Beaulieu and Buckler’s Hard join TripAdvisor Hall of Fame.

Beaulieu and Buckler’s Hard have earned places in the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame after both being awarded a coveted Certificate of Excellence for the eighth year running for consistently high visitor ratings.

Both have earned TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence every year since 2012 and, in recognition of glowing visitor feedback, have joined the review website’s Hall of Fame as shining examples of family days out.

Award-winning Beaulieu is one of the south’s leading visitor attractions and is home to the National Motor Museum, World of Top Gear, On Screen Cars, the Montagu ancestral home of Palace House, the Secret Army exhibition, 13th century Beaulieu Abbey and its gardens and grounds. Buckler’s Hard’s Maritime Museum tells the story of the unique village on the banks of the Beaulieu River during its shipbuilding heyday, when ships for Nelson’s Trafalgar fleet were built there in the 18th century.

Beaulieu’s Visitor Services Manager Jon Tee said: “Being awarded the certificate for eight years running is a huge achievement and one that we are very proud of. Receiving feedback is essential to providing the best experience for our visitors and we are delighted that they continue to share their experiences of a great day out in the New Forest.”

The Certificate of Excellence represents a benchmark for the country’s leading visitor attractions, highlighting visitor satisfaction and feedback ratings through its customer reviews.

TripAdvisor’s Brand Vice-president Neela Pal said: “For nearly a decade, the Certificate of Excellence has celebrated businesses that have consistently received positive ratings from travellers and diners on the world’s largest travel platform. This recognition allows us to publicly recognise businesses that are actively taking into account customer feedback to help travellers confidently experience the most highly reviewed places to eat, stay and explore.”

Tickets to Beaulieu and Buckler’s Hard can be bought in advance online. For tickets and details:



Christopher Macgowan


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Beaulieu is the Home of Motoring for new car series filming.

The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu is the perfect backdrop for new prime-time car show The Car Years which begins broadcasting its first series on Tuesdays from May 7th.

The museum – with its world-famous collection of more than 250 vehicles telling the story of motoring history – was the natural choice for presenters Vicki Butler-Henderson and Alex Riley to go head-to-head with their favourite cars from chosen years. The Montagu ancestral home of Palace House and its stunning grounds and gardens are also featured during the six-episode series.

Starting with an ITV4 double-bill from 8pm, Vicki will pitch the iconic Porsche 911 sports car against Alex with his Ford Mustang original muscle car from 1964. Then for 1984, Vicky chooses the turbo powered Ford RS200 while Alex picks Miami Vice favourite, the Ferrari Testarossa.

Winners of the car battles are picked by judges including former F1 drivers and broadcasters Tiff Needell and Karun Chandhok, motoring writers and presenters Erin Baker and Quentin Willson, former Top Gear Stig and stunt driver Ben Collins, motoring author and vlogger Richard Porter and world-renowned motoring auctioneer Chris Routledge.

Later in the series, the British MGA sports car driven by the likes of Elvis Presley is pitted against the Hollywood favourite Mercedes 190SL from 1955, while the world-beating Audi Quattro is set against Alex’s childhood hero the Renault 5 Turbo from 1980, the Porsche Boxster competes against its sports car rival the Lotus Elise from 1996 and four-seater performance cars the Golf GTi hot hatch and Saab 99 Turbo go head-to-head for 1976.

Beaulieu’s Commercial Director Steve Munn said: “We have been pleased to host The Car Years filming and look forward to working with the production team on future series. As the home of British motoring, Beaulieu is the perfect setting for the new show which celebrates some of the most popular cars in automotive history.”

The Car Years is also a perfect fit for its sponsors, Beaulieu’s partners and classic vehicle insurance specialists Footman James. The show’s celebrities recently appeared at Beaulieu’s media partners’ Practical Classic’s Classic Car & Restoration Show at the NEC.

To see the backdrops used in filming, a ticket to Beaulieu includes entry to the National Motor Museum with its Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 50 years exhibition, World of Top Gear, On Screen Cars, Palace House, 13th century Beaulieu Abbey and the grounds and gardens. Tickets can be bought in advance online. For tickets and details see or call 01590 612345.

