Hugely popular with groups, Exbury Gardens Steam Railway runs through the leafy Summer Lane Garden at the 200-acre New Forest visitor attraction – and this year it celebrates its 21st birthday. 

Here are five reasons to visit this summer:

• The 1 ½-mile railway, named the Rhododendron Line, boasts three engines and ten carriages, all named after members of the Rothschild family, which embark from Exbury Central station, a replica of Aviemore station in Scotland.

• The railway meanders past Exbury’s renowned rock garden; the Dragonfly Pond where you can spot these beautiful creatures on sunny days; Domesday Yew and American Garden before steaming through a curved tunnel modelled on the famous Gothic folly, the Clayton Tunnel in West Sussex.

• Over the years the railway has welcomed members of the royal family aboard, with The Queen visiting twice, riding on the footplate at the front of the train.

• Like the rest of the gardens, the steam railway is dog-friendly, so well-behaved dogs on a short lead can ride in a carriage with their owners.

• Steam railway events for 2022 include the Halloween Ghost Train (24-30 October) and Christmas Weekends in December.

The attraction is open daily, and arrival time slots must be booked online in advance at 

Gardens Admission – adult £13.50 (£11 1 July – end of season 2022), child £5.50, under 3s free. Steam railway £5.50 (under 5s free).

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