For those who prefer to spend a relaxing time in tune with nature, this combination of swannery and gardens is perfect for you. Abbotsbury Swannery is the only place in the world where you are able to walk through the heart of a colony of nesting Mute Swans. The Swannery was established by Benedictine Monks who built a monastery at Abbotsbury and farmed swans to produce food for their lavish banquets. St. Peter's monastery was destroyed in 1539, but some of the ruins are still visible around St. Nicholas' Church in the village. From mid-May to late June, hundreds of fluffy cygnets hatch from eggs in nests on or near the pathways.
Visit Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, established in 1765 by the first Countess of Ilchester as a kitchen garden for her nearby castle. The gardens have been developed since then into a magnificent 20 acres filled with rare and exotic plants from all over the world. Many of these plants were first introductions to this country, discovered by the plant hunting descendants of the countess. The garden is now a mixture of formal and informal, with charming walled garden walks and spectacular woodland valley views. It is world famous for its Camellia Groves and Magnolias, noted for its Rhododendron and Hydrangea collections.