Exbury Gardens is a magical place in the New Forest, the gardens are a remarkable 200 acre site, world-famous for the Rothschild Collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, care trees and shrubs. This earthy paradise offers plenty of colour in spring, a place of tranquillity in summer followed by a splendid show as the leaves change in the autumn.
Once you’ve paid and gone through the visitor’s entrance it’s hard to choose which path to follow; do you head towards the rock garden, jubilee pond or herbaceous garden? Whichever you choose you’re in for a beautiful surprise around every corner. There are benches situated around the site so you can take a seat and enjoy a snack whilst admiring the wildlife that surrounds you.
When lunchtime calls, there are two picnic areas, one opposite the jubilee pond with its lazy koi carp and hovering dragonflies and the second by the heather gardens, or you can choose to eat in Mr Eddy’s Tea Rooms where seasonal dishes are served daily with a wide variety of cakes, sandwiches, hot and cold drinks and there is also lots of choice for children including your-own lunch boxes and a number of high chairs available.
It’s not just the array of stunning flowers, plants and bushes that are impressive but the trees too. Trees have been grown at Exbury for hundreds of years and some of the earliest cultivated trees at Exbury date back to 1729. A large Cedar of Lebanon planted by the Mitford family can be found in Home Wood below the House in the Glade. Exotic trees were further added by Lord Forster from 1860 and include the large Redwood tree in the Glade. Now Exbury has one of the greatest collections in the country.
If you’re heading there with kids then there’s plenty for them to explore. In the gardens, children can discover plants that existed before dinosaurs roamed the earth; plants dinosaurs liked to eat; a Chinese Coffin Tree and even the Devil’s Walking Stick.
A family trail is available to purchase at the visitor entrance which includes a detailed, fun map guide with questions and a word search. Included with the map guide will be a packet of Exbury Garden’s salad seed to take home and sow, an Exbury Plant Hunter pencil and the opportunity to win tickets for the Exbury ghost train at Halloween.
Also, don’t miss the play park filled with fun for all ages.
Exbury Gardens is perfect for the whole family (even dogs are welcome too), whether you’re young or old, horticulturist, a gardening enthusiast, or just a lover of beautiful places. From botanical rarities to masses of spectacular colour, there is something for all to enjoy – A place to escape and witness something magnificent.
After a day of exploring we’ll welcome you back with refreshments, sofas perfect for sinking into and a delicious dinner to re-fuel you for another New Forest adventure!