One of the south’s most famous gardens, Exbury Gardens in the New Forest, has reopened its gates to the public.

With 200 acres of stunning woodland landscape to explore and even some of its world-renowned rhododendrons still in bloom, Exbury is welcoming visitors back just as its summer flower-power season kicks off.

Special measures are in place to keep visitors safe including online ticket booking only, a daily visitor limit of 500 people, and time slots for entering the gardens, so arrivals can be staggered.

Visitors can enjoy a riot of plant colour in the herbaceous borders near Exbury House, the recently-opened Centenary Garden gearing up for its summer floral show, a revamped Iris Garden, a new Birch Walk, swathes of beautiful landscaped woodland, more than 20 miles of meandering pathways, and even some of Exbury’s famous rhododendrons putting on their last blossom of the season.

Dorset Society: Exbury Gardens in the New ForestExbury Gardens in the New Forest

 

“We have 200 acres of space at Exbury filled with the most beautiful plants and trees that look absolutely spectacular at the start of the summer, and we’re so looking forward to sharing it with our visitors again," says Lionel de Rothschild, chairman of Exbury Gardens Trust.

"There’s lots of room to roam and experience nature at its best, and we’re putting special protective measures in place to keep everyone safe.”

Created by Lionel de Rothschild in 1919, a passionate collector of plants and a keen supporter and sponsor of the early 20th century plant hunters, Exbury has grown to become a stunning garden paradise filled with rare plants, shrubs and trees. Its Centenary Garden, designed by Lionel’s great grand-daughter and RHS gold medal award-winning designer, Marie-Louise Agius, opened to the public last year.

“Over the last couple of months we’ve had fun sharing Exbury virtually over our social media channels but we can’t wait for the public to come back through the gates so they can experience the gardens first-hand and in all their glory,” says Marie-Louise, who has been posting images and video of the gardens during lockdown on Exbury’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds.

To visit Exbury, visitors can book advance tickets online and choose an arrival time for their entry to the gardens. Toilets will be open and sanitised regularly, and refreshments and sandwiches will be available to purchase Wednesday-Sunday. Steam railway trains and guided buggy tours will not be operating. Full details on how to book and tips on visiting can be found at exbury.co.uk