For two weekends this December, the good folks at Exbury Gardens have opened up their stunning grounds for free, enabling visitors to explore on foot and ride Santa’s Postal Express (train ride costs £5 per person, under 3s are free).
The staff spared no effort to make sure the children had a magical Christmas experience. At the entrance we collected our eye spy and scavenger hunt packs and the delighted children were eager to tick off various items from the list. Soon after we entered the gardens, we encountered Santa and his elves on a bench. The children were enthralled. It was the perfect start to our visit.
After saying goodbye to Santa, we headed towards Exbury Central station to board the Postal Express. The steam train is available to ride throughout the year and at Christmas it is suitably decorated with tinsel and baubles to become the Postal Express, a very important train delivering letters to Santa.
The 20 minute ride throughout the beautiful gardens was made even more festive by reindeer, robins, elves, stockings and even a nativity scene for the children to spot. They were enchanted throughout the whole trip – my two year old sat still for the entire 20 minutes, which is quite an achievement in itself.
After a quick stop at the Elfie Selfie Booth, where the children had fun posing for photos with the exciting props provided, we headed to the play park.
It was then time for lunch in the tearooms. The elves were holding some art and craft workshops, which even the smallest hands could participate in. Face-painting and glitter tattoos were also available.
Before heading home, we had an encounter with some beautiful owls – a lovely end to a truly magical and memorable day. If you are looking for Christmas Activities in the New Forest (check out this post too), I’d really recommend a trip to Exbury Gardens. As well as being budget friendly, it is a magnificent day out for children and adults alike.