18 May Exbury in the spring
World famous for its Rothschild Collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and rare trees and shrubs, spring is the most beautiful time of the year to visit Exbury Gardens in The New Forest. We visited on a cool and cloudy spring day, but it was still spectacular.
There are more than 20 miles of paths to explore, and children can play spot the woodland creature, with a series of sculptures of deer, rabbits, lizards and meerkats alongside some very real pheasants, deer, herons and kingfishers!
The grounds make for a stunning peaceful walk down towards the Beaulieu River. There are so many different corners to explore: formal gardens, informal gardens, ponds, meadows, a bog garden and a rock garden, woodlands with ancient yew trees, shady walks along rivers, and spring carpets of sapphire haze created by bluebells alongside bubbling streams.
There’s a special family ticket and kids love racing along in the wind and rain as happily as in bright sunshine, only stopping to tuck into a picnic at one of the little hideaway spots.
Little ones love the play area, the specially designed family trail and activities, and the steam railway which chugs and whistles its way happily through the rhododendrons
The Gardens are also dog-friendly. Although dogs have to be kept on a short lead, which can be tough when you’re walking with a boisterous Beagle, Bonios are handed out as a matter of course in the tearooms.
At the exit is a small nursery with some specimens of the amazing plants in the collection to take home with you – worth a visit in its own right if you’re in the area.
Tickets and opening times for Exbury Gardens can be found here.