Follow the Beaulieu River up to Buckler's Hard, ignore the very expensive marina, and ask the harbourmaster for a position on the midstream piles, great for improving boat handling skills. (It is true that the piles are now enhanced with pontoons which somewhat diminishes the skills required). But you still need to watch out for the current when manoeuvering, it can run quite hard at times. If you want peace and quiet, the harbourmaster may have a spare mooring further up river if you ask.
The Agamemnon Yard, close behind the Marina, holds the showers, loos and washing machines and there's a fuel and water jetty handy. Behind the fuelling jetty is where you can get ashore in your dinghy after pushing your way through dozens of others. The yard often has interesting boats ashore but the chandlery appears to have closed down.
The village itself is a step back in time, some of the houses are occupied, others are open to the public giving a glimpse of life in times past. The Master Builder's pub gets packed (and overflows onto the green outside), the Maritime museum is well worth a visit (50p off with your mooring fee). There's a cafe near to the museum and a shop that sells basic provisions. 'Unauthorised' barbecues are not allowed on the green but you can borrow an 'authorised' barbie, speak to the harbourmaster.
PS. Have a look at the river water flowing past your boat, at certain times of year there are thousands (millions?) of small translucent jellyfish flowing back and forth with the current. Where they all come from is a mystery to me.
The riverside walk through the woods to Beaulieu village is a great favourite, especially with the promise of a real icecream on arrival. Beaulieu village also has a pub where you can get a meal (eaten outside if you want to fight off the donkies) and the garden centre (which keeps the wife happy) has a cafe that serves delicious, home made cakes. The green is a favourite with the kids for feeding the ducks and petting the donkies.
Guide price : Midstream pontoon £15.00 (28ft 2009).
This is a most enjoyable walk with pubs, cafes and ice cream at the end.