IT'S the £500,000 fantasy play park that was hit by the national lockdown just days after it opened.

Little Beaulieu, situated in the grounds of the National Motor Museum, was forced to close a week after welcoming its first visitors in March.

Now the eye-catching attraction has reopened - just in time for the summer holidays.

A Beaulieu spokesperson said: "The team has put in place special safety and cleaning measures to ensure the play area can be enjoyed safely by visitors as part of its Covid-19 visitor safety promise.

"Capacity will be managed with a recommended maximum play time during busier periods to avoid any disappointment.

New Forest Post:

"The Little Beaulieu kiosk will also be open, and families will be able to enjoy light refreshments in the covered seating area whilst their children play."

As reported in the Daily Echo, Little Beaulieu was opened by Lord Montagu on March 14 as figures from the world of entertainment looked on.

The 59-year-old peer addressed a large crowd after dressing up as a circus ringmaster, complete with a scarlet tailcoat and a black top hat.

He delivered his speech in a style which evoked memories of Leonard Sachs announcing acts on the long-running TV show The Good Old Days.

Guests included one of Hampshire's best-known celebrity couples. Sarah Parish, star of Atlantis, Broadchurch and Bancroft, was accompanied by her husband, fellow actor James Murray, whose TV credits include 6 Underground and McDonald & Dodds.

New Forest Post:

TV historian Dan Snow, who lives in the New Forest, was also there.

Little Beaulieu is a small wooden palace which draws on the heritage of Palace House - Lord Montagu’s ancestral home - and the ruins of neighbouring Beaulieu Abbey.

Visitors are able to slide through grand fireplaces, peek out from behind portraits and crawl through a trick bookcase to explore every nook and cranny of the new attraction, which boasts turrets and a clock tower.

Children can tackle the rope maze room, then follow the treetop boardwalk to the observation tower to get a bird’s-eye view at the monorail as it rumbles past.