22nd May: Exbury Gardens

Spent the day at Exbury Gardens (near Beaulieu) with friends Wendy Leeks and Zoe Shelley. In the morning we walked down to the Beaulieu River. Banks of rhododendrons in flower.  In a wisteria covered pergola it was like being behind a waterfall; a great place for a child to play “peek-a-boo”.  The tea rooms were too crowded to contemplate buying lunch so we went to the Royal Oak at Hill Top where I had “Pan Seared Scallops with a Chorizo Butter Sauce, Petit Pois Puree & Crispy Celeriac Straw Crisps” served on a slate tile off the roof* – yummy.

Back at Exbury we got lost in the rock garden – “thought to be the largest in Europe”. More spectacularly landscaped than the morning’s walk down to the Beaulieu River, the northern section of the gardens includes the miniature steam railway line which we kept stumbling upon. Hot sunshine back at the Royal Oak garden for a refreshing drink before back to Southampton – a good day!

*only joking, the roof looked complete!