“From the earliest motor carriages to classic family saloons, the world-famous National Motor Museum has one of the finest collections of cars, motorcycles and motoring memorabilia in the world. From legendary F1 cars and land speed record breakers for the speed freaks, to incredible examples of pioneering motoring for the history-buffs.”
—Beaulieu Auto Museum
During a recent Christmas visit to England in December, Turtle Garage spent an afternoon at the Beaulieu Auto Museum. The museum is in the beautiful New Forest region of the United Kingdom. It is nestled among several other sights on the property, including the Montagu family “Palace House” and the 800-year-old Beaulieu Abbey. While the fantastic 285-car collection is a sight to behold, what is perhaps most interesting about Beaulieu is the experience it bestows upon visitors—the car museum shares the grounds with the medieval ruins of the Abbey and the family Palace that dates back to the 1500s. The ancient surroundings and artifacts put the relative newness of the automotive age into perspective. In contrast to most modern car museums like the Peterson in downtown Los Angeles, what one realizes visiting Beaulieu is how recent the advent the automobile truly is—and how much the motor car has changed the world since the not-so-distant 1880’s. You can learn more about the Beaulieu grounds and all that it has to offer by clicking here.
The industrial architecture of the Beaulieu Museum is impressive. The manner and style in which vehicles are displayed is thoughtful and logical and provides easy access to view or photograph. There are multiple levels, and race cars hover on an angled track suspended over the lower floor. The museum covers a wide span of cars and motorcycles, and there is something for everyone—from modern F1 race cars to 1930’s Bugatti’s to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and even an enormous collection of motorcycles. There is even a mock-up of a garage from the 1930s and is known as Jack Tucker’s Garage. The walk-through display is full of artifacts, tools, parts, and fixtures from a bygone era. It is stunning and accurate—down to the oily odor. The motorcycle display is unusually diverse and comprehensive and well done.
When you are next in England make a point to visit Beaulieu—you won’t be disappointed! Photos below do not do the scale and scope of the museum justice, but they do provide readers an idea of the diversity of the collection. I plan to return and spend several more hours as there was simply too much to absorb in an afternoon visit.