Abbotsbury is a picturesque village roughly 10 miles to the west of Portland. Once a very important village Abbotsbury housed a large religious community. St Catherines Chapel lies on a hill above the village and dates back to the 15th century. It has outstanding views back to Portland and to the west views to Bridport. Abbotsbury has the largest thatched building in the world and has 3 major attractions.
Abbotsbury Swannery is the only managed colony of nesting mute swans in the world. There are roughly 600 swans with around 150 pairs. The swannery has been around since 1393. The swans are very used to people so that even when nesting you can get very close to them. The swans at Abbotsbury are all free flying. It is run as a sanctuary rather than a zoo. At 12:00 and 4:00 you can help out with hand feeding the swans and from mid may to the end of June you can see the cygnets hatching, sometimes only a few feet away. In addition there is a giant willow maze, a large play area, a cafe and gift shop and free parking.
Abbotsbury subtropical gardens first came in existence in 1765 as a kitchen garden to feed the nearby castle. Today it is a magnificent 20 acre garden filled with exotic and rare plants. There is a good mix of both formal and informal planting and it has become world famous for it's magnolias and camellia groves. There is also a Victorian Garden. Special events are held throughout the year so do check to see what is going on when you visit. There is ample free parking, the Colonial Restaurant, gift shop and plant centre.
With its Tithe Barn welcoming you, the largest thatched building in the world, Abbotsbury childrens farm is a great place for all the family. Children can cuddle guinea pigs, ride ponies, race tractors, play in the large undercover play area and bottle feed the baby goats. The baby goats also race around a track twice a day, after the race the children are invited to take a goat for a warm down walk on a lead. There is a cafe on site that cooks local Dorset produce and also a gift shop.