“ Address: Church Street / Abbotsbury / Nr Weymouth / Dorset / DT3 4JJ / England „
I must start by saying that this review relates solely to Abbotsbury Swannery as we didn't visit the farm or tropical garden.
We travelled by car from Christchurch where we were staying with family to Abbotsbury and the roads as you approach the swannery are very small and would I imagine become very congested during peak season so I would advise setting out early.
Located in the Dorset countryside halfway between Weymouh & Bridport, Abbotsbury Swannery is one of Dorset's biggest attractions. The Swannery was established by Benedictine Monks who built a monastery at Abbotsbury during the 1040's. Today, Abbotsbury Swannery is the only place in the world where you can walk through a nesting colony of mute swans and you can get really close to them which is amazing.
Shortly after our arrival at the swannery, the weather turned and it became very windy and rainy which wasn't ideal for an outside attraction, so we didn't stay as long as we'd have liked, however we still enjoyed ourselves and I would recommend it to others.
When we went in late April, it was baby swan season and there were lots of cute fluffy cygnets to see, which in my opinion was the best thing about the trip - the mummy swans carry the babies around on their backs as they swim and it's beautiful to watch! It's really got the awwwwww factor!
Down by the water there is no shelter whatsoever so if it rains (like it did when we visited) you really are exposed and will get soaked so a look on the BBC weather site before you set out is a good idea as is some waterproof clothing!
There is toilets by the entrance to the swannery but not actually inside so you'll need to go before you go in. There is also a gift shop which had a fairly reasonable selection of gifts and was not as overpriced as some attractions we have visited before. The gift shop staff weren't particularly friendly though which is the only downside I can think of.
There was a cafe and picnic area although we went to a nearby pub for some lunch after our visit to escape the rain.
All in all, it was an attraction well worth a visit - we learnt a lot about swans (including me discovering I quite liked them - i'd never been that keen on them before!) and took some lovely pics. You can also help feed the swans at feeding time which is nice and something kids in particular would probably enjoy.
Entrance is £9.95 for adults, £9.50 for concessions (OAPs and students) and £7.00 for children. A family pass is available for £28. If you're visiting the other attractions in Abbotsbury (the children's farm and tropical gardens) a special combined ticket is available to save money.
Abbotsbury farm is located in Dorset and is on the coastal road between Weymouth and Bridgeport. The farm has a large indoor soft play area, goat racing, a bale mountain to climb and you can meet then goats, cows, ponies, donkeys and pigs. There is also pony rides and three outdoor play structures which is great for children. You can do goat walking, cuddle and feed the guinea pigs, milk molly the cow and learn about Abbotsbury smuggling past. There is also a children's farm cafe and a gift shop.
***VISITING THE FARM***
I visited the farm with my nephew and sister from Weymouth and it took about 15mins to get there. The farm was sign-posted as you got into Abbotsbury and from this you entered a car park in which an attendant collected £1.50 for parking. The attendant informed us it was a 10min walk to the farm. After entering the grounds we actually had to ask another member of public where the farm was as there are also gardens and a swannery in the same area, none of which are sign posted. The hill to get to the farm was steep and there were steps one side of the hill and then a small ramp which was ok for push-chairs and wheel-chair users, how-ever this was very steep and was hard to push a buggy up it after leaving the farm. There is a drop off point where you could easily drop people off at the farm and come back to collect them.
There is a pay desk in the main shop where you pay for your entry. For an adult it cost £8.00 each and under 5's children get in free. Once we had paid for our entry we each got a sticker to show that we had paid. When you enter the farm you will see a shed ahead of you and also a play area for children which is filled with sand. The play area was far to advanced for my nephew as the steps were far too big for him to climb and the play area didn't look very safe either.
As you walk into the first shed/stable there are some donkeys in there and you can have the chance to milk molly which is a big plastic cow. There are small child seats around molly so your children can sit there. As you walk further into the stable they have 2 alpaca's and 2 adult goats. You then go out in the court-yard and there is a pig on the right hand side and there are more stables which have a few ponies in. There are smaller goats in a pen next to the ponies and they are very friendly to stroke.
Opposite the goats and ponies is another play area with steps, a slide and a few wobbly wooden bridges. This was much better for my nephew as he could easily get onto it and play and it looked much safer then the first play structure. There is a large concreted area which has lots of ride on tractors in different sizes in which the children can ride. There is also a seating area and a large area with hay bales where children can climb and run round.
After leaving this area it tells you to wash your hands and there is several sinks and soap dispensers with paper towels so you can wash your hands and you can also brush your boots/shoes off as well, using the brush provided. They encourage you to wash your hands after touching the animals and there are plenty of hand sanitizers and cleansers round the farm for you to use. The guinea pig house wasn't open when we went to the farm so we couldn't go in there.
Round the other side of the farm just over from the entrance there is a small bird house in which you can stand in with the birds. There is also another building which looks very big which has a soft play area in. I was quite disappointed with how small the soft play area was as there wasn't much there at all. There was also another small seating area. After this I and my sister were very shocked that there was nothing else to see. We had a look in the farm shop and decided against buying anything as everything was so expensive and quite frankly we thought we had been ripped off already.
I was very disappointed with this farm and can't believe it cost me and my sister £8.00 each to see the farm. There were no sheep or cows and there was only one goat. I didn't see any rabbits either, but I presume these were in the guinea pig house. I thought it was very good that the farm had plenty of hand sanitizers and places to wash your hands. My nephew loved the hay bales and the ride on tractors but I think he was disappointed that there were no sheep or cows. The ponies and goats were very friendly and you can very easily stroke them.
The pony rides you have to pay extra money for but my nephew was a bit too young for this anyway. The shop was very expensive and a small ball slightly larger than a tennis ball would have cost me £4.95. My nephew picked up a tractor which was £7.50 but I knew there was a good toyshop in town that sold them a lot cheaper so I promised to buy him one from there which I did. The leaflet states that the farm is 50% accessible for disabled users but I have to disagree as there is a lot of wood chipping you have to go over and this was very hard even with a push-chair without my nephew in it. If I had known how small the farm was and how disappointing it was I wouldn't have gone here. I wouldn't recommend anyone to go to this farm as I think it's a rip off and I think you and your children would be disappointed.
I didn't visit the swannery or tropical gardens so I can't comment on these.
Review also on ciao
Three fantastic attractions in the one location.