Exbury Gardens, New Forest, Hampshire
Exbury Gardens in the New Forest National Park was created by Lionel de Rothschild in the 1920s, and extends over 200 acres. World-famous home of the Rothschild Collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, rare trees and shrubs, the Gardens echo to the names of the famous plant hunters, Forrest, Wilson and Kingdon-Ward. Exbury is still family owned and managed as a registered charity, welcoming over 120,000 visitors annually. A delightful steam railway was introduced in 2001 providings a gentle means of seeing the north-east corner of the Gardens.
The early spring Rock Garden and Heather Garden, daffodils, camellias, magnolias and primroses give way to bluebells, rhododendrons and azaleas, with colour and birdsong at every turn. The spectacle of the Azalea Bowl in May is not to be missed. The summer months bring cool and shady riverside walks, hydrangeas and showpiece exotic and herbaceous gardens. Picnic next to ponds with golden orfe, carp and dragonflies. Autumn arrives in a blaze of colour from waterside maples, sweet gums and dogwoods, and Exbury's National Collection of Nyssa and Oxydendrum. Discover fabulous fungi and be dazzled by Exbury's Nerines (jewel lilies) and Wild Autumn Art exhibition in the Five Arrows Gallery.
OTHER THINGS TO SEE & DO
The Exbury Gardens Steam Railway is a must-see for all visitors to Exbury, providing a delightful 20 min journey along the Rhododendron Line. The railway passes through its very own "Summer Lane" Garden, which can only be seen from the carriages. Features on the railway include a tunnel, viaduct and cutting, whilst the track twists and turns past the Rock garden, across ponds and past the North Lake. Passengers should look out for the oldest tree in the gardens, the Domesday Yew, and lots of woodland creatures.Chauffeur-driven buggy tours provide another means of seeing Exbury "with your feet up."There is a Tree Trail and a Family Discovery Trail to follow around the Gardens. Dogs are welcome on a short lead.
Exbury is located in the beautiful New Forest National Park, with views over the Solent and Isle of Wight. Nearby attractions include Beaulieu National Motor Museum and Paultons Park, home to Peppa Pig World. Other Gardens close to Exbury include Furzey, Spinners, The Hillier Gardens and Mottisfont.
PLACES TO STAY
Variety of accommodation throughout the New Forest, from Country House Hotels such as Lime Wood, The Chewton Glen, Rhinefield House, Hotel TerraVina and Careys Manor, mid-range hotels in Lymington and Lyndhurst, many bed and breakfasts, self-catering and camping options. Check out the Exbury website for accommodation links.
HOW TO FIND US
20 mins south from M27, Junction 2 West, in the New Forest. From junction 2, follow signs for Beaulieu National Motor Museum along the A326, before seeing brown and white tourism signs for Exbury gardens and Steam Railway at the Heath roundabout.
Open daily 19 March - 6 November 2011, 10am - 5pm last admission. Car Park gates close at 6pm or dusk if earlier. ENTRYAdults £9; seniors / concessions £8.50; children 3-15 £2 Family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children) £21.Train extra £3.50; Family train ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children) extra £13.50. All-day train tickets available for extra £1 per person.Buggy (30/45 min tours according to season) extra £3.50 / £4.00.Group visits (15 plus) £8 per person; railway (if booked in advance)_ £3 per person. Group Organiser free. Coach driver incentives.Special offer 2011: Spring to autumn - enjoy two colourful visits, two wonderful for words! Visit between 19 March - 5 June 2011, purchase a ticket to the Gardens and Steam Railway and receive a FREE gardens return ticket* to enjoy the developing autumn colours. (* return visit may be made between 1 Sept - 21 Oct 2011).Exbury Experience ticket available 6 June - 6 Nov (excluding Ghost Train dates). £14 adults; £7 children. Includes entry to Gardens, buggy tour; railway journey; info guide and discount vouchers (based on a minimum spend) for Gift Shop, Plant Centre and Restaurant.
FOOD & DRINK
Whilst at Exbury, you are welcome to visit Mr Eddy's Restaurant and Tearooms for morning coffee and pastries, lunches and cream teas. There is also a tea garden, open seasonally. Picnic areas are provided within the Gardens.
POSTCODE FOR CAR SAT NAVs
Keen on Gardening? Got a few hours to spare?Then become an Exbury volunteer and help maintain one of Britain's foremost plant collections. You'll spend time with the horticultural team, enjoy free training workshops and benefit from the volunteer reward scheme. Exbury Gardens is a registered charity 801349, and volunteer assistance helps the Gardens in the furtherance of its charitable objectives. If you'd like to know more or register your interest in attending our next volunteer meeting, please speak to Vicky Scott on 02380 891203 (office hours) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Check the Exbury website for details of up-to-date flowering conditions, events, walks and talks, news and details of exciting exhibitions.