Postcode: SO45 1AZ - The Gardens are a spectacular 200 acre (100 hectare) site, world-famous for the Rothschild Collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and rare trees and shrubs. This earthly paradise offers a riot of colour in spring, an oasis of tranquillity in summer followed by a splendid show as the leaves change in the autumn. Discover Exbury’s hidden beauty and escape the cares of the world as you explore a myriad of pathways.
Let the train take the strain on a 20 minute journey or ride a chauffeur driven buggy to tour the Gardens.
Leopold de Rothschild has had a love affair with steam trains since early childhood. Having been inspired by the Exmoor Steam Railway at Bratton Fleming in Devon, Sue Sutherland Landscape Architects and Southern Planning Practice were appointed in March 1999, with a brief to design a circular route with a halt mid way to enable the very young, elderly and disabled to enjoy the gardens, whilst providing an exciting ride with appeal for all.
The design and creation of a completely new garden involved the reclamation of a former landfill site. Great care was taken in designing the route to minimise intrusion into the calm tranquil character of the existing gardens while also allowing glimpsed views of many of the Garden's well known and loved features. The Railway was opened in August 2001 and it’s construction has been recorded in the DVD "The Dream That Became Steam" Exbury has been fortunate to welcome Her Majesty the Queen as a steam enthusiast, most recently in May 2008, when she named the newest Exbury locomotive "Mariloo".
The Gardens will be looking magnificent at Easter, with magnolias and early rhododendrons in full flower, and swathes of primroses covering large areas of Home Wood and Yard Wood. The Camellia and New Camellia Walks are now looking at their very best. The tree collection can now be enjoyed using a Tree Trail Guide. This has been written by Head Gardener, John Anderson. At a gentle pace it takes approx. one and a half hours and gives historic and botanic information on twenty of Exbury's finest trees. The Tree Trail is available at the Gate and costs just 50p. A much more comprehensive guide is currently in development.
In creating Exbury Gardens from 1919 to 1942, Lionel de Rothschild established one of the finest collections of plants in Europe. He engaged on one of the largest hybridizing projects ever seen, and was a regular competitor at the Royal Horticultural Society annual shows.
Today the gardens continue to compete at RHS shows and put plants up for various awards. A selection of the plants raised and grown at Exbury and been given awards include:- Rhododendron "Albatross" raised by Lionel circa 1930 given Award of Merit in 1953; Rhododendron "Hawk" raised by Lionel in 1939, Award of Merit 1949; Rhododendron "Kilimanjaro" raised by Lionel , introduced by Edmund de Rothschild in 1947, received a First Class Certificate in 1947; Cotoneaster "Cornubia" raised by Lionel in 1930, received Award of Garden Merit in 2002, First Class Certificage in 1936 and Award of Merit in 1933.