One of the most exciting and memorable annual attractions in Dorset is the hatching of the baby swans at the Abbotsbury Swannery. It usually happens around mid May each year, although last year the first cygnet hatched on 3 May – nearly two weeks earlier than usual!
The swannery is an ancient institution dating back to 14th century, when the swans were tended to by monks from the nearby abbey. The monks have gone, but other than that little has changed, and the swans are still fed, managed and cared for in the same way they have been for hundreds of years.
It’s now one of the biggest tourist attractions in Dorset, and has even been used as a filming location for one of the Harry Potter movies!
One of the great and unique things about the swannery is that it is not a zoo, so there are no cages or bars and the swans come and go as they please. The swannery is criss-crossed by a network of footpaths, which allow you to get up close to the nesting swans, and if you time it right, may actually get to see cygnets hatching a few feet away from you! It’s a Fantastic experience for all ages, but is especially unforgettable for kids.
For prices, opening times and more info on the Swannery, check out the Abbotsbury tourism website. And if you’re looking for somewhere to stay, our Dorset campsite is just a short drive/bus ride away in Charmouth, which makes it an ideal base for visiting the swannery and the other fabulous attractions on the Jurassic Coast.