About the garden
Marcus Agius (Director)
Now celebrating more than 100 years, Exbury Gardens sits on 200-acres and consists of a spectacular collection of woodland, herbaceous, contemporary, formal and wildflower gardens. These impressive gardens, which were created and are still managed by the Rothschild family, border the Beaulieu River and boast a narrow-gauge steam railway, plus a newly refurbished restaurant and outdoor café.
Exbury is renowned for its spring colour and is set apart from other gardens by the world-famous hybrid rhododendron and azalea collection. Rhododendrons line the paths of the woodland areas of the gardens: Older plants form canopies of bright flowers, with younger plants offering bounteous displays of colour in every direction. The Azalea Bowl is a spectacle that cannot be missed in May, with clusters of bright azaleas creating a beautiful backdrop to one of Exbury’s many reflective and atmospheric ponds.
Exbury also has a large camellia collection, many rare and elegant magnolias and astounding wisterias that sometimes grow up oak trees. Visitors can also enjoy swathes of spring bulbs on Daffodil Meadow and at the River of Gold, which is made up of 100,000 yellow bulbs.
In the summertime, Exbury provides a shady sanctuary of tranquillity, characterised by the rare trees and shrubs that line the paths. Specially planted summer gardens, like the Sundial and Herbaceous gardens, showcase vibrant displays of dahlias, peonies, crocosmia and rudbeckia, among many other summer flowers. Exbury’s newest garden, The Centenary Garden, contains layers of grasses, exotic shrubs and herbaceous perennials, all presented in contemporary design that looks its best in late-summer and autumn. Exbury also boasts the recently reinstated Iris Garden and unprecedented compilations of hydrangeas that flower alongside paths throughout summer.
During autumn, careful planting showcases the cardinal red and orange of acers and the colourful blaze of sweet gums and dogwoods, as well as the National Plant Collection of Nyssa and Oxydendrum. Exbury is also home to (and propagates) a substantial collection of Nerine Sarniensis, a cape flower that glitters under light, which is on display for visitors in the Five Arrows gallery throughout October.
On top of all these horticultural delights, Exbury is also home to a delightful narrow-gauge steam railway that travels around the northern area of the gardens, through a tunnel and over a bridge.