Pretty as a picture and steeped in history, the New Forest village of Beaulieu (meaning “beautiful place”) continues to charm all those who visit.
Surrounded by leafy acres and sleepy meadows, this delightful corner of Hampshire is characterised by its quiet cobbled streets, chocolate box cottages, sun-dappled glebes and lavender-scented tea gardens - hallmarks of a bygone era.
The Beaulieu River flows past the village on its way to the Solent seawater and once drove the cogs and grinders of the old tide mill. This stretch of the river is negotiable to small craft as it wends its way to the neighbouring hamlet of Buckler’s Hard, part of the Beaulieu Estate and once famous for its shipwright enterprises which included the building of Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson’s most-favoured gun boat, HMS Agamemnon. These now peaceful surroundings provide the perfect setting for a leisurely stroll or riverside picnic, and nowhere more so than the large, tree-lined mill pond at the head of Beaulieu.
Holidays in Beaulieu can be spent enjoying a range of outdoor activities, from rambling, mountain biking and pony trekking, to archery, canoeing and kayaking. If you’re in the mood for something a little more sedate, take a stroll along the gentle sloping high street where you’ll discover traditional merchants and artisan shops, tearooms, delicatessens and olde worlde inns.
Aside from the resident donkeys who can often be seen idling on the village green, Beaulieu is also a popular haunt for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts, all keen to catch a glimpse of such species as the Dartford warbler and the European honey buzzard.
Other local attractions include Palace House, one of the ‘Treasure Houses of England’, an impressive Victorian country house with an ecclesiastical heritage, Exbury Gardens, a spectacular 200-acre garden famous for its collections of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, rare trees and shrubs, Beaulieu Abbey, Buckler’s Hard Maritime Museum, where you’ll learn all about the vessels built for Nelson’s Armada and be able to take a tranquil river tour, and the National Motor Museum, where you’ll find more than 250 vintage and classic motorcars including the legendry land speed record holders Bluebird and Golden Arrow, plus special exhibitions and events from James Bond to Top Gear.
Beaulieu Road railway station is on the London-Weymouth main line and provides regular carriages. There are frequent buses to Hythe and Lymington, and during the summer months the popular New Forest open-top tour bus is also in operation.
Take a look at some of our gorgeous holiday cottages in Beaulieu and start planning your New Forest getaway.
As if the name itself wasn’t intriguing enough, Fuzzacker Guided Walks are named after the local word for the Dartford Warbler which dodges around in the gorse bushes of the New Forest. So duck, dive and explore on their guided walks around this beautiful part of the world, taking in the New Forest with the added benefit of local knowledge and a passion for the conservation of the area.
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Based in the pretty village of Beaulieu, New Forest Activities are a company offering instructor led, fun filled outdoor activities suitable for all ages and abilities.Take a canoe (seats for wheelchair users available) or kayak tour along the beautiful Beaulieu River, home to rare birds and wildlife, or hire bikes for all the family to explore the 100 miles of scenic cycle routes. Try your hand at archery, swing from the trees on the centre’s exciting Ropes Courses, forage for wild food or learn about the history of the area on a guided walking tour.
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Paddle boarding was amazing, the guide/staff was excellent couldn't recommned enough. Enjoy the views and learn a new hobby
Formerly the gatehouse of the medieval Beaulieu abbey, Palace House has been part of the Montagu family since 1538 and retains its spectacular medieval style. On the banks of the Beaulieu River surrounded by the beauty of the New Forest, this historic country house is filled with historic treasures and memorabilia to discover as you wander around the house and gardens.
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Very enjoyable and interesting house.
Enjoyed. Staff very friendly
Voted best large visitor attraction 2013 by VisitBritain, this is much more than just a Motor Museum, as well as telling the fascinating story of motoring through the ages, it also boasts the historic Beaulieu Abbey, and charming Palace House with its glorious gardens.
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A great day out for all the family. We spent all day here and would visit again.
Incredible place, well worth a visit (especially if you have a car-mad kid or two!). Really good day out- we did ours the same day as one of their Special days (Alfa day) which was good.
A good day out - even if you do not like cars! Our grandson particularly enjoyed the museum and the 'Top Gear' attraction. The remains of the Abbey are worth seeing and one can dress up as a monk! Our favourite attraction was the demonstration of falconry - absolutely fascinating and we learnt a great deal about the birds and the history of falconry.
Such a great day out! Museum is facinating and interactive. Combined with the beautiful Palace House this is a must do attraction.
Fantastic day out for any car enthusiasts
Fishing is a popular pastime in the New Forest, and at Hatchet Pond Course Fishing, open seasonally, it’s your chance to fish for Roach, Bream, Tench, Carp, Pike, Pearch, Eels and Rudd. You can buy day or weekly tickets from £7.25 a day. Turn up and enjoy in peace and quiet.
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Near the top of Beaulieu's idyllic High Street, Steff's Kitchen is attached to the bustling Fairweather's Garden Centre. A diverse selection of food, from cupcakes and good coffee to cooked breakfasts, sandwiches and salads. All produce is locally sourced, with many ingredients coming from Partick's Patch, a vegetable garden opposite the café that you can stroll around.
Steffs Kitchen (T: 01590 614951)
Absolutely love this place. Enjoyed coffee scones and went back the next day for a lovely brunch.
Unfortunately they had run out of scones but otherwise it is a good place for tea and cakes etc.
A lovely tea room located in the centre of Beaulieu village. Old Bakehouse serves a range of light bites, delicious cakes and great coffee. A perfect stop for a spot of lunch.