Christopher Macgowan


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Nissan LEAF’s drivetrain achieves highest driver satisfaction in 2019 Driver Power study

  • Steve Fowler, editor-in-chief of Auto Express and Carbuyer: “Owners love the car’s quiet, smooth and rapid acceleration”
  • Organised by Dennis Publishing, the company behind Auto Express and Carbuyer, Driver Power is one of the UK’s most respected customer satisfaction studies

Continuing the success of the previous generation model, owners have named the Nissan LEAF’s drivetrain as the most enjoyable in the annual 2019 Driver Power study of more than 80,000 new car customers.

The Nissan LEAF came top in the ‘Best Engine & Gearbox’ award, as well as fifth in the ‘Best MPG & Running Costs’ category. 2019 will be the third year in a row that the Nissan LEAF has been named best for the satisfaction given by its drivetrain.

Steve Fowler, editor-in-chief of Auto Express and Carbuyer commented; “The original LEAF took top honours in our engine and gearbox category in 2017 and 2018, and that torch has been passed to the second-generation version in 2019.”

Steve continued; “Owners love the car’s quiet, smooth and rapid acceleration, and its score beat some pretty sporty models from premium brands. It’s not just great to drive though; a fifth place for MPG and running costs shows the LEAF remains easy on the wallet.”

Kalyana Sivagnanam, Managing Director, Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd. Commented: “The Nissan LEAF is a fantastic car to drive delivering instant power, rapid acceleration, and refinement thanks to its 100% electric drive train. We are delighted to see our customers have recognised this by highly praising its driving performance.”

First published in 2002, the Driver Power automotive customer satisfaction study is now in its 17th year and is the UK’s biggest new car ownership survey.

Christopher Macgowan


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Simply Jaguar at Beaulieu.

Beaulieu will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the iconic Jaguar MkII at Simply Jaguar on Sunday July 14th with a special display area dedicated to this legendary sporting saloon.

Christopher Macgowan


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Anglian Water has introduced 10 new electric vans to its fleet as part of its strategy to reduce fleet emissions and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

The company currently spends more than £4.5m on diesel every year, with vans covering 22 million miles annually.

The new Nissan e-NV200s can travel 100 miles before they need recharging, so will be used for Anglian Water employees who conduct more localised visits.

The company has installed electric charging stations across a number of its sites to facilitate recharging. With less maintenance and cleaner carbon footprints, the new vans will provide an opportunity for the company to cut its energy usage and become even more efficient.

Stewart Lightbody, head of fleet Services at Anglian Water, (pictured) said: “Reducing both fleet emissions and our carbon footprint are key for us. We were one of the first companies to sign up to the Clean Van Commitment which has been created by Global Action Plan, to speed up the switch to zero emissions vans. Our first 10 vans are another key step forward towards our ambition to be completely carbon neutral by 2050 and we are excited to see how quickly we might be able to expand their use in our fleet.”

Stewart Lightbody wins 2019 Fleet News Award for Fleet Manager of the Year.

Air pollution is a major public issue with 44 cities in the UK having air pollution that exceeds the World Health Organisation guidelines. There are four million vans on the road but only 4,400 of them are electric.

Recent research demonstrates that pollution from older diesel vans has a significant impact on health, costing the NHS and society an additional £2.2 billion per annum. This problem is only set to increase as vans are the fastest growing vehicle type in the UK. Vans contribute 75 billion miles driven each year, a staggering 30% of the UK’s road transport emissions, and cost three times more per vehicle to the UK’s health than cars.

Christopher Macgowan


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BCA stages first dedicated ULEZ sale.

 BCA staged the first ever Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) sale at BCA Blackbushe on 12 March, attracting a large crowd of online and in-lane buyers.


The Multi-vendor event only featured Euro 6 compliant or electric/hybrid commercial vehicles that can enter the Ultra Low Emission Zone without charge. Confident bidding throughout the sale saw 148 vehicles sold for an average value in excess of 104% of CAP Clean, with one vendor achieving an average of 113% of CAP Clean.


