14th March 2010 at 5:10 am

Off to the New Forest

I decided to book a few nights in a hotel in the New Forest this weekend. I’m staying in Lyndhurst – a nice town that desperately needs a by-pass.

Titchfield Abbey

On my way I made a couple of stops – first at Titchfield Abbey and then in Southampton.

Southampton was mainly to to visit the Apple Store and for lunch – I had a walk around the city centre and then made the mistake of visiting the Ikea store. The last time I visited one was nearly 20 years ago and it wasn’t a pleasant experience. As usual there is a maze to navigate between the entrance and exit, but at Southampton they go one step further. You have to navigate a series of external travelators to ascend to the forth floor before you can even enter the maze. I got out as quickly as I could and learned my lesson.

After that, headed to Beaulieu. I’m pretty sure I visited before in the seventies as part of a school trip, but I have no real memories. As well as the Motor Museum they have two themed attractions, Top Gear and James Bond. Both these attractions are very good. The James Bond attraction has a comprehension collection of the original cars and other artefacts. The Top Gear section include most of the cars from the special editions plus a behind the scene video.

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I did attempt to take a ride on the monorail that runs around the grounds, but it is built for midgets – I had to bend my head at 45 degrees when I was seated so I would have struggled to see anything.

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I spent 3 hours there which was just enough time to see everything.

Well worth a visit but let down by a very poor restaurant. The are refurbishing but that is no excuse for such poor quality. I only had a hot chocolate drink – and they managed to mess that up (cold, weak and not to sure about their hygiene either – the steam jet that they used to “heat” the milk and chocolate powder mix was caked with the residue of previous drinks. I saw lots of food that had been left by others that was barely touched.