& Steam Railway
Hampshire SO45 1AZ
Exbury Gardens in The New Forest in southern England is a spectacular woodland garden with fantastic displays of flowering rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias. Late in the year the woodlands glow with Autumn colours.
The Gardens were created in the early 20th century by Lionel Nathan de Rothschild, a member of the famous Rothschild banking family. There is something to delight everyone at Exbury. Apart from the gardens there is a steam railway, riverside walks, tea rooms, an adventure play area and art exhibitions.
Over 20 miles (32 km) of paths wander through three woods, parkland and around multiple pools with abundant wildlife. It is quite common to see pheasants, squirrels, kingfishers, herons, dragonflies, butterflies and enormous carp in the lake.
Highlights throughout the year
Primroses, daffodils, camellias and magnolias ensure early spring colour before bluebells, rhododendrons and azaleas burst into bloom. The spectacle of the Azalea Bowl is not to be missed in May.
The summer months bring shady riverside walks and picnic opportunities next to ponds with carp and dragonflies. Hydrangeas are at their peak and showpiece exotics fire up the Herbaceous Borders and Sundial Gardening a blaze of colour with waterside maples, sweet gums and dogwoods.
Plan Your Visit
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Open daily from March to November.
10:00 – 18:00 hours (last admission 16:30) and car park gates are locked at 18:00 hours (or dusk if earlier).
It is always wise to check exact opening dates on the Gardens website, go to Web: Exbury Gardens/ Opening Times External Link
Low Season (approx. 12 March – 10 April /16 May – 6 November)
High Season (approx. 11 April – 15 May)
Low Season prices are slightly cheaper than High Season
Family Tickets and Season Tickets are available. Children under 3 are free.
Tickets are available for gardens only or Gardens & Rail
For price details go to the Exbury Gardens Web: Exbury Gardens/ Opening Times External Link
The Gardens are fairly level with the main paths being suitable for wheelchairs. Exbury provides a limited number of wheelchairs (non-motorized) free of charge, available on a first come first served basis from the admission gate. Wheelchair access maps identify routes suitable for wheelchairs and are obtainable at the Admission Gate.
The Gift Shop, part of the Plant Centre, Five Arrows Gallery, Mr Eddy's Tea Rooms and Toilets are all wheelchair accessible. Disabled Parking bays are at the front of the main car park nearest to the Gardens entrance.
Motorised scooters are welcomed in the Gardens as long as users keep to the recommended pathways.
Certified Carers are admitted free of charge into the Gardens on a one to one basis when accompanying a disabled person, who pays the normal admission rate. Proof of Carer status must be shown on arrival.
Buggy Transport Service
Exbury's hop on, hop off buggy service is designed to enable visitors with limited mobility to access the main areas of interest within the Gardens. The chauffeur-driven buggy trips operate on a set route around the Gardens and stop in designated areas where passengers have the opportunity to disembark. A complete trip lasts approximately 40 minutes. Buggies operate as a timetabled service on a first-come, first-served basis and visitors should be advised that queues can be expected, particularly in May and June.
Tickets for the buggy service cost £4.50 per person (children under 3 free) and each Buggy can accommodate up to 12 passengers. Buggy tickets cannot be pre-booked and are available to purchase from the Visitor Entrance.
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Exbury Garden Steam Railway
In 2001, a 12 ¼ inch gauge Steam Railway was built with trains running on a 1¼ mile circular track through the gorgeous gardens. Delightful 0-6-0 and 2-6-2 tank engines pull the carriages and a trip takes 20 minutes.
The route passes through the specially designed ‘Summer Lane’ Garden, now reaching maturity with huge swathes of colourful perennials, flowering grasses, a pool and maturing trees. The railway skirts the top of the Rock Garden, where passengers are given a bird’s eye view of the largest man-made Rock Garden in Europe.
Along the way can be seen woodland creatures such as deer, rabbits, a squirrel, and a frog created in moss. Aside from the moss animals, passengers regularly see real pheasants, occasional glimpses of deer, herons and kingfishers.
Passengers can leave the train at Exbury North Station and explore this part of the garden, before catching a later train to continue their journey. They can walk right down to the Beaulieu River and enjoy the stunning views across to the Isle of Wight.
After their ride, passengers are encouraged to explore the Engine Shed, where graphics, videos and memorabilia line the walls recalling steam’s heyday and the construction of the railway by enthusiast Leopold de Rothschild.
Visitors with wheelchairs are well catered for, and it is possible to attach up to four fully accessible carriages at any one time by prior arrangement. Railway tickets should be purchased at the Visitor Entrance.
Please note that Railway tickets may only be purchased in addition to Gardens Admission. Planning permission for the Exbury Steam Railway was granted on condition that it was necessary to provide access to the far eastern part of the garden, and not as a stand-alone attraction - only people paying to enter the Gardens can ride the train.
Garden Maps, Child’s Adventure Playground, Gift Shop, Exhibition Gallery, Plant Centre, Tea Rooms, Car Parking, Toilets and Baby Change facilities. Toilets are located near the Gardens entrance; Exbury Central Station; the Herbaceous and Grasses Garden near Exbury House and the Tennis Court Tea Garden.
Events & Exhibitions
Exbury Gardens is a member of the RHS Partner Garden Scheme which often runs special events. To find out about forthcoming events and exhibitions, go to Web: Exbury Gardens/ Whats On External Link
Accommodation - Search & Book through Booking.com here: External Link
Contact & Further Information
Exbury Gardens, The Estate Office, Exbury, Southampton, Hampshire, SO45 1AZ.
+44 (0)23 8089 1203 (09:00 – 17:00 hours)
Exbury Gardens & Railway External Link
- By Road
Exbury Gardens are in the beautiful New Forest and easily accessible from the M27 motorway. Either Junction 2 or 3 lead on to the A326 where brown tourist signs will show the way to the Gardens. It is only a 20 minute drive from Junction 2.
The Exbury Gardens website has additional information to assist you plan your visit at Web: Exbury Gardens/ How to Find Us External Link
Google Maps - Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway