Dear Mummy, every year we make our pilgrimage to see the beautiful flowers at Exbury Gardens. We try to attend when the Azaleas are out and they never fail to take our breath away.
The gardens are world-famous and attract visitors from beyond the UK. Tourists and garden enthusiasts travel to see the landscape come to life in an array of rainbow brights.
Exbury Gardens is a famous garden in Hampshire, England, which belongs to a branch of the Rothschild family. It is situated in the village of Exbury, just to the east of Beaulieu across the river from Bucklers Hard. It is well signposted from Beaulieu and from the A326 Southampton to Fawley road in the New Forest.
Our annual visit was a bit later than usual and unfortunately we missed the fields of daffodils which have died off surprisingly early due to the mild weather. Also the bluebells are up and replace the daffodils where they once stood. A perfect time to visit the gardens is around March, April or May but they are still beautiful all year round.
It’s Easter Weekend and we’re down to participate in the Exbury Gardens celebrations. We briefly see the Easter Bunny which tries to allude us at every turn. My mummy only spotted him twice on our Easter Saturday visit. His ears bobbing over the hedges followed by over excited children… he might have even been running away from them! 😉
Along with our friends we took part in the Easter Egg Trail and had lots of fun completing over 2500 steps tracking them down across the gardens. Thankfully my little legs can just about keep up with the grown ups now. Even my mummy gets excited screaming that she’s found one before we did. Every egg led to a clue which my friends and I marked on our Easter hunt sheets. Completing the trail earnt us a special golden egg which contained hidden surprises.
We have always been impressed with the world-famous displays of rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias and we weren’t disappointed on this visit. I excitedly walked up pathways, collecting fallen petals and decorated fallen branches.
My folks find fallen walking sticks, helpfully left by previous visitors, as my mummy needed a bit of help getting around the vast site. She still hasn’t fully recovered from her recent collapsed lung experience and is slowly on the mend thankfully. Fresh air is always a good remedy for lungs and she basked in the afternoon sunshine which was warm when it finally peeked through the grey cloud.
We watched as the sunshine filters over the grass and up on the flowerbeds, transforming the flowers from dull hues into vivid brights. Exbury Gardens is beautiful on a grey day but spectacular on a sunny one!
Our expedition takes us around nearly the whole site. We leisurely amble pass the daffodil field (one of my friends almost disappears down a hole much to our amusement) into the Secret Garden (a sundial garden) towards the Japanese garden and lake. There are over 20 miles of pathways to discover, three ‘enchanted’ woods, I like to think they are magical and wonderful open areas to run around in and have picnics. There are benches if you prefer to sit at a table rather than the ground.
There were beautiful springtime colours popping up everywhere. We hunted for unusual plants growing amongst the beds. We were happily accompanied by another group of friends with their children who are the same age as me and everyone was taking photos. The gardens are so Instagram worthy my mummy says that it would be a shame not to capture their beauty!
We stop to admire the Wiggly Tree and perch for a while. Staring in awe at its large trunk and curling branches.
There were some unusual tree species like the Tulip Tree, Monkey Puzzle Tree, Mahogany Maple and weeping beech. We didn’t walk by the river on this occasion as the Easter Egg hunt kept us busy, but did enjoy a 20 minute ride on the steam railway. Infact it was so popular on the days we visited that they put on two trains running simultaneously. The Train conductor was very funny and explained that they had recently increased the length of the track due to it’s popularity. The ceremony was performed by Hampshire historian broadcaster Dan Snow, who lives nearby.
He became the latest VIP to enjoy a ride on the Exbury Gardens Railway, which has been welcoming passengers since the line opened in 2001. Other famous passengers have included The Queen and two of Britain’s best-loved actresses. Now the narrow gauge railway at Exbury Gardens, near Beaulieu, is steaming into a new era following the opening of a £50,000 extension to the line.
Exbury Steam Railway is located in the North East of the gardens and goes on a journey across the pond in Summer Lane Garden, along the top of the rock gardens and into the American Garden. The railway was built-in 2000–2001 as an additional attraction in the gardens and is well worth a ride. You can see the station as you drive into the car park which always adds to the excitement.
We also indulged in afternoon tea at the onsite restaurant/cafe called Mr Eddy’s Tea Room. The food was not cheap, however the portions are excellent and very tasty. There is an abundance of inside and outside seating and the service is efficient and friendly too. On the day we visited they even had an outdoor barbecue which made us all very hungry with the smell. My mummy chose The Easter Cake, which was a combined fruit cake with almond and marzipan which was delicious. They also serve my favourite New Forest ice cream.
Everytime we visit Exbury Gardens we make the effort to visit the famous bell. We’ve been taking photos of this bell and charting my growth over the years. Not only have the gardens grown but I’ve also sprouted and daddy is going grey like some of the trees! We had a great day…it was blooming marvellous and even more special when shared with friends.
Love Bella x