Abbotsbury Swannery, Dorset
I’ve just recently discovered this great blog called Dorset Mums which is all about life in Dorset, activities, places to visit, things to do and more. If you live in Dorset or are planning on visiting, you should check it out. You can also find Fiona tweeting @. Fiona has written this great post recommending Abbotsbury Swannery.
We’ve been meaning to visit Abbotsbury Swannery for years so I decided to take my son and his Nanny over ‘Dorset Resident’s Week’ so we could take advantage of the 2 for 1 offer. We were doing really well keeping my son awake in the car and then he fell asleep about 10 minutes before we go there so we had a quick cuppa in the car from the Abbots House by the Children’s Farm (which looks fantastic) and patiently waited for him to wake up.
Before we went I read a review from Charlie Moo’s blog which I was very grateful for as it said that the Swans and nests were quite a walk from the entrance (for a small child) and a pushchair was recommended. I’m glad I took ours as it was handy to rest our normal suitcase sized day bag on and for my boy to rest his weary legs near the end of the day.
When we finally went in it was nearly Noon so we decided to go straight down to the water’s edge for the Mass feeding and were lucky enough to be given a bucket of food and my son took great pleasure in feeding all the Swans.
The Swannery is the world’s only managed colony of nesting mute Swans and it really is a fantastic sight. I would have loved to be have been able to listen to the commentary however once the bucket was empty I spent the rest of feeding time chasing my son around and stopping him from rushing near any nesting Mums! We did have a lovely walk around the colony and was very surprised to see so many nests on the walkway and the sheer volume of happy Swans in the area (up to 600 sometimes). The Swannery is very picturesque and had it of been and ‘adult only’ trip I would have quite happily sat in the sun with a good book for a few hours!
Once we’d had a good walk around the nests we took a stroll up to the café, (stopping en route to have a quick race on the go karts). The café has a lovely little play area next to it which was great for amusing our boy while we waited for food our to arrive. The food we ordered was very fresh and delicious and the children’s meal came with a squash which was good. The staff in the café clearly enjoyed their job as they were all happy, helpful and very polite.
Sadly the Tractor Trailer rides weren’t running on the day we went so after our lunch we went into the Giant Swan Maze (which actually is in the shape of a Swan!) and I desperately wanted to complete the quiz so we ended up spending a good hour in there and had great fun trying to find the quiz posts and giant instruments which my son loved. I did get a little nervous though when the poor boy was showing signs of exhaustion and I had lost all sense of direction! I was very pleased we had completed the quiz though (even though myself and Nanny argued constantly over one of the answers). Obviously I’m not going to tell anyone where the posts are or what I think the answers are because where’s the fun in that?
All in all, we had a great day. I do wish we had gone when the cygnets were there but we hope to go again next year and combine it with a trip to the Children’s farm. Thanks Abbotsbury Swannery for a lovely day out!
Pick up a Maze Quiz from the reception when you go in and post your entry back in the reception for your chance to Win a Pass.
If you have children with you then make sure you take lots of Baby Wipes and look out for the Hand Gel dispensers.
The only toilets in the Swannery are by the entrance so be sure to have a quick trip before going in (although we did have to do 2 sneaky bum changes in the maze).
Mass feeding time is 12 & 4pm and should not be missed!
There is a picnic area if you wish to take your own lunch.
Have a good look around for offers before you go. The Swannery currently has an offer on the Website for 20% off Entry when you book online at least 2 days before your visit. You can also exchange your Tesco Clubcard Vouchers which can be used against a day’s Entry or look out for a ‘Best of Dorset Attractions’ Leaflet or visit the Website for a £2 off voucher.
If you purchase a Season ticket you will receive a huge amount of benefits with access to the Children’s Farm, the Subtropical Gardens and so much more. Please visit the Website for more info.
There are some incredible Things to do in Dorset, what are your favourites?