The Garden Guide

Exbury Gardens

Created by Lionel de Rothschild in the 1920s, Exbury is a great 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 Gardens & Steam Railway is currently closed for winter maintenance. We look forward to welcoming you back from 1st March 2021.

More than 100 years in the making, Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway is a spectacular collection of landscaped woodland, herbaceous, contemporary and formal gardens, in a unique riverside location. Exbury also boasts a narrow-gauge steam railway that travels through the gardens, plus a play area, fantastic restaurant, plus much more!

Unique riverside gardens
Exbury is renowned for spring colour, set apart from other gardens by their world-famous collection of rhododendrons and azaleas. These stunning shrubs are at their height in May, lining the paths with elegant flowers. Spring also sees a spectacular display of camellias and magnolias, as well as hundreds of thousands of spring bulbs in Daffodil Meadow and the River of Gold.

Exbury's 200 acres transform into a shady sanctuary of tranquillity during summertime, with the Iris, Herbaceous, Sundial and Centenary Gardens coming into full bloom at this time of year.

During the colder months, expert planting showcases the vibrant red and orange of their acer and nyssa trees, of which we have a National Plant Collection.

New for 2021
In 2021 Exbury will be encouraging visitors to rediscover nature as part of their ‘Wild Exbury’ campaign. Interactive family events will include bushcraft, nature trails, pond dipping, plus much more. We will also be unveiling Dragonfly Pond, the New River Walk and our Sakura Cherry Orchard in 2021, which have never before been enjoyed by the public!

Steam Railway
Exbury's narrow-gauge railway departs from replica Victorian station ‘Exbury Central’ and travels through a tunnel, over a bridge, round the new Dragonfly Pond and through the Summer Lane Garden, which is only accessible by train.

Inspire a love of the outdoors in little ones as they run, play and discover in Exbury's unique riverside gardens. Feed giant koi carp and golden orfe fish at Top Pond, complete a range of free activity sheets and let off steam in the play area. Check out their brilliant events tailored for children and families at

Many of Exbury’s paths are wheelchair accessible and are signposted on visitor maps. The steam railway has carriages specially adapted to accommodate wheelchair users and their companions. There’s also free wheelchair hire, accessible parking, free gardens admission for carers and accessible lavatory facilities.

Food and Drink
Exbury boasts three catering options: Mr Eddy’s Restaurant serving delicious hot meals and hot and cold snacks and refreshments; the Old Tennis Courts outdoor café serving sandwiches, drinks and cakes; and pop-up food outlets, regularly including gluten-free and vegan caterers.

Four-legged friends are welcome at Exbury and can even ride the train! They have water bowls, dog bins and even sell dog-friendly ice cream in Mr Eddy’s Restaurant.

Whether you’re visiting for a quiet riverside walk, a delightful family day out or to admire their unique plants, a fantastic day can be had by all at Exbury!

Photograph © Exbury
Photograph © Exbury
Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Photograph © Anthurium/Katrina Underwood
Photograph © Anthurium/Katrina Underwood


Created by Lionel de Rothschild in the 1920s, the gardens are a stunning representation of the fashionable woodland gardens of the 1920s. Lionel comissioned a number of plant hunting expeditions to Asia, where renowned plant hunters like George Forrest brough back rhododendron seeds and specimens. His son, Edmund de Rothschild, created a number of hybrid rhododendrons which can now be seen at Exbury in April and May.

Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway is owned and managed by the Rothschild family.

Plants of note

Rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias camellias, herbaceous perennials

Exbury, Southampton, Hampshire, England, SO45 1AZ

Open daily 1st March-31st October 2021, between 10am-5.30pm. Last admission 4.30pm, will close at dusk if earlier. The last steam train will usually depart at 3pm. Steam railway opening times may differ from gardens due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Adult - £14.30 (gift aid) £13.00 (standard) Child - £4.95 (gift aid) £4.50 (standard) Under 3s - Free Railway - £5.50

Visit the Exbury Gardens website

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