No holiday in Dorset is complete without a stroll amidst hundreds of nesting swans and their hatching signets. Yes, Abbotsbury Swannery is one of a kind, and as it was formed by Benedictine monks back in the 1040s it’s also the area’s oldest family attraction by far. The monks originally kept the swans to for their opulent banquets, but these days their quite safe and the swannery focuses on breeding them and supporting the area’s wildlife.
You’ll be able to get close to the 600 swans that call this beautiful spot on the coast home, and if you’re there for 12 noon or 4pm you’ll be invited to help feed them too. The swans are free to roam as the swannery is a sanctuary, and the sight of the hundreds of eggs coming to life as little beaks emerge from them during summer is spectacular. Take a camera with you as chances are you’ll be able to capture the first moments of a cygnet’s life during your visit, now how’s that for a day out with a difference?
The attraction is so picturesque that it’s no stranger to film crews, and has starred in the BBC’s Springwatch and even Harry Potter. The colony of nesting Mute Swans are all free flying and there are no cages at the swannery. You’ll be most likely to see the cygnets if you visit between the middle of May and the end of June.