The History of Abbotsbury Swannery

Abbotsbury Swannery in Dorset is unique

This is the only place in the world where you are able to walk through the heart of a colony of nesting Mute Swans, spread over a site of some 25 acres. A visit to the Swannery is considered one of the best things to do in Dorset.

The Swannery was established by Benedictine Monks who built a monastery at Abbotsbury during the 1040s. The monks farmed the swans to produce food for their lavish Dorset banquets. St Peter’s monastery was destroyed in 1539, during the dissolution. Some of the ruins are still visible around St Nicolas’ Church in the village. Since that time, the Swannery has been under the stewardship of the Ilchester Estates.

Swan herd engraving
Dave Wheeler talking to visitors
Swans from The Fleet at Abbotsbury Swannery

The Swannery Today

Abbotsbury Swannery in Dorset, near Weymouth, has become one of the most popular things to do for the family visiting Dorset. Located on the dramatic Dorset Coast, this unique natural wildlife habitat is also popular with film makers and has been used as a location for Harry Potter filming.

So if your family is looking for unusual things to do on holiday in Dorset, come to the Swannery and help hand feed 600 swans at 12.00 noon and 4.00pm daily, or get lost in the giant maze (the largest willow maze in Dorset), swing on the swinging nests play area, at the Kennels café or browse our quality gift shop. Parking is free!

The swans at Abbotsbury are all free flying: this is a sanctuary, not a zoo. There are no cages.

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