Abbotsbury Village

Abbotsbury is a pretty picture-postcard village set amongst rolling hills and only 1 mile inland from Chesil Beach. Abbotsbury is best known for its Swannery, home to the largest colony of mute swans in Europe. Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens is also a popular visitor destination and many will pass through the village on their way to these attractions.

The village itself is a great place to stop and explore with picturesque stone cottages, the remains of Abbotsbury Abbey (the ruins are not that impressive really apart from their history) and St Nicholas’ Church next door.

Roadside parking in the village can be difficult to find and only adds to congestion so please use the Visitor Car Park just off Rodden Row SAT NAV postcode DT3 4JL (Google map)

A great source of information about the village can be found at

A helpful visitor information leaflet (pdf format) which includes a map of the village can be viewed at

Abbotsbury village. St Nicholas' Church on the left with the abbey ruins in the centre. The Children's Farm is on the right.
St Nicholas’ Church on the left with the abbey ruins in the centre.

Things to Do in Abbotsbury

  • Visit the Swannery, the only place in the world where you are able to walk through the heart of a colony of nesting Mute Swans.
  • Wander round the Subtropical Gardens, a magnificent 20 acre garden filled with rare and exotic plants from all over the world
  • Explore the village including St Nicholas’ Church and the old Abbey Ruins
  • Walk up to St Catherine’s Chapel. See route description further down the page.
  • Browse the village art galleries. Recommended galleries include the Dansel Gallery selling contemporary, handmade interiors in wood (Google map),
  • Relax on the beach. You can walk to the beach from the village or drive to the beach car park. (Google map)
  • Have lunch at The Abbey House (Google map)
A view of Abbotsbury village and surrounding countryside with St Nicholas' Church on the right
A view of the village with St Nicholas’ Church taken from the path leading up to St Catherines Chapel
St Nichols' Church Abbotsbury
St Nicholas’ Church
Abbotsbury village street showing thatched cottages

St Catherine’s Chapel

Up on the hillside overlooking the village is St Catherine’s Chapel. Built by the monks of Abbotsbury Abbey as a place of pilgrimage and retreat, today the chapel still sits in splendid isolation. The path to the chapel can be reached via the corner of Chapel Lane (Google map showing start of walk) off Market Street in the centre of the village.

For a list of the best walks in and around Abbotsbury see

Panoramic of St Catherines Chapel just outside Abbotsbury village
St Catherine’s Chapel with the village in the background
View of St Catherines Chapel with Chesil Beach and Portland in the background
St Catherine’s Chapel overlooking Chesil Beach. You can see the Isle of Portland in the distance.
St Catherine's Chapel on Chapel Hill nearby Abbotsbury
St Catherine’s Chapel
Surrounding countryside
Surrounding countryside
Cows in a field with Chesil Beach and Isle of Portland in the distance
View looking towards Weymouth and Portland
The Best Abbotsbury Walks Dorset

Related Pages: Abbotsbury Swannery / Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens / Chesil Beach / Burton Bradstock / Weymouth / Bridport / West Bay Beach