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Exbury Gardens

nr Beaulieu, Hampshire

Featured Location Guide

Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway are based in the New Forest National Park. It is a 200 acre woodland garden with 22 miles of pathways, world famous for the Rothschild collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, rare trees and plants. It is full of colour in the spring and plenty of colour autumn colours to photograph.

A little bit of History

In 1919 the Exbury Estate was bought by Lionel de Rothschild. It had a temperate climate, moderate rainfall and an acidic soil ideal for growing rhododendrons. Using a large team he gradually cleared the woodland and laid out the garden putting in ornamental ponds, paths were set out and two acres of greenhouses and the basis of what you see today. The onset of WWII brought the development to a standstill and Lionel died in 1942, when later that year Exbury House was requisitioned by the Royal Navy. After the war the house returned to the family, and Lionel's' wife and son began restoring the site and cultivating new parts of the garden and raising new Exbury hybrids.

What can you see on your visit.

Amongst the 200 acres there are many gardens and features as well as woodland and of course the Rothschild Rhododendrons to see. There is also a small narrow gauge steam railway, buggy rides, and from the end of July a Maize maze.

  Herbaceous borders
near Exbury House
See Larger Image

The following lists the main gardens and features of the site.

Gardens Features
Azalea Bowl View point & Arromanches Plaque
The glade Top pond
Herbaceous & grasses garden Lower pond
Burmese bell Wiggly tree
Sundial garden Lionel de Rothschild memorial
Hydrangea walk Gilbury bridge
Daffodil meadow Jubillee Pond

Lovers Lane

Japanese bridge
Bog garden Five Arrows Gallery
Rock garden Exbury House

Azalea drive

Camellia walk  
Summer Lane Garden  
American Garden  
Winter garden  

Exbury Garden Railway

A 20min, one and a quarter mile circular journey around the northeast corner of the Gardens on a steam train. Features include a bridge, tunnel, viaduct, Exbury Central Station & Exbury North Halt, plus lots of woodland characters to spot! Trains are scheduled to depart at 11AM, 11.45AM, 12.30PM, 1.30PM, 2.15PM, 3PM and 4PM (and at more regular intervals during May). An additional 4.30pm train will run during the Hampshire summer holidays.

Buggy Tours

Chauffeur driven buggy tours operate throughout the season for an additional fee. The buggies accommodate up to 7 passengers and tours last 30/45 minutes.

Website Features

They have a number of regularly updated features on their website including:

  • A picture gallery which shows the current flowering conditions around the garden.

  • Interactive Tours, some 3D and Video tours of some of the garden areas.

  • Head Gardner's Notice Board - which keeps you up to date with what work is going on in the gardens, plus regular updates of what you can see in the garden on your visit.

Further information Grid


Exbury Gardens, nr Beaulieu, Hampshire

Ceremonial County: Hampshire

Grid Reference:


Map Link:


Aerial photo:

Google Aerial



Best Times to Visit:

May for Rhododendron and Azalea blooms

Camellias peak in April/May

Autumn for the Woodland





Other useful websites:


Nearby Locations:  
Other Relevant pages:  


Planning Grid


Exbury Gardens, nr Beaulieu, Hampshire

Grid Reference:


Getting there:

From M27 junction 2 onto A326 to Fawley. Continue over a series of roundabouts at the 7th one take the B3054 to Exbury and Beaulieu. Turn right be side of The Royal Oak put to Exbury after 2.5 miles entrance to gardens is on right.


Via 22 miles of paths


Ample Free parking


Designated picnic areas in gardens. Gift shop, plant centre, Buggy Tours, steam Railway

Things To Do, See and Photograph:

Flowers, woodlands, ponds and vistas

What to take:

macro lens for close ups, polarizer, reflectors

Nature highlights:

Rhododendrons  and Bluebells in May


Exbury Gardens

The Estate Office

Exbury, Southampton



SO45 1AZ


02380 891203 (office hours)

02380 899422 (24 hour info line)

Opening times:

Daily 19th Mar-6th Nov 10am to 5pm or dusk if earlier.


Adult 9; Concessions & Seniors 8.50; Child (3-15) 2; Child (under 3) FREE; Family (2+3) 21
RHS Members FREE; Historic Houses Association members FREE

For all visitors
Railway Extra Fare 3.50; Family (2+3) 13.50
Daily rover ticket for 4.50 (unlimited travel when train running)

Buggy Tours Extra  3.50/4 per person.

Photo Restrictions:


Other Restrictions:  
Special Needs Access: Fairly level site and paths are suitable for wheelchairs. Carers are admitted free. Limited number of free wheelchairs available. 4 of the railway carriages have been adapted to take wheelchairs.
Special Needs Facilities: Toilets are at main entrance, herbaceous and grasses garden, tennis court tea garden and the railway station.
Children Facilities: Steam Railway and plenty of gardens to run about in, be aware there are ponds dotted around the site.
Dogs Allowed: Kept on short leads

Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Further information and Planning Grids or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote both the Page Ref and Topic or Section references from the Grid below. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

Please submit information on locations you discover so that this system continues to grow.


By: Tracey Park Section: Gardens Section Key:
Page Ref: exbury_hants Topic: Gardens Last Updated: 03/2011

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