Wednesday 20 April 2016

Meeting the Swans at The Abbotsbury Swannery, Dorset

Following on from my last post about the lovely Children's Farm in Abbotsbury, here's part 2 and it's all about the Swannery. Which as the name suggests, has lots of swans!

Abbotsbury Swannery is home to 600 swans and is the only managed colony of nesting mute swans in the world.

I had never visited before so I was looking forward to exploring but I wondered what Elliot would make of the swans! When he was smaller he had a bit of a traumatic experience when we got chased by some very aggressive swans in Christchurch as we tried to feed them...needless to say he's always been a bit wary around large birds!

When we arrived at the Swannery we parked in the free carpark and headed straight for the play area which Elliot immediately spotted. He also spotted the ice-cream sign!! The Swannery cafe serves locally produced hot and cold food and has a amazing selection of Marshfields ice-cream. I'm afraid to say the diet got momentarily forgotten as I tucked into some salted caramel ice-cream....mmm :)

Guess who had chocolate ice cream ;)
One important thing to remember about the Swannery is that the only toilets are located next to the cafe and there aren't any down by the swans. So it's worth taking the kids before you go in!

Entrance is via the gift shop and when I'd finally dragged Elliot away from the toys we began our walk down to the swans. It's not far, just quarter of a mile and it was a lovely walk through fields. There were lots of sheep grazing and lots of very cute lambs hopping around! We also saw a few pheasants..or peasants as Elliot kept calling them! "Look there's another peasant Mummy!"....could have been awkward ;)

We passed the Giant Swan Maze on our way down but I'd been told this was a little muddy so we skipped this and had a go on the go-karts instead. The go-karts are quite large and not really suitable for little ones but Elliot insisted I push him round!!

There were lots of displays featuring the history of the swannery and information about the swans. I had no idea that the Swannery had been there so long - since the 1040's! Elliot was very interested in the swan bones and he spent ages looking at that display.

Walking along the pathway towards the Swannery was so peaceful and it wasn't long before we saw nesting swans and Elliot loved spotting the large eggs. There were nests everywhere, even on the path but the swans didn't seem bothered by the people walking past.

The swans are fed at 12pm and 4pm and it's well worth timing your visit with the feeds. It was the highlight of our afternoon and Elliot loved it! All the swans are kind of herded into the water and the children are invited up to grab a bucket of swan food and they can stand on the edge and feed the swans. When we visited it was really quiet so Elliot was able to have several turns feeding the swans. It was an amazing sight, I've never seen so many swans in one space!

After the mass feeding we followed the path way and headed onto the nature trail. Elliot was flagging at this point and walking at a snails pace - he was pretty tired after a busy day of exploring! There is a fair amount of walking involved at the Swannery so it's worth bringing a buggy if your little ones tire easily.

Believe it or not, he was tired at this point! 
We finally made it back to the gift shop and Elliot spent absolutely ages looking at all the toys! One cuddly swan purchase later and we were making our way back to Poole...Elliot fell asleep the minute the engine started :)

We had a really nice day out exploring Abbotsbury and it would be great to return in May when the cygnets start hatching.


Individual Tickets:
- Adult: £12
- Child (5-15 yrs): £9
- Super Saver Family Ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children): £43, includes entry into the Swannery, Children's Farm and Subtropical Gardens.

Passport Tickets (one visit to each of the three attractions)
- Adult: £17
- Child (5-15 yrs): £14
- Family (2 adults and up to 3 children): £43, includes entry into the Swannery, Children's Farm and Subtropical Gardens.

Open every day from 19th March to 30th October, 10am to 5pm. 

Linking up with..
ANIMALTALESMudpie FridaysLet's Talk Mommy
Run Jump Scrap!


  1. This looks really beautiful and a great day out. but I think I would be really scared standing next to all those swans #bestandworst

  2. Sounds like you had a lovely family day out! #bestandworst

  3. Oh my that is a lot of swans I have never seen so many before. Looks like a lovely day out in the fresh air and plenty of sunshine too. It must have been amazing to listen to them noise and watch them be fed. Looking forward to seeing this one on country kids. #Sharewithme

  4. Looks like so much fun, we are on holiday that way later in the year and I really want to visit! Xx #bestandworst

  5. Looks like so much fun, we are on holiday that way later in the year and I really want to visit! Xx #bestandworst

  6. Goodness me that is such a lot of swans and I never know about the age of this swannery. What a great place to visit and to help people learn about these magnificent birds. Thank you so much for adding this post to #AnimalTales

  7. This looks great, we want to go! I saw a leaflet for Abbotsbury the other day, so wondered what it was like, how serendipitous to find your posts via #AnimalTales, thank you.

  8. Oh wow this place looks great, Monkey is not that good with swans but it looks like you are away from them when feeding and it may help him get over his thing! Although I am not keen on places where you have to walk through the gift shop to enter or exit! Thank you for joining us at #BloggerClubUK hope to see you again this week x

  9. Ahhh looks like a fun place for the family to go and the weather really was so lovely for you. My kids would love a place like this. Great captures. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me. #sharewithme


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