: A Magical JourneyAs you venture towards the end of the attraction, you can tell it starts to become darker and more sinister – especially with a massive dragon shooting smoke/mist out of its mouth. If I were a kid, I would be terrified! The mirror maze is still there which I’m very happy about. It was always been a staple piece as part of Hocus Pocus Hall. But that is not where the story ends… The finale of the Room on the Broom is one that I was not expecting at all. It is incredibly impressive to see Merlin Magic Making create the witch’s brand-new broom with seats for everyone! The music in this scene was so magical, it felt like I had just watched a movie at the cinema.

evil dragon with smokeevil dragonRoom on the Broom: A Magical Journeya witchNot only do you have the witch’s broom animatronic, you’ve also got a real mix of 2D, 3D effects and projection mapping. It follows the same pattern as the first scene with the witch’s cauldron bubbling away. The screen shows each character dropping an item into the cauldron. Then you’ve got the added smoke and water effects which really added to the realism. Chessington and MMM have created an impressive attraction for the whole family. Fantastic job, considering I saw an influx of excited families queuing for this attraction on Annual Passholder Day. This looks to be a huge success for the park.

Room on the Broom: A Magical JourneyRoom on the Broom: A Magical Journey finalewitches cauldronRoom on the Broom: A Magical Journey photo spotAs always, there will be Room on the Broom merch including toys and the books on sale in the Adventure Point Shop. I’m hoping there will be a pin badge for us avid collectors – hint hint! Room on the Broom: A Magical Journey was impressive. I’ll definitely revisit this on my next few visits to Chessington. Whilst there are a few things that need finishing including theming and the automation of the shows (which MMM are doing as we speak), I’m sure this will become a staple to any visit to Chessington if you have young children with you.

That’s all for now!

Lottie xoxo