Close to home... Abbotsbury

Abbotsbury Swannery

As someone who tends to travel away at the weekends, I often miss opportunities to explore what is right on my doorstep. So a couple of weekends ago, me and a friend headed to the village next door for a little local adventure, and were met with a welcome surprise. Here are some of the delights the sleepy village of Abbotsbury has to offer:

Chesil Beach
Reaching from Portland down past Abbotsbury and onwards, Chesil beach is 29km of shingle, and a sight you’re unlikely to see anywhere else! Easily accessible from Abbotsbury, it is a prime fishing location, and thanks to the steep shoreline, home to some spectacular crashing waves that just encapsulate the vastness of the ocean.

Swannery
Abbotsbury Swannery is home to hundreds of swans, all of whom have chosen to make the swannery their home. This beautiful sanctuary is designed for the swans to leave should they choose, and yet every year the population grows and grows, homage to the majesty this beautiful place holds. In addition, every spring the site becomes awash with nests full of fluffy baby cygnets, which the public are free to walk around and be face to face with these adorable little chicks! I personally feel this is definitely the highlight of Abbotsbury. 

Subtropical Gardens
In addition to the swannery, Abbotsbury is home to a beautiful subtropical garden. Its roots lie in the gardens of the now ruined Abbotsbury castle built for Elizabeth, 1st countess of Ilchester in 1765. Despite fires, storms and economic scarcity over the centuries, the garden has now grown into a tremendous spectacle with a stunning assortment of flora, and is home to a delightful little restaurant.

St Catherine's Chapel
Set high atop a hill on the edge of the village, St. Catherine's chapel is a stunning building that can be spotted from miles around. Built in the 1500's as a site of pilgrimage, it remains perfectly preserved set aside from the hustle of life. It is quite a trek up the hill, via a field often shared by a family of friendly sheep, but the view is completely worth it once you make it to the top. In addition, the chapel is currently home to a pair of beautiful white doves, a beautiful symbol of the peace attained in such a beautiful and isolated site. Also, for any collectors of national heritage sites, this is another you can check off the list!

Cafes
In the village itself there are a number of adorable tea shops and cafes, perfect for a spot of afternoon tea, or some fresh lemonade on a sunny afternoon.

Abbotsbury was a reminder for me that anywhere, no matter how close to home, can be an adventure worth exploring, and that some of  the most unexpected beauties can be found right on your doorstep.

Happy travelling,


Vicky


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