Old Bake House (T: 01590 612777) Beaulieu,SO42 7YA
Nice cup of tea - could do with some fans or air-conditioning as rather warm
Here you’ll find both a welcoming gastro pub, Montys Inn, serving classic English favourites; and also ‘The Terrace’ restaurant, one of best fine dining restaurants in the area. Whichever you choose the menus won’t disappoint, with the chefs making good used of the excellent fresh, local and seasonal produce.
The Montagu Arms (T: 01590 612324) Beaulieu SO42 7ZL
A wonderful place to eat and socialise - lovely garden where we enjoyed afternoon tea. However the length of time it took to serve us was unacceptable.
A traditional New Forest pub with roaring fires in winter and with a large pub garden for the warmer months complete with children’s play area. Well known locally for serving up outstanding food at reasonable prices along with a good selection of real ales and other drinks. Dogs welcome.
The Turfcutters Arms (T: 01590 612331) East Boldre SO42 7WL
Great pub, friendly staff and in the heart of the New Forest. Make sure you plan a visit and enjoy the garden, food and a few drinks
This is a lovely pub! The staff are very friendly, food is good honest pub food, with some lovely 'specials' available too. Very dog friendly!!! A must visit for anyone staying close by! Will visit again next time we're in the area.
We had a lovely evening meal at the Turfcutters - proper home made food in a real country inn - brilliant!
Great dog friendly pub. Staff / landlord were super accommodating and lovely atmosphere at weekend. Fish and chip takeaway was excellent value along with the other food on the menu.
Excellent food a great pub and helpful staff.
A good honest pub with good cider and a good range of meals on offer.
A lovely 'local' with good food, great selection of ales and a friendly owner / manager and staff. They even had dog biscuits for our hound!
What a gem of a pub! Lovely people, lovely food!
We ate here on our first night in the New Forest. We booked in advance but it was not too busy. The menu is typical pub food but of a good standard. The vegetarian 'Homity' pie was appreciated by one of our party. Staff were friendly. The pub is an easy walk from the cottage.
Was disappointed with the food and the lack of customer service behind the bar! Will not be going back!
Located on the outskirts of Beaulieu, this cosy pub is a welcoming stop off for walkers, cyclists, families and horse riders. With plenty of comfortable seating, roaring fires, sunny garden and lots of choice on the menu, this is a great spot for an enjoyable holiday meal or a few well-earned drinks at the bar. Children, dogs and muddy boots welcome.
The Royal Oak (T: 01590 612228) Hilltop, Beaulieu SO42 7YR
Excellent food and atmosphere - drinks very expensive though and 10% service charge added
A beautiful shingle beach with pretty painted beach huts, plenty of parking, and excellent coastal walks along Hurst spit to Hurst Castle with clear views of the Isle of Wight and needles. The superb Raft Rocks Restaurant is worth a visit with its Art deco style and roof terrace. You can also walk across the wildlife marshes to Keyhaven harbour and (in season) take the boat to Hurst Castle or the Isle of Wight.
Lovely village, plenty of shops and places to eat - no post office though.
Fantastic sea location with goods pubs, shops etc
Great for a dog walk along the spit to Hurst Castle. Needles Eye cafe is a welcome break, quite good food but very busy and a bit basic.
great walking area, small cafe-the needles, children climbing play park- crashing waves over stoned beach
Love Milford on Sea so old fashioned hasn't changed much since I use go as a child in the 1960/70s
Due to my husband breaking his leg we hired a mobility scooter for our holiday. It was a joy to ride along the front at Milford. Wonderful views of The Needles and lots of benches along the way too. Great access from the car parks. Would be great if the short path from Milford to Keyhaven could be the same good surface. We felt the rough stones would be too hard to ride on.
A stony beach with sandy areas as the tide goes out, and a great spot to do some fossil hunting. The cliffs are subject to considerable coastal erosion and at times parts of the beach can be cordoned off. The Beachcomber Café on the cliff top is one of the most popular cafés in the region. Plenty of parking in car parks along the cliff top as well as on-road parking.
Super walk, nice and easy and great place for a meal or tea and cake by the car park.
A picturesque, tree-lined beach of shingle, and sand at low tide. Good facilities on the cliff top including an excellent tea room, award winning public toilets, baby change and a children’s play area in the Castle gardens. Plenty of parking, but there is no disabled access and quite a few steps to get down to the beach. Lifeguard cover from July to Sept. No dogs allowed.
Lovely clean sandy beach and a really i would highly recommend this spot for your car to break down takes the ouch out of waiting for the recovery truck
This is one of the most scenic of New Forest beaches. Lined with some of the most picturesque and expensive beach huts in the country! There’s no parking next to the beach, as it’s a traffic-free zone, but there’s pay and display parking at Hengistbury Head from where you can catch a little train to the sandbank, and Mudeford Quay which runs a small ferry (5 mins) over to the sandbank. Can also be reached on foot and by bicycle.
Beautiful place, our favourite beach in south of England. It feels like an island, when you go over on the ferry and at times (off-season!) on sunny days it can feel like a little piece of Heaven, it's so peaceful and beautiful- bit of a sense of New England. There's a super little 'restaurant', the Beach Hut, which does great breakfasts, meals all day and some evenings. Also takeaway eg pizzas, you can eat on the beach. Very simple surroundings, with a sheltered veranda that can be uncovered in fine weather, and amazing views. Quite pricey and often very busy (and you are best to ring and check opening times and book since often weather and ferry-dependant) but the quality of the food and those stunning views make it more than worthwhile!