Abbotsbury is a small Dorset village situated on the coast road between Weymouth and Bridport. It is home to three of the best known local tourist attractions, Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, the Swannery and the Children’s Tithe Barn Farm. There are also lovely walks in the area including the walk up to St Catherine’s Chapel where you can get fantastic views along Chesil Beach. There is a car park as you come into the village and others at Abbotsbury gardens and the Swannery.
Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens
The subtropical gardens are located in a sheltered valley just inland from the Jurassic Coast. They are open nearly all year round, although being a wedding venue a small section of the garden may be closed off at certain times. A gentle stroll round the gardens takes about 1 – 2 hours and there is lots to see all year round. The rope bridge is a favourite with children as it is in a very jungle like setting with palms, bamboo and large tree ferns all round. There are also 2 large fish ponds and a secret walk which takes you to a viewing point overlooking the Fleet and Chesil Beach. When you have finished your walk around there is the very popular Colonial Restaurant for drinks and light refreshments. There is also an excellent selection of exotic plants for sale at very reasonable prices, and a childrens play area
Just a short walk from the village centre is the Tithe Barn which was built by St Benedict’s monks around 1390. This listed building now houses an indoor children’s play area including a soft play area and indoor games. It forms part of a larger complex where children also have outdoor activities to choose from and there are various farm animals and a petting area with guinea pigs. During the summer they often have birds of prey demonstrations as an added attraction.
The Swannery which is a short walk from the village centre is home to a very large breeding population of mute swans. Spring and early Summer are the best times to visit when the cygnets are hatching.
Within Abbotsbury itself there are a number of specialist artisan shops where you can purchase unique gifts. You will also be spoilt for choice when it comes to refreshments as there are a number of very good Tea Rooms to choose from, offering a wide choice of refreshments and of course Dorset cream teas and the local speciality Dorset apple cake.