Beaulieu was the wartime finishing school for SOE, where secret agents learned vital espionage skills before embarking on dangerous missions. During May half-term, start your own fast-track secret agent training, inspired by tasks tackled by the real-life agents, and meet wartime characters as you explore the Beaulieu attraction.
Collect your Training Manual and adopt an authentic agent training name, before following your map to try out disguises, test skills of observation and problem-solving, use codes to decipher secret messages, learn about rationing and graduate as a fully-trained SOE agent. Be on the lookout for double-agents . . . they could be anywhere.
In the National Motor Museum, obtain vital information by talking to the garage mechanic, then see wartime vehicles being driven around the attraction as you find secret messages and locate the site of a parachute drop. Discover the astonishing true stories of the agents who trained at Beaulieu in the Secret Army Exhibition.
Head to Beaulieu Abbey – following clues and uncovering hidden messages – then watch amazing falconry demonstrations in the Abbey Cloister and on the lawns of Palace House, as Lord Montagu’s falconer explains the role of this ancient practice during World War II.
Make contact with your Commanding Officer in the SOE headquarters at Palace House, learning more about covert espionage methods and inspecting household items that hold remarkable secrets. Learn to see through deceptive disguises, then try on 1940s-themed clothing to hide your own identity for a photo opportunity. Talk to Lord Montagu’s cook about wartime rationing and how secret agents and civilians would have lived off the land.
For the whole of May half-term, families can enjoy letting off steam in Beaulieu’s enchanting new adventure play area Little Beaulieu. Let your imagination run wild as you storm up the bridge of the magical wooden palace, which draws on the heritage of Palace House and Beaulieu Abbey.
The fun fantasy play area is crammed with quirky features and secret passageways to discover. Peek out from behind portraits and crawl through a trick bookcase to explore every nook and cranny, from his Lordship’s library up to the clock tower lookout and turrets. Climb up the climbing wall and don’t get in a tangle as you tackle the tricky rope maze room. Then crawl through 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.
Play continues inside the National Motor Museum with new fun-filled exhibition Motoring in Miniature – the Toys of Your Childhood. From tin plate and wooden toys to die-cast and slot cars, the whole family can share memories. See pull-alongs and pedal cars, radio control cars and scale models, then spot familiar jigsaws, board games and computer games.
May half-term activities are included in a general admission ticket, along with play in Little Beaulieu for family fun all together. Tickets can be bought in advance online. For tickets and details click here or call 01590 612345.