We decided to make the most of a Sunday and take a trip to Exbury Gardens in the New Forest, Hampshire. My colleague at work was telling me that it was definitely worth the trip at this time of year to see The Rothschild collection of Camellias, Azaleas and Rhododendrons. Whether you are a horticulturist, amateur gardener, family or lover of colourful places and views, this is the place for you!
Tickets for the gardens can be combined with a steam train ride which children would love. You can also take dogs so Dottie came too. Not surprisingly, the teens stayed at home…..revising apparently! The gardens are quite extensive so comfy shoes are a must but there are clearly marked paths and a map to help guide you. Children can take part in a family trail, there is a fantastic woodland play area plus various picnic sites to choose from. There are a few steps towards the lower part of the garden but a shuttle service is offered for a small price which can take you and pick you up from various places around the garden should you need it.
The gardens are absolutely stunning and April/May is definitely the time to go. There are so many acid loving plants here including my favourite Acer’s. The photographs show you better than I can describe it to you. All I can say is the smell was amazing!
In the centre of the garden is the Japanese Garden with bridge, cascades and ponds. This was the highlight for me as the plants were ablaze of colours.
At the very end of the garden was an amazing view of the River Beaulieu and you can just see the Isle of Wight in the distance. It took about 11/2 hours of wandering to reach this part and marks the end of the garden. The benches offered a lovely rest and the views were worth the walk.
After this we went to the Tea Room for a coffee and piece of cake which was very reasonable in price. You could also buy Toasties and Panini’s. At the entrance there is another restaurant which has a greater choice.
All in all this is a brilliant garden to visit and definitely worthy to be part of My Glorious Gardens Series!