Abbotsbury sits at the western end of Chesil Beach

Abbotsbury sits at the western end of Chesil Beach

Chesil Beach & Fleet Nature Reserve

Chesil Beach & Fleet Nature Reserve

Abbotsbury is a charming village located towards the western end of Chesil Beach and The Fleet Lagoon Nature Reserve. It was once a small fishing village and was built on the site of a Benedictine Abbey founded in the 11th century. The village takes its name from the old abbey - all that remains of it today is the Great Abbey Barn. Important wildlife sites are plentiful in the area including The Fleet where swans feed on local plant life. Walks around Abbotsbury lead down to the great sweeping Chesil Beach. As you drive east from Bridport there are some spectacular views to be had of Chesil Beach and across to the Isle of Portland. Pull over into the lay-bay on Abbotsbury Hill for some fantastic pictures before heading on down into Abbotsbury village.

The 250 foot Great Abbey tithe barn was built to store the wool, grain and produce required by the abbey and is one of the largest and best preserved barns of this type in the country. It was originally 270 feet long and dates from around 1400. It now houses a children's play area forming part of the wider Abbotsbury Children's Farm. You can still see some of the ruins of the abbey in the grounds of St Nicholas' Church. Abbotsbury is sheltered by the surrounding hills of the Ridgeway. North west of the village is the triangular Abbotsbury Castle Iron Age hillfort with two ramparts believed to have been built by the Durotriges Celtic tribe. There's a nice circular walk from Abbotsbury that takes you up Wears Hill to the hillfort and then down to Chesil Beach.

Abbotsbury Swannery (Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ripplestone/4688053636/in/photolist-89gv1Y-89dfUD-89df4H-89gwxC-89dhUZ-89dih8-aH2PQM-aH2UBX-aH2VPP-aH2WqT-aH2Nkr-cieivE-ciekUq-ciehKf-cieeW5-ciemXf-ciek41-cienKJ-bEXqJP-ciefXA-ciegLA-ciee1Q-ciejcW-2nkVwZ-8aH5TK-dSf42r-8aLpR1-NNFnh-NNFVw-NP8ma-NP8Et-NParV-NP9xx-NP8bP-NNGHy-NP8Ka-NNFyQ-NP9Px-NNG21-NP7W4-NNF9b-NP9Ui-NNCF1-NP6aa-NP8gi-NNFBu-NNCo3-NP9JD-nJ9GY-bo2Cdg)

Abbotsbury Swannery

Swannery

Abbotsbury is most famous for its swannery. It was established by the Benedictine Monks to rear swans for grand banquets. Today it is run as a sanctuary for a huge flock of mute swans. If you want to time your visit to see the cygnets any time from mid-May to June is when they'll be hatching, often near the paths within the swannery. The free flying flock here can number as many as 1000 swans, and there are twice daily feeding sessions where a few visitors are picked out to help. A gift shop and tearooms housed in a former Georgian kennels are also onsite. The swannery is environmentally friendly, using reed filtration beds to clean the waste water from the site. Abbotsbury Swannery has regularly featured on TV, including in the BBCs Springwatch series.

Children's Farm

Abbotsbury Children's Farm is excellent for a fun packed day out for all the family. The farm has a range of attractions including a fantastic children's play area in the ancient tithe barn along with a mock-up of a 1775 invasion by smugglers and villagers. Outside there are aviaries and pens where you can get up close to ponies, donkeys and other farmyard animals. One of the highlights is the goat racing. After races children can feed the goats or take them for a walk. The Children's Farm also organise events in conjunction with other Abbotsbury attractions through the year.

Abbotsbury Sub-Tropical Gardens (Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sheilaellen/4602414452/in/photolist-81DiC2-81GH3G-81DeqM-81DaTg-81Dif2-81Dh6V-81GokL-81GsEW-81DtsX-81Gyn9-81GB49-81DcJz-81DkXc-81DsKF-81Gtoy-81DkxV-81Dt62-81Djoi-81DgE4-81GxaW-81Dn2x-81GCyS-81DmFM-81GwoG-81Dwbg-81Dmkk-81GAd1-81GxB5-81DxAk-81GmEY-81Gztj-81DhUt-81GABG-81D9xg-81Ghqq-4gaXqn-81Df9t-81GwK5-81Gy2w-81GzQs-81Gz3y-81Gr9A-81GyGf-81De2X-81GDtm-81GFKG-81D9cH-81GjHu-sQmGh-tLuMV)

