Abbotsbury in Dorset is home to a trio of wonderful attractions. In June 2017, we were invited to have a look around Abbotsbury Swannery during their baby swans event, and we had a great time. If you’re fans of wildlife, then this place is well worth a visit.
Abbotsbury Swannery is on the fleet, a short walk from the village of Abbotsbury. It is home to hundreds of swans who come back every year to breed and bring up their cygnets before they all depart again in the Autumn.
Getting to Abbotsbury Swannery
It’s fairly easy to find. The swannery is signposted from around Abbotsbury. There is plenty of free car parking available, or it is a short walk from the Children’s Farm up the road.
The swan colony lives a little walk away from the main visitor centre/shop/toilets. It takes about five to ten minutes to walk down there, depending on the size of your legs. There is a tractor ride for an extra charge, which will take you to the edge of the woods, and you then walk down a little further to the feeding area at the water’s edge.
The walk through to the feeding area is very pleasant. The shade was very welcome on the hot day that we visited, and there were lots of swan families to say hello to on the way through
Swan feeding at Abbotsbury Swannery
Feeding time is twice a day. At the feeding area, there are soooo many swans, all ready for you to feed them. There is a keeper to give you a talk on the swans and other water fowl who live on the Fleet, and lots of volunteers to dish out the food. When we went it was extremely busy, so the priority was to give all the children a turn first. And they did all get a turn, even if it meant having to wait until the very end. The food was starting to disappear fast though with lots of hungry swans.
Top tip – get to the feeding zone early and stand next to one of the two gates in the fence. This should mean you’re front of the queue and not have to wait quite so long
Around this area, there are also family pens to separate the very young families from the rest of the colony.
Once feeding time was over, we made our way back through the nature trail. Beware of the water hazards here, though it should be ok for littlies as long as they don’t try climbing any barriers!
You can even see a bouncing bomb at the end!
What to do at Abbotsbury Swannery
Aside from swans and other wildlife, there are plenty of other things to keep children entertained here. There is also a go-kart track (free), a hay bale climbing area, and a swan-shaped maze complete with trail sheet.
The maze was particularly good – collect a sheet from the shop on your way in and you can find clues to spell out a word, and enter your sheet into a prize draw.
There is also a play area back up next to the reception/shop/cafe but we didn’t get chance to try it out – there was plenty to be doing elsewhere!
About Abbotsbury Swannery
Visit time – Allow at least two hours, up to around five hours. Feeding time is at 12 noon and 4pm daily.
- Cygnets Hatching event is from mid May to end of June
- The Ugly Ducklings is July to October
- Cygnets Learning to Fly is September to October
For more information please visit Abbotsbury Swannery
You can buy a ‘passport’ which will give you entry to the Swannery, and also to Abbotsbury Children’s Farm, and the Subtropical Gardens. Check out the website of Abbotsbury Tourism to learn more
Disclosure – we were guests of Abbotsbury Swannery. All opinion is our own.