Located on the dramatic Dorset coast Abbotsbury Swannery, near Weymouth, is home to the only managed colony of nesting Mute Swans in the world. Here you can walk through the heart of the colony of swans. The natural wildlife habitat has also proved popular with film makers and it has been used as a location for Harry Potter filming.
Benedictine Monks built a monastery at Abbotsbury during the 1040’s and established the swannery in order to farm swans as a source of food for their extravagant Dorset banquets. During the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539, St Peter’s Monastery was destroyed. Some ruins remain visible around St Nicholas’s Church in the village, but since that time the Swannery has been under the stewardship of the Ilchester Estates.
The swans at Abbotsbury are all free flying. There are no cages as this is a sanctuary, not a zoo. Some of the nests are on either side of the path and are very easy to see.
A particularly special time to visit is from mid May to the end of June when the cygnets hatch. There are hundreds of cygnets hatching in the nests close to the pathway and they are easily visible and very photogenic.
The Swannery is open every day from 19th March to 30th October, 10am to 5pm. The swans are hand fed at 12.00 noon and 4.00pm every day.
For full details of prices and opening times, including information on discounts for advance ticket purchase, and the group rates available for parties of 10 or more, click here
Please note : Dogs may not enter the Swannery