Ride the steam train

Railway enthusiasts can enjoy a day with a difference at Exbury, where a superb 12 ¼” railway runs along a 1¼ mile track through the gorgeous gardens.

Opened in 2001 as an added attraction alongside the magnificent gardens, the railway was the inspiration of enthusiast Leopold de Rothschild and the culmination of ‘A Dream that Became Steam.’ Today visitors can enjoy a relaxing 20 min journey as the train passes through the specially designed ‘Summer Lane’ Garden, now reaching maturity with huge swathes of colourful perennials, flowering grasses, a pool and maturing trees, all planted in a free-flowing naturalistic style. The railway skirts the top of the Rock Garden, where passengers are given a bird’s eye view of the largest man-made Rock Garden in Europe.

Children are not forgotten and they can enjoy looking out for Exbury’s woodland creatures, including deer, rabbits, a squirrel, frog – all made from moss. Aside from the moss animals, passengers regularly see pheasants from the train, and the occasional glimpses of deer, herons and kingfishers. After their railway journey, passengers are encouraged to explore Exbury’s roomy Engine Shed, where graphics, videos and memorabilia line the walls recalling steam’s heyday and the construction of the railway.

Visitors with wheelchairs are well catered for, and it is possible to attach up to four fully accessible carriages at any one time.

Hop aboard and enjoy the ride!

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‘What could be better on a trip down to the New Forest than a walk in a beautiful garden, a ride on a steam train (which my grandson adored!) and a chance to see the Beaulieu river close up? A memorable day out and a gem of a place’

Rob Gregory, Oxford

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