Petrolheads, historians and ghost-hunters gravitate to Beaulieu (bew-lee) – a vintage car museum, stately home and tourist complex centred on a 13th-century Cistercian monastery. Motor-maniacs will be in raptures at Lord Montague's National Motor Museum. Tickets are valid for a year; it's up to £5 cheaper to buy in advance, online. Beaulieu is served by the New Forest Tour.

The abbey at the heart of modern-day Beaulieu was a key one. After Henry VIII's monastic land-grab of 1536, it fell to the ancestors of the current proprietors, the Montague family. Today the motor museum presents a splendid collection that spans early classics, F1 cars and jet-powered land-speed record-breakers including Bluebird, which broke the 403mph (649km/h) limit in 1964. Celebrity wheels include those driven by James Bond, Harry Potter and Mr Bean.

Beaulieu's grand but homely palace began life as a 14th-century Gothic abbey gatehouse, and received a 19th-century Scottish baronial makeover from Baron Montague in the 1860s. Listen out for eerie Gregorian chanting – the abbey is supposedly one of England's most haunted buildings.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

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