Furzey Gardens is a magical and enchanted attraction suitable for all ages. There are 10 acres of gardens with paths, bridges and walkways to explore. They are open all year round allowing you to be able to enjoy the gardens in all seasons.
Visiting with young children
We love visiting the gardens with our 2 young children. Not only do they get to explore the colourful, beautiful gardens, they do so while searching for magical fairy doors!
Hidden among the enchanted gardens are many fairy doors of all different shapes and sizes. We didn’t want to share too many pictures of these because we didn’t want to spoil all your fun! Be sure to look out for the fairy school and the castle which are 2 of our favourites.
You can get a map from the cafe which allows you to follow a route or you can just ‘wing’ it. While we always take a map with us, our children love to be the ‘leaders’ taking us through the winding paths and through hidden walkways in an attempt to discover the next fairy door. The excitement on their faces when they find one is always magical.
The Gallery Gift and Coffee Shop
There is a lovely cafe on site which serves hot and cold drinks, a selection of barista coffees, hot and cold snacks, soups, sandwiches, homemade cakes and more. All of this can be enjoyed inside or outside on the covered terrace. On this particular occasion we did not eat here but we have many times before and have always been happy.
They are open daily from 10am – 5pm between February 17th and October 29th. From October 29th – December 10th it is only open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10am – 4pm. Please notice that the Gallery and Coffee Shop is open seasonally where as the Gardens are open all year round from 10am until sunset. This is important to note because this is where the toilets and baby changing is located and these facilities are only available when the Gallery is open. Always check the website before your visit for up to date openings.
On this particular occasion we decided to take a picnic. The weather was set to be glorious and the Coffee Shop can be a little pricy so we packed our picnic blanket and a yummy lunch. While there is lots of beautiful greenery to enjoy a picnic, the best location is at the start by the Coffee Shop. This is because this is where you will find the toilets.
While there are some picnic tables, there are not many, especially considering this is the most popular picnic spot. However, by having fewer picnic tables there is more green space for the children to run and play so in my personal opinion this is better. Just be sure to bring your picnic blanket.
As well as the fairy doors, there is also a play area to explore which includes tunnels to climb through and on, a boat to climb into and dens to explore. While this is a lovely play area for children, it is not particularly suitable for young children. My two are rather adventurous and whatever big brother does, sister wants to copy. Climbing on top of the tunnels is at a height and can be dangerous, walking through the tunnels poses problems because they can be tricky to access if a young child gets scared or stuck. The dens have narrow, wooden ladders to allow children to climb to the second floor; however this obviously poses risks for young children.
I think it’s lovely they have included this play area, especially for older children. However, when visiting with my little explorers, due to their young age and ability it can be quite tricky (and rather stressful when exploring on my own with them). Therefore, consider this when on your adventures and especially if you are visiting alone with more than one child, sometimes we skip this part (or walk through very fast!).
Visiting with a buggy – while you would be ok bringing a buggy, your visit would be much easier without. There are narrow paths, some steps and uneven terrain which would mean a carrier would be more suitable if you had much younger explorers with you.
Don’t wander too far ahead – there are ponds and streams within the gardens and lots of winding paths. While it’s great for the children to run and explore don’t let them go too far out of sight!
Picnic blankets – if having a picnic don’t forget your blanket because picnic tables are sparse and popular.
Toilets – there are only 3 toilets located in the Gallery and Gift Shop and these can get VERY busy in the popular seasons. This can prove quite tricky when you have young children who decide they urgently need to go. Therefore, it would be worth bringing a travel potty if you have one. Something like this:
How suitable is Furzey Gardens for families visiting with young children?
The play area is not age appropriate and the toilet situation can be difficult. However, the enchanting gardens and magical fairy doors make this an attraction not to be missed. We love visiting Furzey Gardens and will continue to do so for many years to come.
Entrance to the gardens is free for children under the age of 4. Children aged 4-16 pay £4.50 (reduced rate of £2.50 in winter) and adults pay £8 (reduced rate of £5 in winter). For more details and information visit the official website here.
The Gardens are open daily all year from 10am until sunset. However, the Gallery and Coffee Shop has seasonal opening times.
For more ideas on how to entertain your little explorers in The New Forest, read about our adventure day.