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A Visit to Beaulieu Auto Museum

“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. 

The entrance to the Beaulieu is expansive and has several cars on display

We got to see the real Chitty Chitty Bang Bang—From left to right: Honour, Connor, and Scott

A stunning Bugatti

A lovely blower Bentley

You know you are old when you see a Golf GTI in a museum….

A nice Series 1 Land Rover

A taste of the industrial architecture of the museum

An excellent selection of important motorcycles

A great display of motorcycle memorabilia

A beautiful Auburn

Even America was represented….


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5 Responses to A Visit to Beaulieu Auto Museum

  1. Michelle H Rand February 13, 2020 at 9:38 pm #

    Jack Tucker’s Garage is worth the price of admission alone. My husband and I like to go in, listen to the sounds of the garage (on a soundtrack), go out, then go in again to make the soundtrack start again. Too much fun. Philip forgot to mention that the gift store has great car books.

  2. Bob Kahrl February 13, 2020 at 2:27 pm #

    It turns out that Silversea has posted a number of cruises in 2021 that originate or end at Southampton, one of which includes three nights in St. Petersburg. That’s perfect for us.

  3. Bob Kahrl February 13, 2020 at 2:12 pm #

    This is a great piece of information. I am inspired to plan a trip to see this place and surrounding area! Thank you.

  4. Mark February 13, 2020 at 7:49 am #


    Yes, great place. I visited again during travels to Goodwood.

    But I am not seeing pics of their very interesting repair shop dioramas, also good experiences for the visitor. If you go, plan your trip around a special event, like an auto jumble. More great sights are are offered.

  5. Somer February 13, 2020 at 7:34 am #

    Somehow English museums seem to cram stuff in tight. Same at National Motorcycle Museum. Hard to get dental floss in between vehicles! I like to be able to walk around and study each display.