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Exbury Gardens

Exbury Gardens Hampshire - Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway

In the New Forest, there are always many things to see and do Bucklers Hard, Beaulieu Motor Museum, Beaulieu Palace House and Beaulieu Abbey for example. But just a few minutes down the road you will find the stunningly beautiful Exbury Gardens and steam railway which is a place that you simply must stop at during your visit to the forest.

The parish of Exbury is predominantly owned by the Rothschild family and the village is very small but delightful,it was originally built to provide the houseing for the estate workers, and although some of them still live here Exbury village is now nearly all privately owned.

It also has a magnificent church as well that is well worth a visit if you like architecture.

Exbury Gardens itself is an amazing 200-acre woodland garden. It is world famous for its Rothschild collection and the plants that are found in Exbury include rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas, and there are also many other rare trees and plants.

The garden is beautiful in both autumn and spring as well as the summer months, as the seasons bring change around and within the gardens, this makes Exbury gardens and ideal location for a romantic wedding in beautiful surroundings.The gardens actually have 3 venues that are licensed for civil wedding ceremonies and civil partnerships.


The Exbury Gardens is said to contain about 20 miles of pipes for the irrigation of the beautiful plant life to be found here, as well as miles of pathways for you to explore. There is also a 20 minute train ride, which takes visitors through the Gardens.

For those who wish to have an even more stunning experience, there is a buggy tour that allows them to see the most interesting and exciting parts of the Gardens.

The Gardens also have other things to see and do. Mr. Eddy's Tearooms are open starting at 9:30 AM each day, and the Gift Shop and Plant Centre are both open between 10 AM and 5 PM on the days that the Gardens are open to the public.

The Exbury Gardens were developed and inspired by Lionel Nathan de Rothschild. He was born in 1882, and after he grew and married, and went into the family banking business, he began to spend more time at gardening, which was his real calling in life.

His enthusiasm was inspired by the great plant explorers such as Frank Kingdon-Ward and Joseph Rock, who were all travelling the globe in search of wild and exotic plants.

He purchased the Exbury Estate in 1919, and set to work clearing the existing forest and creating his beautiful gardens. The ornamental concrete lined ponds were built at this time, as well as a borehole, which was sunk to provide an irrigation system. This system is still in used today, and reaches all parts of the garden, through the underground piping. There were also two acres of greenhouses that were built, out of only the best imported teak.

During the war, beginning in 1939, the garden development came to a standstill. In fact, the house was requisitioned by the Royal Navy and was used as HMS Mastodon. The house was then used for administration and training. Lionel died in 1942, and after that time, during the war, his widow and four others worked to keep the gardens surviving. When Lionel's son Edmund returned from the war, he restored the gardens to the splendour that can be seen today.

If you want to take some of Exbury home with you then pop into the Exbury nurseries during your visit.

There is also the Furzey gardens to visit whilst in the forest but this is a much less grand affair and is used as an horticultural centre for children with learning difficulties.

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