In the middle of the New Forest, a heath landscape with free-roaming horses, is the village of Beaulieu and the seat of the Earl Montagu of Beaulieu, who built a kind of museum leisure park on his estate around Palace House and the former Beaulieu Abbey. The most famous attraction is the National Motor Museum, a museum very similar to the two large car museums in the city of Stuttgart. In addition, there is a monorail that also leads through the museum, as well as the World of Top Gear, which we will turn to later.
We start our tour of Beaulieu with Beaulieu Abbey, whose French monks gave the place its name. The abbey is famous for its large tapestries, all of which can be admired in one hall. The rest of the monastery must be partly imagined, unfortunately there is not much left.
The next stop is the Spy Museum in front of Palace House. Here in Beaulieu was a training centre during the Second World War – absolutely secret, of course. Meanwhile, in the Palace House behind, guided tours with butler and maid take place. The house is really fancy, I can tell you that, and there is also a secret staircase.
The National Motor Museum is quite well designed and has a large number of exhibits. In this respect, it is not necessarily different from other car museums, but what makes the museum in Beaulieu special is its dark ride Wheels. Very similar to the Spirit of London dark ride at Madame Tussauds London, the Mack Rides dark ride takes you through numerous scenes and is available in French and German on request. Real cars can be seen again in the On Screen Cars exhibition, such as the Ford Anglia from Harry Potter.
If you want to take a ride with The Stig or pay homage to the British engineering skills of Hammond, May and Clarkson, the World of Top Gear is the place to go. Although they also cover the subsequent seasons with Matt LeBlank & Co, it’s primarily about the three guys at Amazon when they were still at the BBC. Who knows, maybe there will soon be the World of Grand Tour, enough interesting vehicles have already been built in the current seasons, although my favourite is still the car train. And the episode should be topped first.
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