Set along the historic Jurassic Coast and nestled in the tranquil East Devon countryside in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, The Donkey Sanctuary’s working farm is home to donkeys, mules and hinnies, large and small. At the heart of the sanctuary near Sidmouth, visitors can come and say hello to some of the hundreds of donkeys waiting to meet them – completely free of charge. The resident donkeys love to meet new people and their unique characters and stories are ready to be discovered.
Discover and be entertained
Explore the sanctuary’s exciting new indoor attractions and find out just why donkeys matter through fun and interactive displays. Embark on a journey into the far reaching work of The Donkey Sanctuary and the vital lifeline donkeys provide for communities around the world in the Exhibition Barn. Try on some theatre scrubs and lab coats in the Understanding Donkeys Zone; the place to learn everything about the sanctuary’s friendly residents. No visit is complete without visiting Dr Svendsen’s Hut to learn the story of the sanctuary’s much-loved founder.
Explore and unwind
Enjoy scenic farm trails home to hundreds of donkeys, discover the Nature Centre, burn off steam in the farm-themed play area and get lost in the Maze. Or for an extra challenge, venture further afield to the South West Coast Path at Weston Mouth. During school holidays there are activities to keep the family entertained, from Easter hunts to pumpkin carving plus daily talks and tours. As well as events for all the family throughout the year.
When it’s time to take a well-deserved break, relax in the stunning new family-friendly restaurant, The Kitchen, where you can enjoy freshly prepared dishes using local and ethically sourced produce overlooking the donkey’s paddocks and the sea. And before heading home, don’t forget to pop into the new Gift Shop for a selection of quality gifts and donkey-design items to suit every pocket.
The Donkey Sanctuary was founded as a charity in 1969, by Dr Elisabeth Svendsen MBE. They currently have an incredible 6,300 donkeys in their care worldwide. Admission and parking is free (donations welcome) and the sanctuary is open from 9am – 5pm*, 365 days a year. Dogs are welcome as long as they are kept on a lead, and many of the farm trails are access and bike-friendly.
*4pm from November to February.