The sale offered and sold SWB, MWB and LWB panel vans, Lutons, tippers, flatbeds and car-derived models, with competitive bidding across the board. Following excellent feedback from buyers and sellers alike, BCA has committed to a second ULEZ Sale at BCA Blackbushe on May 14th 2019.


Commenting on the event Jon Gilbert, business development director Commercial Vehicles at BCA said: “This unique event offered LCV buyers and operators a wide variety of ULEZ compliant vehicles to meet a diverse range of requirements. Buyers could bid with confidence because they knew every vehicle had been fully checked by BCA for Euro 6 compliance pre-sale.”


Gilbert added “The demand for Euro 6 is growing and this will increase when the London ULEZ goes live in April. Several major buyers attending the sale confirmed that they only retail Euro 6 compliant vehicles and, as a result, found the event exceptionally useful.”


The world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone launches in London on 8 April and will operate 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. The 24-hour ULEZ regulations will replace the T-Charge to tighten standards, improve air quality and deter the most polluting vehicles from entering the zone. The new regulations will charge any vehicle not meeting Euro 6 standard for diesel cars, vans and minibuses and other specialist vehicles. It is expected the new regulations will affect up to 60,000 vehicles a day.

Christopher Macgowan


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Strong demand for used diesel cars and milder weather boosts bike market.

Used car of the month: Mazda MX-5 (2009-15)

Used bike of the month: Honda CB1000R (2008-18)’s valuation experts reveal significant trends in the UK used vehicle market and choose a car and bike of the month.


Valuation services team manager at, Jon Wheeler, said: “With summer on the horizon you may find yourself tempted by a two-seater rear-wheel drive roadster. If so, the Mazda MX-5 must be on your shortlist. Since its launch at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show, over a million have been produced across four generations, most recently the ND. Our pick would be the 2-litre NC2 Sport Tech with 17-inch wheels, Bilstein suspension, limited slip differential and front strut brace. Good condition early examples are available for around £8k. A top tip for any MX-5 is to get the wheel alignment checked as this can really transform the handling.”


As to market trends, Wheeler said: “The eagerly awaited 19 registration plate has arrived, bringing a welcome influx of trade-in and end-of-contract vehicles. Expect to see auction volumes rise as overage and less desirable stock is moved on. Despite plummeting new diesel sales (just 29.6% market share in February), there’s still strong demand for good quality used diesels as frugal buyers pursue cheaper running costs. Overall in February, total registrations were up 1.4% year-on-year – great news in a traditionally slow sales month. Petrol is now dominating the new market, accounting for 64.3% of all sales so far this year.”


On the motorbike, scooter and moped sector,’s Mark Field said: “The CB1000R, Honda’s answer to the increasing demand for naked bikes, has been on our roads for over a decade now. The original was a great bike in many respects but never really had the wow factor and definitely wasn’t the stripped down Fireblade many were hoping for. It did have trickle down components, such as the forks and brakes, but they were slightly watered down, as was the power output and handling. This bike was never going to be a track weapon, but in real world terms it surpassed the competition thanks to its softer suspension, ease of riding and reputation for build quality and reliability. From £4,000 for a clean 2009 example, the CB1000R is an excellent choice for the commuter, particularly now summer finally feels within reach.”


As to market trends, Field said: “Despite the political chaos of Brexit, the UK bike market seems surprisingly upbeat. New bike registrations are up 8.7% compared to this time last year, with some impressive figures for adventure, scooter and trail / enduro bikes. Admittedly, this may have something to do with pre-registration activity and discounts but in the current climate any positive is welcome. There are also hopeful signs in the used market with increased sales and interest fueled by the milder weather. For traders, sourcing good quality used stock remains an issue.”


With information from the police, DVLA, insurers and finance houses, My Car Check holds comprehensive data on every vehicle on UK roads – things that buyers should be aware of before making an offer.


CDL Vehicle Information Services, which owns My Car Check, performs over a million look-ups a day for companies including AutoExpress, CompareTheMarket, Go-Compare, Moneysupermarket, Swiftcover and Tesco.

Christopher Macgowan


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