Visit Abbotsbury

Abbotsbury is a popular, pretty, picture-postcard village steeped in history and surrounded by spectacular scenery.

It’s home to two of Dorset’s most popular attractions; The Swannery and Subtropical Gardens.

Read on to see why this is one of the most visited villages in Dorset…

Quintessential English charm

One of the most striking features about Abbotsbury is its aesthetic appeal.

As you wander down its archetypical Dorset streets, you’ll be surrounded by delightful cottage architecture (with many buildings dating back to the 16th century), traditional country tea rooms and olde worlde pubs.

If you are approaching Abbotsbury from the west, the descent down into the village rewards you with one of the most awe-inspiring views in the whole of Dorset with panoramas over Chesil Beach and Portland.

Abbotsbury Swannery

A truly unique experience, Abbotsbury Swannery is home to the only colony of nesting mute swans that can be visited anywhere in the world.

From mid-May to the end of June, the Swannery pathways and streams are filled with baby swans and if you time your visit just right, you will even be able to witness and take photographs of the cygnets hatching before your eyes!

Families can also help hand feed 600 swans at 12.00 noon and 4.00pm daily, get lost in the largest willow maze in Dorset, swing on the swinging nests play area, and dine at the Kennels café.

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens

Winner of a silver medal at Chelsea and silver gilt at Hampton Court, the exotic paradise that is Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens is set inside a magnificent Victorian walled garden, the unique micro climate enabling rare and tropical species from all over the world to thrive.

Trails meander up and down through woodland, sunken gardens with golden pheasants and alongside the stream crossed by a succession of Japanese-style bridges and there’s a superb colonial style teahouse in which to stop for refreshments.

Historical gems

Abbotsbury offers much more than first meets the eye and the village is steeped in history.

Abbotsbury was once home to a richly endowed abbey, founded in 1044. The remains are still visible and date from the 13th and 14th centuries.

Nearby is the abbey's vast tithe barn, built about 1400, and there are further abbey remains in the churchyard of St Nicholas Church, including two medieval sarcophagi.

High on Abbotsbury hilltop sits St Catherine’s Chapel, a barrel-vaulted 14th century chapel built by the monks of Abbotsbury Abbey as a place of pilgrimage and retreat.

Make your way up the hill, take in the fantastic views of the abbey ruins, and explore the nooks and crannies of this curious little chapel, including the 'wishing holes' where local women used to pray to St Catherine and ask her to find them a husband

Studios and galleries

If you are a fan of art, you will love exploring Abbotsbury’s many craft exhibitions and galleries.

Here is the village you’ll find contemporary furniture, antiques, handcrafted silver jewellery & silverware, woodwork, fine art, stone carvings and sculpture.

They’re a creative bunch in Abbotsbury!


The scenic setting of Abbotsbury makes it a hotspot for walkers.

There are many footpaths to be taken up and over the undulating folds of farmland that surround the village, each route offering tremendous views over the lush green fields and across the sparkling sea to Portland.

Hikers can choose to venture up to Hardy Monument, where Nelson's fighting companion is remembered, or across to the quaint neighbouring villages of Portesham and Littlebredy or even take in an ancient stone circle or two.

Places to stay in Abbotsbury

There are some beautiful properties in the Abbotsbury area, from cottages hidden away in secluded valleys such as Gorwell Farm to former railway stations.

Abbotsbury is a popular visitor destination and it's an ideal base from which to explore the highlights of West Dorset.

Browse our list of Abbotsbury accommodation and we’re sure you’ll find somewhere that ticks all the boxes.

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