Set along the historic Jurassic Coast and nestled in the tranquil East Devon countryside, The Donkey Sanctuary is an award-winning visitor attraction home to hundreds of friendly rescue donkeys just waiting to meet you – completely free of charge.
Since 1969, the world has been a better place for donkeys, proclaimed Dr Elisabeth Svendsen MBE, The Donkey Sanctuary’s founder. The most visible successes are the many donkeys living at the sanctuary in Sidmouth, Devon. But the charity also devotes itself to helping the 40 plus million donkeys living outside the UK.
Explore and unwind
Offering sanctuary for its furry residents and visitors alike, enjoy at your leisure the scenic trails spread across hundreds of acres of land in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Here you’ll discover the unique characters and stories of the donkeys, mules and hinnies who have been rescued from mistreatment or relinquished into the charity’s care.
And visitors with reduced mobility needn’t walk too far to get close to the donkeys; the main grounds of the sanctuary are fully accessible and, in dry weather, several of the sanctuary’s other walks leading to more donkey groups are fairly level.
Discover and be entertained
Besides the furry residents, explore the exciting new indoor attractions and find out just why donkeys matter through interesting, 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 new Exhibition Barn.
Visit the Understanding Donkeys Zone to learn everything you need to know about these wonderful animals and discover the inspirational story of the sanctuary’s much-loved founder with a trip to Dr. Svendsen’s Hut.
Also, don’t miss the fascinating talks, demonstrations and tours held daily with their knowledgeable staff. Plus groups will receive a complimentary guided tour of the sanctuary or a seated talk when pre-booking a group menu.
Relax and remember
Relax with a delicious meal at the Taste of the West award-winning restaurant, The Kitchen, where freshly prepared dishes using local, ethically sourced produce are served overlooking the donkeys’ paddocks and coast. Great value menus specifically designed for groups are available to pre-book and include a complimentary tour or talk and meal for the driver.
The new Gift Shop stocks a wide selection of quality gifts and souvenirs to remember your visit by. From donkey-design items to cards, locally-made produce and our Adopt a Donkey gift packs, browse at leisure in the knowledge that every stylish purchase goes towards helping donkeys in need.
The Donkey Sanctuary celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2019, after being founded as a charity in 1969 by Dr Elisabeth Svendsen MBE. It has grown from a charity rescuing UK donkeys from neglect and abuse to an international animal welfare organisation transforming the lives of millions of donkeys and mules, and the people who depend on them for their livelihood.
The Donkey Sanctuary
Slade House Farm, Sidmouth, Devon EX10 0NU
Telephone: 01395 578222
Photo credits: Matt Austin
Family and group offers at The Donkey Sanctuary
Free entry and parking, guided tour and meal for driver
The sanctuary is open 364 days a year from 9am until 5pm (4pm from November to February) and welcomes groups of any size, with free admission and parking for all. The dedicated coach lane allows easy drop-off and pick-up at the main entrance.
Groups can also benefit from tailored group menus in The Kitchen restaurant, which includes a free guided tour or talk and a free meal for the driver.
Wheelchairs and a mobility scooter are available to borrow, subject to availability. The full accessibility statement outlines all the details for planning a day at the sanctuary.
Pre-booking for groups is essential with a minimum one week’s notice. For more information or to book a group visit, please call the sanctuary’s dedicated group booking team on 01395 578222.