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!


‘We recently had some friends from London to visit and were looking for something to entertain their 3 and our 2 young children for the day. We decided to give Exbury Gardens a try and I thought I would just write to thank your team so much for such a wonderful day. There was something for all ages and when the children are happy so are us parents! We had Sunday lunch in the restaurant and the food was far superior to other local attractions so compliments to the chef. We told the children that if they ate all their lunch they could have a ride on the train and I haven’t seen 5 kids eat with so much enthusiasm for a very long time! Walking through the gardens was beautiful with lots of little pathways to explore. The children could not believe the size of the fish in the lake and it was a thoroughly fantastic day out for all ages. I have lived in the Romsey area for many years and always thought Exbury was a little out of the way but it only took me 20 minutes from the motorway and Beaulieu was only 5 minutes away so we went to see the donkeys on the way home! We will definitely be a regular visitor from now on.’

Philip Moulds, New Forest

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