Want to explore a magical kingdom? Need to find a particularly beautiful picnic spot? Have someone with you who is riding in a pram or a mobility vehicle? Then this is your place. Exbury is a private house and gardens a few miles east of Beaulieu.
The owners are part of the Rothschild family. Many of them it appears, are gardening addicts. Generation after generation have picked up the spade and gardened around the lovely house.
The house holds court in an extraordinary 200 acre garden of international regard. Several collections of special plants live here. Compared to smaller gardens, that are open to the public, it’s not particularly well known in Hampshire or on the tourist trail.
You don’t need to be a gardener to love it here: We come because of:
– the amazing trees
– the colours in Spring and Autumn are breath taking
– the river walk
– the tracks which allow mobility vehicles and prams
– that dogs are welcome
– the train is such fun for children
– the excellent tea rooms.
It’s well worth a visit.
So the trees….. whilst the native oaks in the surrounding National Park are big, there are several foreign trees here which are massive.
Two in particular are worth a mention.
In 1729, a Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani) was planted by the Mitford family. It is absolutely massive. My camera didn’t do it justice. I felt like I was standing by a living dinosaur. It was quite humbling. Close to it stands another monster. In 1860, Lord Forster planted a Redwood tree (Sequoiadendron giganteum). It is now a tremendous beast. The two trees stand, like huge cousins, looking over the sea. It would be quite a thing to get up into their top branches and see the view.
The gardens are perfect for picnics and family adventures. Children will love the oceans of warm grass and shady lawns. Several streams meander – at the right height to trickle and babble – of course. Ponds are full with giant koi carp who will take food from your hands. There are good woodland walks by the beach here – also lovely places for picnics.
The tracks here are particularly good for wheeled vehicles. We saw lots of mums with prams. Those in a mobility scooter will enjoy nearly full access to the gardens.
The birdsong here is a treat. And the 4G and wifi is average. So if you’re wanting a proper ‘step off the world, day away’. This is a very good destination.