Visiting Abbotsbury Swannery in Dorset
We have visited Abbotsbury Swannery twice; first time at the end of March and the second time in the beginning of May when new swans and other birds just have had the first new babies born. Either of visits were nice and we would go there again even just to have a nice walk around and enjoy this peaceful relaxing place in a company of of these amazing creatures.
The Swannery was established by Benedictine Monks in 11th century where they farmed the swans to produce food – how practical! They say that the Abbotsbury Swannery is a home to the world’s only managed colony of nesting mute swans, although that is not the only thing you will find there. From the entrance gate you will have to walk almost one kilometre (about 2,400 feet) to reach the colony of swans; free car parking is located in front of entrance. On the way to swannery, you will find other attractions such us labyrinth and a small ricing arena where usage of pedal driven means of transport are available free of charge.
There is something else you benefit from visiting Abbotsbury Swannery – you may buy a ticked with a huge 25% discount to also enter another site located nearby – Abbotsbury subtropical gardens. At a time we visited the Abbotsbury Swannery, there was an option to also enter another site designed very well for visitors with kids. However, this has been changed, hopefully temporarily, since pandemic begun in March 2020 (there still are some restrictions for visitors in 2020 due to coronavirus).
One of the most exiting things about Abbotsbury Swannery was feeding swans. At a time we visited swannery, the feeding was at 12pm – keep this in mind when planning your trip and booking tickets.
It was allowed for volunteers, especially kids, to enter the feeding area and feed swans with food they provided on site. This process was long enough to take a lot of photos and shoot videos. All swans from surrounding area were gathering together to get food. Before and after feeding you may walk around the territory using convenient paths and many other birds living in the area. There is also a small museum providing more information about swans and history of the site.
Usual swannery opening times are from 10am to 5pm all week, with last entry at 4pm; online ticket price for an adult is £10, for a child £5. Be aware that dogs are not allowed to enter the swannery. The minimum time for the visit might be two to three hours, although you may spend there even more time easily.
Abbotsbury subtropical gardens
After visiting swannery, we went to Abbotsbury subtropical gardens, a site located two and a half kilometres away by car. And again, there is a huge free of charge car parking across the road just in front of the entrance to the gardens.
About the history you may read on their website, the information provided is comprehensive. Amazing place both for adults and children to enjoy. All I may add is that gardens are really beautiful, especially during spring. There is a viewpoint where you may observe coastline and even see a bit of Abbotsbury Swannery; getting there is quite nice physical exercise though.
Opening times of gardens are from 10am to 5pm all week, with last entry at 4pm. Advance ticket costs £10 for an adult and £5 for a person of an age from five to fifteen; children up to five years enter free, buying tickets on site would be more expensive. Good news – dogs are allowed to enter the gardens!