Discover new woodland wonders, family nature trails and dazzling spring colour at Hampshire’s Exbury Gardens in 2021

  • NEW River Walk – learn about native trees on a woodland trail towards the Beaulieu River estuary
  • NEW Dragonfly Pond learning zone & Dragonfly Halt steam railway stop [2020 launch postponed by lockdown]
  • Spring bulb extravaganza in Daffodil Meadow and the River of Gold, plus world-famous display of camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons
  • Rock garden revamp and oak tree planting programme

Embrace nature and discover the magnificence of Britain’s native trees on a new woodland trail when it opens at Exbury Gardens, one of the south’s most famous gardens, this spring.

The new River Walk will allow visitors to explore previously-hidden woodland within the 200-acre New Forest garden, with glimpses of the Beaulieu River estuary. Interpretation boards will explain how to spot some of our iconic native trees. Stretching nearly half a mile past mature oaks, field maples, yews and hazels, the trail will meander from Daffodil Meadow, which is planted with thousands of the yellow spring favourites, to the stunning flower-filled Azalea Bowl.

Garden fans can also get their spring floral fix from the River of Gold, a 100,000-bulb colour burst that weaves around rare trees near Exbury House, and from acres of world-renowned Exbury camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas.

Also new for the 2021 season will be the opportunity to:

  • spot wildlife action at a new Dragonfly Pond1 learning zone. Designed with the help of the UK’s leading dragonfly experts, this area will boast info boards filled with dragonfly facts and take-away tips on how you can encourage these wonderful creatures into your own back garden. An existing, large ornamental pond in the gardens has been adapted for the insects with dragonfly-friendly, native aquatic and marginal plants. Also alight from Exbury’s renowned Rhododendron Line steam railway at a new Dragonfly Halt platform to explore the pond area.
  • check out the rare and interesting plants being given new homes in the revamped Rock Garden. First built around 100 years ago, the Rock Garden is considered to be one of the largest in Europe.
  • discover 30 new native oak trees planted across the garden as part of a three-year project to help restore the magnificent tree canopy.

Tom Clarke, head gardener at Exbury Gardens, said: “In 2021 we are looking forward to celebrating the beautiful, unique, natural setting of Exbury by extending access into more woodland that visitors won’t have seen before and opening up nature areas such as our new Dragonfly Pond.

“We are also investing in the garden’s legacy for future generations by planting lots of new trees to enhance biodiversity and regenerate the treeline, and adding even more rare plants and shrubs to the Rock Garden.”

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 Gardens has grown to become a stunning garden paradise filled with rare plants, shrubs and trees. It boasts over 20 miles of pathways and trails.

Exbury Gardens was one of the first garden attractions in the south to reopen to the public after lockdown ended and saw a boost in admission numbers over summer and autumn 2020 from visitors keen to explore the natural world in safety. It is a proud holder of Visit Britain’s ‘We’re Good To Go’ certification, showing it adheres to current Government and public health guidance.


For further information or images, contact PR Emma Mason on 07762 117433 or Celise Galloway on 023 8024 5754

Notes for editors

1 – Dragonfly Pond project launch had been planned for summer 2020 but has been rescheduled for summer 2021

Exbury Gardens, located in the New Forest near Southampton, is open daily from 1 March 2021 10am – 5.30pm. Arrival time slots must be booked online in advance at

Thanks to its unrivalled collection of rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias, Exbury Gardens is famed for its riot of spring colour, as well as a vast array of beautiful, mature rare trees. Over recent years the Hampshire garden has been expanded for all-season interest with areas designed to show off summer and autumn ‘flower power’, as well as an extension of its 1 ½-mile Rhododendron Line steam railway.

To learn more about Exbury’s COVID-19 safety measures, please visit Safety Measures FAQs page on its website by clicking this link