Exbury Gardens

Exbury Gardens

Exbury Gardens is a gardener’s paradise. Whether you are a seasoned horticulturist, a lover of flowers or a child ready to be entranced by woodland and wildlife, everyone will enjoy a wonderful family day out.

What makes Exbury Gardens famous is its unique Rothschild collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, rare trees and plants, set in 200 acres of oak woodland. It’s a colourful wonderland just waiting to be explored.

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The Banking Gardener

We have Lionel Nathan de Rothschild to thank for Exbury Gardens. Lionel was born in 1882 and despite the fact he couldn’t escape his banking destiny, it didn’t prevent him dedicating his life to the pursuit of knowledge about flowers, plants and trees. As he said himself he was, “a banker by hobby, a gardener by profession”. This coincided with an era of exploration when intrepid gardeners were bringing back seeds of hitherto unseen species of plants to the UK from as far afield as the Himalayas and South East Asia. Many of them ended up being planted and cultivated in Exbury Gardens fertile soil.

Exbury Gardens in the Second World War

For such a peaceful place, Exbury Gardens played a surprisingly key role in the Second World War. A German Junker 188 flew over the D-Day preparations in the Solent on 18 April 1944 and was shot down and crashed in the grounds. If it had made it back to Germany the whole course of the war, and outcome, could have been very different. This episode was immortalized in Nevil Shute’s novel “Requiem for a Wren'. Author John Stanley has attempted to solve the riddle of how this plane came to be flying over Exbury in his book “The Exbury Junkers A World War II Mystery”.

Exbury memorial to D-Day landings

Exbury House also played a key role in the D-Day landings, and was where much of the planning of this incredible operation was done. Today, this is marked by a commemorative plaque, set in a block of Purbeck stone, which stands looking out over the Solent and the river, and across the channel towards the beaches of northern France.

Tour of Exbury Gardens

One of the most popular ways to enjoy the gardens is simply to walk them. Spring and Autumn sees the gardens ablaze with colour but of course the gardens can be enjoyed at any time of year. Maps for walking tours are available

Exbury Gardens Steam Railway

A very popular way to explore the gardens in all their glory, especially for children and families, is aboard the Steam Railway. It huff and puffs its way through individually themed gardens, over a bridge, through a tunnel and along a causeway. Budding locomotive drivers of all ages can even learn how to drive the steam railway as part of the Exbury Footplate Experience.

Gift Shop and Plant Centre

If Exbury Gardens has worked its magic on you, perhaps you’ll want to bring a little bit of the experience home with you. A visit to our Gift Shop and Plant Centre will give you all the inspiration you need.

Exhibitions and Events

Craft fairs, open air theatre, sculpture exhibitions, orchestral evenings, there’s no end to the number and variety of events we regularly hold at Exbury Gardens. The gardens also make a perfect setting for wedding receptions and corporate events.

Exbury Gardens

Visitor Information

Exbury Gardens are open daily from early March to early November, 10am – 5pm last admission. Gates close 6pm or dusk if earlier.

Restaurant; Tea Rooms; Gift Shop; Plant centre; Buggy Tours; free parking; free wheelchair loan service; dogs welcome on short lead. Exbury Gardens

Exbury Gardens
Southampton
SO45 1AZ

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