Ride the steam train

Our superb 12 ¼” railway runs along a 1 ½ mile track and gives a sweeping view of the northernmost part of Exbury Gardens.


At the moment the train is running on the red timetable, at 12noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm every day. Our railway drivers may add additional trains on depending on visitor demand.


Opened in 2001, the railway was the inspiration of enthusiast Leopold de Rothschild and the culmination of ‘A Dream that Became Steam.’

The route

Visitors can enjoy a relaxing 20 minute journey as the train passes through the specially designed ‘Summer Lane’ Garden. Now reaching maturity, the huge swathes of colourful perennials, flowering grasses, a pool and maturing trees compliment one another 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.

For families

Children can enjoy looking out for Exbury’s sculpted woodland creatures, including deer, rabbits, lizards and meerkats. 

Passengers regularly see pheasants from the train, and the occasional glimpses of deer, herons and kingfishers.

The engine shed

After their railway journey, passengers are encouraged to explore Exbury’s roomy Engine Shed. Graphics, videos and memorabilia line the walls recalling steam’s heyday and the construction of the railway.

Additional information

  • Visitors that use wheelchairs are well catered for, with our fully accessible cariages (four at any one time).
  • Admission onto the steam train is only permitted by visitors who have purchased a Garden & Railway ticket. 

  • In exceptional circumstances, such as hot or dry weather, Exbury Gardens may use a diesel engine instead of a steam locomotive to reduce any risk of fire.

Take a ride with a train driver

New for 2018, enjoy a train ride next to a train driver as you sit and watch up close how a steam engine travels around our 1 1/2 mile track.

Participants must be 17+ yrs. Available to pre-book only.


‘A truly fantastic day out. My wife and I were bowled over by the amazing spring colours of rhododendrons and azaleas and there was literally colour everywhere. There are beautiful areas to walk through as well as places to sit. We took a picnic in the hope of being able to sit by one of the ponds and were not disappointed – the reflections were as spectacular as the real thing! The next thing we want to do is return in the autumn to see the colours change as it must be beautiful’

David Parker, Christchurch

Head Gardener's Notice Board

What to see in the garden on your visit


Juliet’s Jottings

What wildlife to spot in the gardens


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