Exbury Gardens

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Exbury Gardens
Exbury Garden.JPG
Herbaceous borders near the house
Exbury Gardens is located in Hampshire
Exbury Gardens
Location in Hampshire
LocationNew Forest
Coordinates50°47′55″N 1°24′02″W / 50.7986°N 1.4005°W / 50.7986; -1.4005Coordinates: 50°47′55″N 1°24′02″W / 50.7986°N 1.4005°W / 50.7986; -1.4005
Operated byExbury Gardens Limited
DesignationGrade II*

Exbury Gardens is a garden in Hampshire, England, belonging to a branch of the Rothschild family. It is situated in the village of Exbury, just to the east of Beaulieu across the river from Bucklers Hard. It is well signposted from Beaulieu and from the A326 Southampton to Fawley road in the New Forest. The gardens are rated Grade II* on the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.[1]


Exbury House

Lionel Nathan de Rothschild purchased the Exbury estate in 1919 and soon set to creating a garden on an ambitious scale. The infrastructure included a water tower, three large concrete lined ponds, and 22 miles (35 km) of underground piping. Exbury is now open to the public for most of the year, with high seasons in the spring for the flowering shrubs and the autumn for the autumn colour.

Exbury House itself is a neoclassical mansion which was built around an earlier structure in the 1920s. It is not open to the public.

The gardens[edit]

Exbury is a 200-acre (81 ha) informal woodland garden with very large collections of rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias, and is often considered the finest garden of its type in the United Kingdom. Exbury holds the national collection of Nyssa (Tupelo) and Oxydendrum under the NCCPG National Plant Collection scheme run by the National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens.[2][3]

Other features include the Hydrangea Walk, the Rock Garden, Iris Garden, the Sundial Garden, Centenary Garden and Camellia Walk (which takes visitors to a path alongside Beaulieu river and back via the pond).


The gardens are run by a registered charity, Exbury Gardens Limited, whose objects are "to maintain, improve, develop and preserve Exbury Gardens in Hampshire, including opening them to the public, and to advance horticultural science, knowledge and learning for the public's benefit."[4]


In the summer, the gardens are served by the New Forest Tour open-top bus service.

Steam railway[edit]

"Naomi" with three coaches at Exbury Central

In the north east corner of the gardens there is also the 12 14 in (311 mm) gauge Exbury Steam Railway that goes on a journey through a tunnel, around Dragonfly Pond, through the Summer Lane Garden, along the top of the rock gardens and into the American Garden. The railway was built in 2000–2001 as an additional attraction in the gardens. Two narrow gauge style 0-6-2 tender tank locos were built specially for the line by the Exmoor Steam Railway. The railway is a member of Britain's Great Little Railways.

The railway however has proved to be more popular than anyone had anticipated, with trains often needing to be double headed. To solve this problem, a much larger 2-6-2 tender loco, called Marriloo, was built at Exmoor, and entered service on the line in 2008. It is notable for having carried the Queen on a footplate trip round the railway. The railway stages popular Ghost Trains during the October half-term and Santa Steam Specials in the run-up to Christmas.


  1. ^ Historic England. "Exbury House (1000167)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 27 December 2019.
  2. ^ NCCPG: Exbury - Oxydendrum[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ NCCPG: Exbury - Nyssa[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Charity Commission. Exbury Gardens Limited, registered charity no. 801349.

External links[edit]