South East - Hampshire


Exbury, Southampton,
SO45 1AZ in the New Forest
t: 023 8089 1203
f: 023 8089 9940

Railway enthusiasts can enjoy a day with a difference at Exbury in the New Forest, where a superb 12 ¼” railway runs along a 1 1/4 mile track through one of the most famous Gardens in the world. Renowned for its spring collections of rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias, the Gardens cover some 200 acres and border the beautiful Beaulieu River.

In 2014 the Gardens were designated as a ‘Camellia Garden of Excellence’ – one of only 30 such gardens in the world to be afforded this honour. Whilst spring sees ‘The Rothschild Collection’ in full bloom, summer visitors will delight in Exbury’s extensive herbaceous borders, hydrangea walks and exotic flowering Sundial Garden. Autumn brings spectacular colour from the National Collection of Nyssa and Oxydendrum and displays of Jewel Lilies in the Gardens Five Arrows Gallery.

Opened in 2001 as an added attraction alongside the magnificent Gardens, the railway was the inspiration of enthusiast Leopold de Rothschild and the culmination of ‘A Dream that Became Steam.’ Today visitors can enjoy a relaxing 20 min journey as the train passes through a specially designed ‘Summer Lane’ Garden, now reaching maturity with huge swathes of colourful perennials, flowering grasses, a pool and maturing trees, all planted in a free-flowing naturalistic style. The railway skirts the top of the Rock Garden, where passengers are given a bird’s eye view of the largest man-made Rock Garden in Europe, undergoing a restoration project begun in 2013. Children are not forgotten and they enjoy looking out for Exbury’s woodland creatures, including deer, rabbits, a squirrel, frog – all made from moss. There’s even a “monster” called “Hump – phrey” in the North Lake! Aside from the moss animals, passengers regularly see pheasants from the train, and the occasional glimpses of deer, herons and kingfishers. After their railway journey, passengers are encouraged to explore Exbury’s roomy Engine Shed, where graphics, videos and memorabilia line the walls recalling steam’s heyday and the construction of the railway.

Visitors with wheelchairs are well catered for, and it is possible to attach up to four fully accessible carriages at any one time.

In addition to the railway, Exbury is considered very accessible for groups, who can choose to explore the Gardens on foot or via a buggy service which operates daily. Walking tours with the Head Gardener, a senior guide or a ‘Meet and Greet’ service are also offered, whilst Mr Eddy’s Tearooms can be pre-booked for morning tea or coffee, hot lunches or cream teas.

Award-winning Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway, on the banks of the Beaulieu River in the New Forest, is open from 14 March to 8 November 2015.

For more info visit or call 023 8089 1203

images © Colin Roberts



 Forthcoming Events at Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway



 Sat 13 – Sun 19 Jul: The Secret Garden

Exbury is delighted to host a brand new exhibition in the Gallery by local artist, Jill Fry. Jill’s interpretations of the natural world are inspired by the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett.


Sat 27 June:  Devoted to Dogs Day

Man’s best friend is welcome to visit Exbury on a short lead – and entitles his or her owner to a 20% discount on Gardens admission.


Fri 10, 17, 24 July: Summer Steam Soiree  

Enjoy a glass of Pimms or refreshing summer cocktail before boarding the Exbury Steam Railway for a 2-circuit ride through the Summer Lane Garden.  Ample back to Mr Eddy’s Restaurant and Tea Rooms for a seasonal two course buffet served on the terrace (weather permitting!)


Sat 25 – Sun 27 Sep: Look Twice Artists Exhibition

The Five Arrows Gallery hosts a delightful display of paintings by local artists, with many pieces for sale and demonstrations taking place.


Sat 25 July:  Saunter in the Sunshine Tour & Cream Tea

Join our knowledgeable guide as they lead you to the best of the seasonal colour.  Follow your tour with a sweet or savoury cream tea in Mr Eddy’s Tea Rooms.


Sat 29 August:  Heavenly Hydrangeas Tour & Cream Tea

Join our Gardens guide on a tour of Exbury’s extensive Hydrangea collection focussing on the Hydrangea and Jubilee Walks in the Yard Wood.


Sat 12 September: Sundial Gardens & Herbaceous Borders Tour & Cream Tea

Buzzing with insects and full of vibrant flowers, the Sundial Garden is a true gem in the heart of Exbury.  See the finest annuals and perennials in the Herbaceous Borders.


Sat 26 September: September Stroll & Lunch

Join our knowledgeable guide as they lead you to the best of the seasonal colour.  Follow your tour with a sweet or savoury cream tea in Mr Eddy’s Tea Rooms.


Sat 3 October: Sun 1 November: Nerine Exhibition

Marvel at Exbury’s fantastic collection of Nerine sarniensis, or ‘Jewel Lilies’.  These extraordinary hybrids scintillate under the direct lights of the Five Arrows Gallery.


Sat 3 October: Amble through the Acers Guided Walk & Lunch

Autumn has arrived and the acers are ablaze with boughs of red and gold.  Join our Gardens guide on a journey to the best of the Japanese Maples.


Sat 10 October; Nerines & Glasshouse Tour

Join Theo Herselman in a behind-the-scenes visit to the Glasshouses where Exbury’s exquisite nerines are hybridised, then see the finest specimens on show in the Gallery.


Sat 24 October: RHS New Forest Breakfast Walk

Enjoy a wonderful early morning tour of the Gardens to see the best of the developing autumn colour and find fascinating fungi.  Followed by Breakfast in Mr Eddy’s using locally sourced produce.


Sat 7 November:  Maples of Magnificence Breakfast Walk

Sweetgums and dogwoods don their golden gowns and Exbury’s Nyssa and Oxydendrum take to the stage… but the magnificent maples are the real stars of this grand finale.