Abbotsbury Sub-Tropical Gardens

Sub Tropical Gardens

The Gardens were established by the first Countess of Ilchester in 1765 as a kitchen garden for the castle. It has since grown into a twenty acre garden full of rare and exotic plants from all over the world. It's particularly noted for its camellia groves and magnolias, rhododendron and hydrangea. The gardens have undergone restoration over the years and now contains both formal and informal garden areas as well as walled garden walks with wooded valley views. A viewpoint within the gardens also overlooks the coast. You can buy plants, garden related goods and gifts in the shop on the site.

Accommodation in Abbotsbury

  • Puncknowle   (3.4 miles from the centre of Abbotsbury)
    Prices from
    £35
    per person per night (based on 2 sharing)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 77 reviews
    Rating from 77 reviews
    16th Century thatched inn at Puncknowle near Chesil Beach, the perfect gateway on to the Jurassic Coast & into Hardy Country. Fine food and local ales. Pets welcome with open paws!
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 77 reviews
    Rating from 77 reviews
  • West Bexington   (2.9 miles from the centre of Abbotsbury)
    Prices from
    £53
    Per person B&B (2 sharing)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 223 reviews
    Rating from 223 reviews
    Beautiful country manor house hotel near Bridport overlooking stunning Jurassic coastline at West Bexington. Restaurant and bar. 13 guest rooms including a four poster room.
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 223 reviews
    Rating from 223 reviews
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  • Dorchester   (1.6 miles from the centre of Abbotsbury)
    Sleeps 3
    Prices from
    £335
    Per week, seasonal
     
    Charming South West Dorset cottage, with self- catering facilities, WiFi access and onsite private parking for one car. Large enclosed rear garden with a patio.
     
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  • Weymouth   (2.7 miles from the centre of Abbotsbury)
    Sleeps 4
    Prices from
    £397
    Per week, seasonal
     
    Charming two bedroom cottage near Weymouth set on 70 acres of land with coastal path nearby. Patio seating area & large shared garden. Children's toys shed. Short breaks. No pets.
     
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  • Weymouth   (2.5 miles from the centre of Abbotsbury)
    Sleeps 4
    Prices from
    £350
    per week (seasonal)
     
    Charming holiday cottage near Weymouth on the Dorset Coast. Nestled on a beautiful farm set in over 70 acres of wildflower meadowland. Families welcome. Parking available.
     
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    Self Catering
  • Puncknowle   (3.4 miles from the centre of Abbotsbury)
    Sleeps 6
    Prices from
    £242
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 6
     
    In the village of Puncknowle between West Bay and Weymouth, set 11/2 miles from Chesil Beach and the World Heritage Jurassic Coast, this terraced holiday cottage is an excellent...
     
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  • Dorchester   (3.8 miles from the centre of Abbotsbury)
    Sleeps 4
    Prices from
    £341
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 4
     
    Set in the village of Litton Cheney, this charming 17th-century thatched cottage (nearest in photograph) is in the heart of the Dorset Bride Valley, close to the spectacular Jur...
     
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  • Weymouth   (2.7 miles from the centre of Abbotsbury)
    Sleeps 2
    Prices from
    £350
    per week (seasonal)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 2 reviews
    Rating from 2 reviews
    Four star cottage near Weymouth on a unique wild flower farm on the Dorset Coast. Supremely comfortable and perfect for couples or a small family. Ample parking.
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 2 reviews
    Rating from 2 reviews
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    Self Catering
  • Weymouth   (2.2 miles from the centre of Abbotsbury)
    Sleeps 9
    Prices from
    £570
    Per Week, Seasonal (Sleeps 9)
     
    Spacious cottage near Weymouth, family and pet friendly. Free WiFi and Old Stable games room. M2 accessible rating with 5 bedrooms, cosy woodburner and enclosed garden. Sleeps 9.
     
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  • Weymouth   (2.7 miles from the centre of Abbotsbury)
    Sleeps 4
    Prices from
    £350
    Per Week, Seasonal (Sleeps 4)
     
    Two bedroom country cottage near Weymouth and Chesil Beach with free WiFi, excellent local walks, a cosy log fire and enclosed garden. Pet and family friendly. Sleeps 4.
     
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    Self Catering
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