Choosing a place to visit which is guaranteed to appeal to all members of the family – young and old alike – can be tricky at times. Luckily though, there are a number of tourist attractions in the South East that do just that… destinations which have not only beautiful gardens but also fascinating exhibitions and a museum, activities certain to keep the children amused for hours and much, much more.
Beaulieu in Hampshire is a great example: situated in the delightful countryside of the New Forest and close to the Beaulieu River, there really is plenty to see and do at one of my favourite places in the South East. Of course the Motor Museum is one of the main attractions providing an excellent tour of discovery from the earliest vehicles to the modern cars of today. One of my favourite cars is the vehicle that was used in the 1960s film, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The car was made especially for the film but was inspired by a racing car from the 1920s. With its’ memorable GEN 11 number plate, a pristine silver bonnet and wooden panelling it’s not difficult to imagine yourself taking a drive and then waiting for the magic to begin… the car opens its’ wings and starts to fly. I can dream….
One way of getting a similar experience in the air is to take a ride on the monorail – great fun for small and big kids alike.
Even if you are not a particular fan of motor cars (like me, in fact) I am confident that you will enjoy this superb collection. However there are several other reasons to visit.
During my most recent trip to Beaulieu, I took the opportunity to explore the charming Victorian Palace House and the gorgeous gardens. My visit was on a sunny spring day but in truth the grounds look magnificent in all seasons.
The Palace House itself has been home to the Montagu family since 1538 but was significantly remodelled during the 1800s making it a fine example of a traditional Victorian country property. The house is recognised as one of the Ten Treasure Houses of England and is a must-see. There are events held throughout the summer, simply go to their website for more information.
Talking of gardens, another very special place in the South East is Wakehurst, Ardingly in West Sussex. Set in 400 acres of countryside, Wakehurst has some of the country’s best botanical gardens that you’ll love spending time walking through to admire the spectacular displays of colour throughout the year. But Wakehurst has another important role to play: conservation, as it is the home of the Millenium Seed Bank established in 2000 to provide an “insurance policy” against the extinction of the world’s plants. The objective is to conserve 25% of the global seed species by 2020, having already achieved the 10% mark in 2009.
My final choice this month is also located in West Sussex: the opulent grounds of the Goodwood Estate. Fans of motor racing are likely to be very familiar with the Goodwood Estate as it is the home of both the Festival of Speed (next held in June 2017) and the famous Goodwood Revival that returns in September and is a race meeting with a difference as it is staged entirely in period dress. If you prefer your racing to be of another kind – this time with four legs, rather than four wheels – then Goodwood is the perfect spot! There is horse racing throughout the year including the recent Goodwood Festival. The views from the stands are outstanding and even if you don’t fancy a flutter in the betting ring, it’s still a great evening out.
Enjoy the summer holidays!
Blog written by Simon Frost of Hibou Communication