*Sponsored Post - we were provided with free access to the swannery and a hot beverage. All gifts and cake we bought ourselves and all opinions are mine*
I've been tapping into #DorsetHour on a Monday night (7:30-8:30pm) on Twitter and having a blast meeting Dorset based businesses I knew nothing about. A few days later a tweet went out about the first cygnet hatching at Abbotsbury .. it's somewhere I had yet to visit, mainly because I always forget until its too late. So randomly a few hours later when an email arrived inviting me to come and see the swans, eggs and cygnets on the 20th May …. well what could I say?! What better way to spend your 2nd birthday than watching cygnets hatching? Precisely there isn't!
I must admit I was actually shocked how far it was from us – I had it in my head it wasn't far from the Tank Museum so I thought 45 minutes … 1 hour 15! Ekkk! It was a bit of a trek so defo more of a day trip. Olive started to get a bit grizzly towards to the end of the car journey after she had eaten all the snacks I packed! We aren't one for long distant travelling and it certainly shows!
The setting is really beautiful, tiny quaint typical English Village, thatched roof you know the kind. The Swannery is so well kept it really was gorgeous from the main gates/cafe/toilet/gift shop you can walk down to the main area or we jumped on the tractor for 50p per person (we did walk back up its not far!).
We saw so many cygnets in so many different stages it was unbelievable. Eggs, just hatched, hatched a few hours ago, hatched a few days and now swimming in the lake! It was really awesome! After a few hours Olive finally agreed they were swans and not ducks!
Go to the toilet BEFORE you go into the swannery – (there are no facilities inside)
DO NOT think it will be a good idea to let your toddler walk! There is A LOT of walking and most of the paths are right on the waters edge or near the nesting swans – we stupidly decided as there were two of us to let Olive walk. BIG MISTAKE – she was hissed at twice by swans she got a bit close to and nearly ran head first into reeds (if ChelseaMamma was wondering where I was she soon found me screeching NO OLIVE repeatedly!)
Pack wet wipes .. there is some poo in places children will put hands! (There are a couple of hand gel areas which were handy)
Wear comfortable shoes – there is a lot of walking.
There are lots of information points, posters – about old farming methods, insects and butterflies. So there is a lot to take in rather than just the swans. Being just 2 and no pushchair plus a now full nappy we decided at after a few hours that Olive had probably had enough – so we settled in the outside part of the cafe for tea and cake (well it was her birthday!) and a quick play on the see saw and we were done! (OK I omitted the part where we did buy a small but cute Swan teddy and a rubber … again it was her birthday!)
10 minutes into the drive home Olive was sparko bless her.
We only went to the Swannery but there are also some Tropical Gardens and a Children's Farm – you can visit these individualy or buy a ticket for all 3 of them the prices are reasonable for a family of 5 – the Season Ticket it great value at £58 per year. But as it's not actually on my doorstep not sure yet whether I would invest
With the dreaded awesome Half Term Week looming it is the perfect opportunity to visit. Check out their news and competitions via Facebook page or Twitter at @dorset_swannery .