If you’re a small or big kid, let your imagination run wild as you storm up the bridge of Little Beaulieu’s magical wooden palace, which draws on the heritage of Lord Montagu’s ancestral home of Palace House and Beaulieu Abbey. The fun fantasy play area is crammed with quirky features to try out and secret passageways to discover.
Slide through grand fireplaces, peek out from behind portraits and crawl through a trick bookcase to explore every nook and cranny of the characterful palace, from his Lordship’s library up to the clock tower lookout and turrets. Keep your eyes peeled for the secret staircase and change the time on the old-style clock faces, then take the easy way down through a giant spiral tube slide or fireman’s pole.
Let off steam on the epic climbing wall or for a brain-teaser, match up pairs of pictures in a giant wooden game. Don’t get in a tangle as you tackle the tricky rope maze room, then follow the treetop boardwalk to the observation tower to get a bird’s-eye view as the ‘Skytrain’ monorail rumbles past.
Crawl under a garden hedge in a secret tunnel and feel the wind in your hair as you ride along the zip wire on your marvellous day out. The roadway in the grounds of the National Motor Museum will keep you on track, as you get behind the wheel of a wooden car. Feeling strong? Hang around on the swing bar rings, leap over log hurdles and make sure to keep your balance on the stepping stones and balance beams.
Younger tots will have their own zone of Little Beaulieu, packed with a sand pit for excavations and the wooden play bus, impressively modelled on Beaulieu’s Veteran Bus which drives visitors around one of the south’s leading visitor attractions in the heart of the New Forest.
Then when you are all played out, settle down in a family-friendly seating area for a picnic from the cafe. Have a sneaky cuppa and slice of cake or choose from a range of snacks, light bites, drinks and ice creams. What better way to end a perfect day out?
Packed with hands-on activities, Little Beaulieu is inspired by the real history of the unique site and its architectural features. From the charming towers and half-timbered entrances that reflect Palace House to the arches of the abbey ruins, this is not your typical adventure play area.
Little Beaulieu is being brought to life by industry-leading adventure play area designers and builders CAP.Co Adventure Play, whose ingenious past projects have included builds for fellow Treasure Houses of England, Castle Howard and Leeds Castle – as well as the creation of an intimate wooden stage for Glastonbury Festival.
While Beaulieu’s play area will be closed until early 2020 as construction takes place, families can still enjoy the high-level Skytrain, World of Top Gear, On Screen Cars and the National Motor Museum with its collection over 250 historic vehicles, Palace House, the Secret Army exhibition, Beaulieu Abbey and its gardens and grounds. From early 2020, a standard admission ticket to Beaulieu will include entry to Little Beaulieu. For tickets and details click here.