I recently ended a day of touring the New Forest in Hampshire at the most fascinating museum of my entire stay in England. I set out to drive in a circle and visit what I thought would be the most interesting spots. I was amply rewarded from the research I had conducted (although not on every subject). By pure happenstance I decided to drive down from my cosy country cottage in Wiltshire and drive in a clockwise direction. So I took in the sights of Downton (this is not in the New Forest but I wanted to look for the Abbey), Ashurst, Lyndhurst, Brockenhurst (does the suffix, 'hurst' have a meaning?), Lymington and New Milton.
To this point it had been an interesting day but, believe me, it was about to get a whole lot better!
As the youth of today would say, "OMG!" This is a museum of pure beauty and inspiration. Even before I got inside I was feeling positive vibes; the parking is FREE and parked near my Yaris was a beautiful Moto Guzzi Californian – the first I'd ever seen in real life.
From there things just got better. Admission was only £8.50 and provided access to what could be seen as Nirvana. The bikes in here were absolutely amazing. They ranged from the earliest to fairly recent and every one of them looked as if it had just come off the assembly line – or in the case of the older ones from the shed where they were built. I just loved how all the bikes are so wonderfully restored.
One room is set aside for Norton motorcycles. Have you ever seen a Norton with a rotary engine? Other areas of military motorcycles, racing motorcycles and all types of historical motorcycles. They were all just stunning, simply stunning. I was almost in tears as the beauty enveloped me.
There were all colours, types and sizes; they made you want to jump on and go for a run up Brashley Cross Road, come back and take another one out. There was one, however, I wouldn't have taken out – the Moto Guzzi V8. How about that, a 500cc V8 motorcycle; what next?
As I wandered I just couldn't believe my luck on how I had included this museum as 'just another stop' for the day. It is a place of beauty and home to the like of the rare HRDs, DKW and Norton rotaries as well as the sublime Matchless Silver Hawk. All this among many, many more.
I know many of you are rolling your eyes and saying this isn't a place for you, well Sammy Millar's Motorcycle Museum is not just about motorcycles. It is a lovely family place with something for everybody. After my emotional high of the museum I wandered around the site and visited some of the lovely craft shops. There are animals, such as donkeys and llamas included, a petting area and play area for the kids. Finally, I headed over to the Bashley Manor Tearooms for some refreshment and recuperation. I enjoyed a most lovely cream tea and coffee.
This stop proved to be a blessing in disguise - this is explained below.
Once I had enjoyed my cream tea and coffee I left the tearooms for a walk around. Then headed home to my cosy country cottage. That evening I was lying in bed thinking about the wonderful day I had just had and thought of the cream tea. 'What did it cost?' I asked myself; I couldn't remember. I couldn't remember because I hadn't paid for it. That's right, I had done a runner on the tearooms. I hardly slept that night and rang early the next day. "Forget it." a lovely lady said. "But I can't," I replied, "I have to come back and pay you."
Then I realised how fortunate I had been to commit my crime right outside the Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum. Now I have to go back there to pay my restitution.
Shortly thereafter I was paying another tiny £8.50 entry fee and this time I got to pay my money to the man himself, Sammy Miller. What an honour! Then it was off again around my Museum of Love.
When I thought I couldn't take any more I headed over to confess to the ladies in the tearooms. They really are the loveliest group of people. We all had a laugh about me walking out and then I sat down to a wonderful Homity Pie with new potatoes and vegetables and a cup of coffee. This time, before I left, I paid for both my visits. I can now sleep at nights knowing I haven't diddled a hard working small business owner.
(Bashley Manor Tearooms' Cream Tea and Homity Pie)
All in all I have had two absolutely wonderful days thanks to Sammy Miller and his brilliant collection of beautiful motorcycles. Next time you're down that way you really should go there I think it's the most breath-taking place.
Ticket prices only apply for the fantastic museum and are really value packed. Adults only £8.50 and kids £3. Admission to the tearooms, shops, animals and car park (Coaches welcome) is completely FREE.
For more information, from people more in control of their emotions, check out the web page and Facebook page for the museum or phone and talk to somebody on 01425 620777 otherwise you could always email firstname.lastname@example.org