Summer 2024 at Exbury Gardens New Forest

From hydrangeas to dragonflies to donkeys and alpacas and family workshops to open air theatre and festival of music

Exbury Gardens - heavenly hydrangeas

Summer Specials at Exbury

Heavenly hydrangeas

As summer finally gets into its stride, the summer flowering shrubs and perennials at Exbury Gardens are enjoying their moment in the spotlight, where particular highlights include the Herbaceous, Centenary and Sundial Gardens, and Hydrangea Walk.

The hydrangeas are simply spectacular in summer, and if you love them too you might like to join one of Exbury's 'Seasonal Spotlight Tours' with one of Exbury's senior gardeners on 16 & 17 August, to find out all about them.

Book seasonal spotlight hydrangeas

 And before that, on 12 & 13 July the Spotlight Tours are of the beautiful summer perennials...

Book seasonal spotlight summer perennials

Celebrating dragonflies

To add to the treats, next week there’s a fabulous celebration of dragonflies and damselflies as part of Dragonfly Week which this year takes place between 6 and 14 July and during which the British Dragonfly Society and other wildlife organisations host events celebrating Dragonflies. Why are dragonflies important? What’s so special about them? How fast do they fly? Do they sting? Where do they spend most of their lives? And so on!

dragonfly 1000

At Exbury, specialist dragonfly naturalist and author of The Dragonfly Diaries Ruary Mackenzie Dodds, described by TV personality Chris Packham as "the greatest ambassador these insects have had in the UK…" will be giving an evening talk entitled ‘Dragonflies are important - Gardeners can help!’ (See more about Ruary here.) 

In his 45 minute illustrated talk, Ruary will turn you into experts on all things dragonfly, and show you why seeing dragonflies over ponds and lakes and rivers is so important for us.

At the last count there were still tickets available so book now if you’d like one!

Book dragonfly talk

A Multitude of Summer Events at Exbury

What you may not know though, is that there a spectacular line up of other events also takes place at Exbury through the summer months, culminating in the brilliant

Exbury Festival of Music

This takes place in late August every year and is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the grounds as first the evening sun seeps across the lawns, shrubs and trees, and then dusk falls, and finally darkness descends - by which time you're dancing in the very special atmosphere! Gates open at 6pm, performances start at 7pm. You are invited to come along with family and friends and picnic in the picturesque surroundings before the music begins (you are welcome to bring your own picnic, and refreshments will also be available to purchase). Bring your own picnic blanket or low back chairs, as seating is not provided.  

Book tickets here for this year's Exbury Festival of Music 22-24 August (click links to book):

21st Century Abba

The Upbeat Beatles

Motown by Moonlight 

Open Air Theatres

The Open Air Theatre takes is another special chance to enjoy the very special atmosphere of the gardens at a time of day when you wouldn't usually be able to!

This summer on 2 August there’s The Adventures of Dr Dolittle and it's worth reminding ourselves of the lovely plot!

'When Dr John Dolittle of Puddleby-on-the-Marsh is taught by his wise old parrot Polynesia how to talk to animals, news of his skills spreads far and wide.Soon animals across the world send messages asking for his help. So he buys a leaky old ship and, together with his trusty pet-crew of Jip the dog, Chee-Chee the monkey, Dab-Dab the Duck and permanently hungry Gub-Gub the pig, sets forth on a mission to heal illness, spread compassion and gain a greater understanding of the animal kingdom.'

Book tickets here for Dr Dolittle!

And towards the end of the holidays on 27 August there will be an Open Air Theatre production of the well known story of Romeo and Juliet, which promises passion and poetry in the perfect surroundings of Exbury Gardens at night!

More information and tickets for Romeo and Juliet

As with the Festival of Music, for the open air theatres you’ll need to bring picnic blankets or chairs as seating is not provided.

Lots more to enjoy

Meanwhile throughout the holidays there are lots of family entertainments on various dates - Devoted to Dogs, Donkey Days and Falconry Days, and workshops including Make a Wind Chime and a Butterfly House and indeed a Hanging Basket, Walking with Alpacas...plus a fabulous sounding Willows Swifts & Swallows Workshop.

See all summer events here 


Exbury Gardens - Festival of Music 2024

Experience the joy of Exbury Gardens Membership!

The joy of being a member is being able to go whenever you like, when you feel in the mood, without having to think about the cost.

You'll also have the pleasure of knowing you're helping to support and develop the beautiful gardens. The benefits are fantastic including not only unlimited gardens entry but also free train rides, discount at the catering outlets, in the gift shop and for special events, and invitations to exclusive tours and talks. Do click the button at the end of this section if you'd like to find out more.

Try it for a year and see!

  • Unlimited gardens entry
  • Free train rides
  • Discount at catering outlets
  • Discount in our gift shop Monthly newsletters
  • Discounts to special events
  • Invitations to exclusive tours and talks

Please note:

  • All memberships are valid for a calendar year from date of purchase
  • Individual, couple and family memberships are available
  • Family memberships include benefits for up to 3 children (aged 3-15)
  • 10% discount in the gift shop, plant centre and catering outlets

Friends of Exbury Membership - sign up here

Exbury Gardens sundial

Exbury Gardens is open throughout the spring, summer and autumn - each season has its own particular charms and star performing trees and shrubs, and favourite spots to linger. 


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