Exbury Gardens was the destination for a much needed socially distanced mooch with my pal, Annie recently. We hadn’t met up in months and I think both of us were feeling the social distance living at opposite ends of the M3 so with the weather looking good for a morning’s mooch we headed off last week. I hadn’t been before but Annie lives locally so has annual pass and knows the gardens well.
There are over 200 acres of gardens and they are all connected by well kept pathways, or the steam railway.
Tickets for the railway are extra and you do need to book which one you want to go on but there are lots to choose from. Covid-19 guidelines have been followed and the train is cleaned in between each trip, and lots of spaces
Within the 200 acres there’s a bog garden, a winter garden, a sundial garden and Witcher’s Wood, amongst others. Obviously the gardens are seasonal so it is safe to say that no two trips will be the same as the gardens are constantly changing. We went along a beautifully crisp day and were impressed by the safety measures in place:
You MUST book in advance and arrive at your selected time.
The gift shop is closed and you enter via a new visitor entrance, giving your name (lots of hand sanitiser around too).
Once in the gardens it is easy to think you have the place to yourselves because numbers are limited so when you do come across other people it is easy to step aside and give each other space. I also loved that so many people had their dogs with them!
There are a couple of places to get drinks and snacks (try the sausage rolls they were extraordinary) and there are loos too.
This is definitely the sort of garden you want to visit at various points of the summer to see how much it changes. And I defy you to not stand at the rear of the property and imagine having a barbecue on the perfectly manicured lawn.
You cant go in the property as it is the family home of the Rothschild Family for over 100 years and it is obvious just what the property and grounds mean to the family.
The opening hours of Exbury House are 10am to 5.30pm seven days a week, and if you happen to be in the area for a weekend how about popping along to Mottisfont, just half an hour away.