Exbury Gardens Guide

Exbury Gardens, Hampshire
Exbury Gardens, Hampshire

Exbury Gardens are located on the Exbury estate close to the New Forest in Hampshire. The best known attractions on the estate are the gardens and the steam railway allowing visitors to see the gardens from a bygone era. The estate is 2,000 acres in size and contains farms, along with a number of agriculture and woodland activities. The scenic setting of the gardens adds to the enjoyment of visiting for tourists, the heritage attraction offers an enjoyable day out for the whole family.


Exbury Gardens is part of a historic estate that has played a central role in the community for many years. Lionel de Rothschild first moved to Exbury in back 1912 and in 1919 bought the Exbury Estate and began creating the gardens as we see them today. Exbury village is located next to the Gardens forms the heart of the Estate. The Rothschild’s constructed a number of properties in the estate and these can be spotted by the red brick colouring, these were built in the 1920s.

At one stage all the houses in the village were owned by the Estate, in time some have been sold although a number are still occupied by Gardens or Estate and retired staff. When the gardens were being built there were many gardeners and labourers employed here.

The Gardens themselves offer plenty of vivid colours with plenty to see and admire. Magnolias are one of the earliest flowers to see in the season and are among the oldest plants on earth dating back some 20 million years. The season for the larger flowering species extends well in to the summer months.

The Hydrangea Walk contains Teller hydrangeas which are noted for their strong colours. There are also Hydrangea to see on the opposite side of the walk along and in the Park among other places. The gardens are renowned for being home to one of the finest and most admired collections of Rhododendron Gardens in the World, the collection here is vast with some ten thousand flowering in May making for a spectacle for visitors not to be missed.

Rhododendron were a particular passion of Lionel de Rothschild, he also had a love of many other plants and helped to develop other collections too. The diverse collection of trees and shrubs that were planted back in the 1920s and 1930s are reaching their maturity offering visitors with some splendid collection to enjoy. Over the years the gardens have been renewed and improved.

The gardens have habitats making it possible to have native plants, indeed the environment here allows them to flourish, Examples include Scots Pine and Native Oak woodlands where orchids and primroses have been allowed to flower.

National Collections are found at the gardens with national collections for two tree types noted for their colour. The Nyssa trees originate from North America, in the autumn visitors can see the wonderful leaf colours including red, yellow and orange. The Oxydendrum is also referred to as the Sorrel Tree shows clusters of white flowers in the late summer time, these still cling to the tree as the leaves change their colour.

The Steam Railway is a major attraction for visitors, a trip on the railway offers visitors the chance to see the gardens in a relaxing way offering the chance to experience the sights and sounds. The railway follows a route that is one and a quarter miles in length. The train leaves from Exbury Central Station and goes to the Summer Lane Garden with tunnel, causeway, bridge and a number of individually themed gardens. The collection of plants reflects the seasons and these plants are ones that can only be seen by train.

The train then goes through a wooded area and offers some wonderful views of the Wildlife Ponds. The train next does to the Plant Nursery and further on to a lake where visitors can see Hump-phrey, The Lake Moss Monster. The journey lasts for approx 20 minutes and offers visitors an enjoyable insight in to the gardens.

How to Get There

The house can be accessed by both car and public transport:

By Car:

Exbury is approx 100 miles from central London, the journey time in the car is approx 2 and a half hours. The gardens are located in the scenic New Forest, from London take the M3 toward Southampton and M3 will turn in to M27, exit the M27 at junction 3 onto the M271 then take the second exit at the Redbridge Roundabout on to the A35 then the first exit on to the A326 Marchwood Bypass, then follow the brown and white tourist signs that will take you to Exbury.

For those using Satellite Navigation systems the postcode is SO45 1AZ.

By Train:

From London Waterloo in central London trains are available to Southampton the journey time is approx one hour and 20 minutes. From Southampton visitors can get a ferry to Hythe located 6 miles from Exbury and then a taxi from Hythe.

By Coach:

From London Victoria Coach Station in central London there are regular services that depart for Southampton, the journey time is approx 2 to 2 and a half hours.

Contact Details

Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway
SO45 1AZ
United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 (0)23 8089 1203 & +44 (0)23 8089 9422 (24 hour information line).

Fax: +44 (0)23 8089 9940

Website: Exbury

Facilities & Information

Opening Times:

Open from early March until early November:

From 10.00 until 17.00 (Daily)

Further Information:

Admission Prices:

Adults: £8 approx, Children: £1.50 approx, Concessions £7.50 approx & Family Ticket: £19 approx


The Gift Shop offers a range of gifts and ideas ranging from postcards to DVDs, there are souvenirs and a range of railway prints.

There is a restaurant and Tearoom where visitors can have a range of drinks, refreshments and hot and cold meals in pleasant surroundings.

For Wheelchair users there is reasonable wheelchair access around the site, including on the railway.


View Larger Map

For Local Search and Directions see: Exbury Gardens Map

Tips & Other Considerations

There may be some variations on the opening hours depending on the time of year and other factors. It is recommended visitors double check before going to ensure the attraction you wish to see is open.

Follow sensible travel precautions and stay alert, vigilant and aware of your surroundings at all times. Ensure valuables such as your wallet/purse are hidden away from public view. If you have a bag try to use a shoulder bag with a good quality, strong strap, that is put across your shoulder not on your shoulder making it more difficult for anyone to take your bag.

If you are travelling by car to Southampton in Hampshire, ensure you are well prepared with maps and Sat Nav to aid your journey, particularly if you are not familiar with the local area and roads. Use the journey planner for door to door directions. Check for the latest traffic updates before you travel.

If you are travelling by public transport, check for service updates prior to beginning your journey for any delays, disruption or cancellations to services that may impact on your journey. Ensure you have the service timetables for the trains, buses and coaches. Remember when the last services are and ensure you make it to the train/bus/coach stops well in time.

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