New Forest Historic Country Houses

08 April 2019

The New Forest contains many impressive historic houses. Step back in time and discover what went on centuries ago…

Breamore House

Breamore House is located just a couple of miles north of Fordingbridge and is a lovely example of a red brick Elizabethan Manor House.

The house was completed in 1583, supervised by William Dodington who had bought the manor a few years earlier and today, remains in the Hulse family.

The house is open to visitors but do check the timings below. You can delve into the fascinating history of this property, with many of the interiors still in the same style as they were originally created.

As a visitor you can enjoy viewing the paintings and tapestries as well as The Great Hall. Explore the Countryside Museum that sits alongside the main house and enjoy full size replicas of numerous trades and crafts including a blacksmith, village shop, school and dairy etc. The museum boasts one of the finest collections of steam powered farm machinery, tractors, barn machinery and historical tools. 

Breamore House has been used over the years as a film and TV location and stars in ‘Children of the New Forest’.

Braemore House Opening times:-

March - Easter Weekend

April - Easter Monday, Tuesday and Sunday

May – September - Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays

October - Tuesdays and Sundays

Braemore House - 2.00pm - 5.00pm Guided tours only. Last tour 4.00pm

Countryside Museum - 1.00pm - 5.30pm

Tea Rooms - 12.00pm - 5.30pm


Palace House at Beaulieu

Palace House, Beaulieu

Originally part of Beaulieu Abbey, the house has developed over the centuries to become the family home of the Montagu family. Today, it’s a fine example of a Victorian-styled stately home. Visitors young and old will enjoy learning about the Victorian kitchen, with cookery demonstrations often taking place during the school holiday.

Within Palace House you will find fine furnishings, fan vaulted ceilings and treasures collected by past and present members of the family.

The house was granted to Thomas Wriothesley (who later became the 1st Earl of Southampton) by Henry Vlll at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Look out for trails for children during the school holidays and be sure to make time to explore the extensive grounds and gardens that surround Palace House.

Beaulieu has a bit of something for everyone; an informal, homely mansion built upon the ruins of a medieval abbey, and the world famous National Motor Museum. At the centre of the estate is Beaulieu Palace House, which began as the 14th-century Great Gatehouse of Beaulieu Abbey.

Keep an eye out for the regular events that take place at Beaulieu as well including concerts, fireworks and family activities.

Beaulieu Opening Hours

Beaulieu is open every day of the year except Christmas Day.

Winter Opening Hours - 10am - 5pm (24 Sept - 24 May)

Summer Opening Hours - 10am - 6pm (25 May - 22 Sept)

Highcliffe Castle

Highcliffe Castle

Highcliffe Castle has been described as one of the most important surviving house of the Romantic and Picturesque style of architecture, which flourished at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century.

It is located just four miles from Christchurch, on the cliff top and offers stunning views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight and is a popular choice for weddings and events.

Visitors can book onto a guided tour led by one of the castle’s volunteers for a fascinating insight into the history of the building.


Exbury Gardens

Sundial Garden at Exbury Gardens

Exbury Gardens is a famous garden in Hampshire, England, which belongs to a branch of the Rothschild family. It is situated in the village of Exbury, just to the east of Beaulieu across the river from Bucklers Hard.

Lionel Nathan de Rothschild purchased the Exbury estate in 1919 and soon set to creating a garden on an ambitious scale.

The infrastructure included a water tower, three large concrete lined ponds, and 22 miles (35 km) of underground piping.

Exbury Garden’s spectacular 200-acre site is now open to the public for most of the year, with high seasons in the spring for the flowering shrubs and the autumn for the autumn colour.

Exbury is renowned for its great rhododendron and azalea garden. The gardens also include a Daffodil Meadow, Exotic Garden and Herbaceous Garden. There is a popular narrow gauge steam railway that takes visitors round the northeast corner of the gardens.

Exbury Gardens Opening times:-

Gardens - 10am - 5.30pm (last entry 4.30pm)

Gift shop - 10am - 5pm

Railway - 12pm - 3.30pm (last train 3pm)

Mr Eddy's Restaurant - 9am - 5pm

Rhinefield House

Rhinefield House

Rhinefield House is a stunning country house hotel set in forty acres of peaceful and secluded gardens in the heart of the New Forest.

If you don’t want to stay the night then you can wander around the grounds; enjoy a meal or use the leisure club facilities. The leisure facilities are excellent and include a gym, treatment rooms, indoor and outdoor swimming pools for you to relax and indulge yourself.

Guests can dine al fresco on the terrace overlooking the ornamental ponds and gardens or choose from either the award-winning 2 rosette Armada Restaurant or The Grill Room, offering contemporary dining in stylish surroundings with stunning views.

For that extra special dining experience you can even hire the private dining Alhambra Room – a breathtaking copy from the Alhambra Palace in Granada, recreated here by Mabel Walker-Munro as a present for her husband. 

Use Shamba as a base for your visits

Shamba Holidays makes an excellent base for travelling further afield to visit historic houses.

In Salisbury, you will find the National Trust Queen-Anne-style, Mompesson House with its small courtyard garden set within the historic Cathedral Close.

At nearby Romsey, Broadlands, home of the Mountbatten family, visitors can join onto a guided tour of the stately home. Just up the road you will also find the beautiful Mottisfont Abbey and Gardens, owned by the National Trust.

Kingston Lacy is another stately home with extensive gardens that can be found near to Wimborne Minster.