The Garden Landscape Guide

Exbury Gardens

Created by Lionel de Rothschild in the 1920s, Exbury is a large rhododendron and azalea garden. The gardens also include a Daffodil Meadow, Exotic Garden and Herbaceous Garden. There is a popular narrow gauge steam railway that takes visitors round the northeast corner of the gardens. Exbury was regional winner of an "England in Excellence" award in 2003, and the prestigious Christie's Garden of the Year winner in 2001.

Head Gardener's Comment

Exbury reflects the changing moods of nature. Early spring sees the magnolias and camellias burst into flower, whilst the Daffodil Meadow is a carpet of vibrant gold. In mid-spring the rhododendrons and azaleas are at their peak & full of vibrant colour, and the woodland is carpeted in swathes of primroses and bluebells. The stunning Azalea Bowl is a magnet for visitors from around the world in early May. The full bloom of the Herbaceous and Grasses Garden and Exotic Garden announces the arrival of summer, with cool and shady riverside walks, family trails and picnics by the ponds favoured activities. During the summer holidays the "Exbury Maize Maze" offers an added attraction, opposite the main Gardens entrance. Autumn follows bringing spectacular displays of colour from the Japanese maples, deciduous azaleas & dogwoods that flourish. Exbury’s spectacular nerine collection is not to be missed at this time of year – nor are the Gardens National Collection of Nyssa and Oxydendrum. The popular narrow gauge steam railway takes visitors on a magical journey around the northeast corner of the Gardens and through the Summer Lane Garden planted with bulbs, herbaceous perennials and grasses. The journey lasts 20 minutes & features include a bridge, tunnel, viaduct & ‘Exbury North’ halt. The railway runs journeys every day the Gardens are open, with a first journey time of 11am. Watch out for Exbury’s events programme, including guided walks with the Head Gardener, exhibitions, theatre productions and popular Ghost Train and Santa Specials.


HHA/Christies ‘Garden of the Year 2001’ STB Large Visitor Attraction of the Year 2003 Created by Lionel de Rothschild in the 1920s, the Gardens are a stunning vision of his inspiration, offering 200-acres of natural beauty & horticultural variety. The Gardens are still Rothschild family owned and managed, with three generations of the family at the helm.

Exbury, Southampton, Hampshire, England, SO45 1AZ

Mid March to early November. Daily. Open 10am to 5pm.

See Exbury website for up to date prices.

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  • over 3 years by Anonymous 3 / 5

    I really enjoyed it but there was two problems:
    1 the kids did not have much to do there
    2 i did not know that you have to pay for the train and the gardens
  • about 5 years by Anonymous 5 / 5

    As I walked past the Azalea Bowl, I followed a little path into Home Wood. I was so struck by the peace and tranquility that I found in here as I looked at the vivid colours of the Azaleas in the late afternoon light of a sunny Spring day that I suddenly thought that this is what Heaven must be like.
  • over 6 years by Pete 5 / 5

    The garden beside the river is gorgeous, a riot of colour and lots of different areas and planting to see.

    if you are in the new forest then a must visit.
  • over 6 years by Katrina Underwood 4 / 5

    Although viewed primarily as a spring and autumn garden summer time is just as interesting - planted areas of herbaceous perennials/grasses and many interesting trees.
  • almost 7 years by Adam Hodge 5 / 5

    Sumptuous and excessive colour..enough to give indigestion,and yet ..awesome ! An almost surreal experience walking through endless glades of rich crimsons, pinks,purples.
  • about 7 years by Adam Hodge 5 / 5

    The gardens were looking awesome on my visit over the BH. Be ready for a complete colour overload at this place, it is in excess and it's fabulous!! I was glad for the calm of green after the excesses of all the rhodo's and azaleas, but it is an opportunity for colourful floral obesity!! I love it.

The reviews and ratings originate in all cases from third parties. Gardenvisit is in no case responsible for the correctness or accuracy of the reviews. Reviews and similar information are not an expression of Gardenvisit's opinions.

Autumn, Exbury Gardens Photograph © Exbury
Azaleas, Exbury Gardens Photograph © Exbury
Exbury Gardens, Hampshire Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Exbury Gardens, Spring Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Exbury, Hampshire Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Azaleas, Exbury Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Exbury Gardens, Hants Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Exbury Gardens Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Exbury Gardens, Summer Photograph © Anthurium/Katrina Underwood
Exbury Gardens, Hampshire Photograph © Anthurium/Katrina Underwood