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

  • Weymouth   (2.2 miles from the centre of Abbotsbury)
    Sleeps 9
    Prices from
    £360
    Per Week, Seasonal (Sleeps 9)
     
    Rodden holiday cottage providing self-catering accommodation on a working farm near the coast. Family friendly. Pets welcome. WiFi and parking. Sleeps 9.
     
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  • West Bexington   (2.9 miles from the centre of Abbotsbury)
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    £53
    Per person B&B (2 sharing)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 221 reviews
    Rating from 221 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 221 reviews
    Rating from 221 reviews
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  • Weymouth   (2.7 miles from the centre of Abbotsbury)
    Sleeps 2
    Prices from
    £310
    Per Week, Seasonal (Sleeps 2)
     
    Cosy cottage on beautiful farmland near Weymouth and the Jurassic Coast, single storey with an open log fire and secluded patio. Ideal romantic break. Pets welcome. Sleeps 2.
     
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  • Weymouth   (2.7 miles from the centre of Abbotsbury)
    Sleeps 2
    Prices from
    £310
    Per Week, Seasonal (Sleeps 2)
     
    Gold Award cottage set in farmland near Weymouth & the Jurassic Coast with an open fire and secluded patio. A perfect romantic retreat for two. Onsite games room with WiFi.
     
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  • Litton Cheney   (3.6 miles from the centre of Abbotsbury)
    Prices from
    £960
    Per week (seasonal)
     
    Beautiful country cottage in the Dorset countryside, just inland from the Jurassic Coast with 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. Cosy log burner. WiFi, parking and pets welcome.
     
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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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  • 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 5
    Prices from
    £350
    Per Week, Seasonal (Sleeps 5)
     
    Traditional cottage near Weymouth and Chesil Beach with exposed beams, a log fire and enclosed south facing patio & garden. Super fast free WiFi and Smart TV. Sleeps 5.
     
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  • Weymouth   (2.7 miles from the centre of Abbotsbury)
    Sleeps 5
    Prices from
    £360
    Per Week, Seasonal (Sleeps 5)
     
    Charming 2 bedroom cottage near Fleet Lagoon & Chesil Beach, 4 miles from Weymouth with a cosy log fire, free WiFi, a large garden and private patio. Village pub nearby. Sleeps 5.
     
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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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