Thursday 4 March 2021

Feeling Spooky at Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway, Hampshire

 Our October Half Term was a bit of a weird one last year. Obviously we had  lockdown to contend with but with the rules relaxed somewhat, we wanted to have a few covid safe days out to make things as normal as possible! 

We love a spooky day out and my kids love nothing more than donning fancy dress so it was with great excitement that we booked a day out at Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway in Hampshire for their special Halloween festivities. 

Managed by the Rothschild Family, Exbury Gardens has over 200 acres of beautiful walks and gardens, suitable for all ages. With the Steam Railway on site, it's the perfect family day out if you're visiting the New Forest area. 

We raised a few eyebrows as we pulled up with the Grim Reaper sat in the back of the car! We had pre-booked our tickets online and it was nice and straightforward getting in. We loved the spooky decorations in the foyer, one of those witches looked awfully familiar...

Once inside, we made our way over to the Rock Garden where the Halloween trail was. This was a big hit with the kids and we spent lots of time looking for the clues and letters. The decorations were brilliant and really spooky, but without taking away how pretty the gardens were. 

It was soon time to board the ghost train and we were all excited/a little nervous about this! The train station was decked out in fantastic Halloween decorations and I loved all the little details like the spooky posters. 

The steam train began it's journey and we were entertained by the ghoulish characters on board who told jokes and sang for us. Along the way we caught glimpses of more spooky characters who popped up alongside the carriage! 

The route around the gardens takes in Summer Lane Garden, Rock Garden, Dragonfly Pond and even through a creepy, dark tunnel. The little ones weren't too keen on the tunnel, especially when the witch appeared and chased after the train! 

Look carefully at the far side of the lake! 

There are a couple of options for food and drink at Exbury - obviously these depend on Covid regulations and seasonal openings. When we visited, Mr Eddy's Restaurant was offering take-away only but there were lots of  options for families and reasonably priced. We picked up some chicken goujons and fries (plus a giant burger for Elliot!) and were able to find a bench outside to eat on. I also spotted a vegan pop up kiosk near the entrance that seemed to be busy! 

We spent the remainder of the afternoon exploring the rest of the gardens and taking in all the gorgeous Autumnal colours. It really is a photographer's dream here in October with so many vibrant colours. 

We had a fantastic spooky day out at Exbury Gardens and will certainly return to explore the bits we didn't get to see. We loved the Halloween event, and we won't forget the ghost train in a hurry! 

At the time of writing, Exbury Gardens are currently closed due to Covid-19 restrictions but are due to reopen on March 29th 2021. The Steam Railway is scheduled to open on Monday 12th April. If you're planning a visit, please check the website before you go to ensure they are open. 

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