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“Brilliant concept. Great cafe, lovely grounds and helping donkeys.”

The Donkey Sanctuary
Ranked #2 of 29 things to do in Sidmouth
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Set along the historic Jurassic Coast and nestled in the tranquil East Devon countryside in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, our working farm is home to donkeys, mules and hinnies - large and small. Come and say hello to some of the hundreds of donkeys waiting to meet you, completely free of charge. Explore our exciting new Visitor Centre, Understanding Donkeys Zone and Dr Svendsen’s Hut, and discover just why donkeys are so special. Also enjoy our scenic farm trails, guided tours, outdoor play area, Nature Centre and Maze. Head to the new Gift Shop for donkey-design items for every pocket. When it’s time to take a break, relax in our new family-friendly restaurant, The Kitchen and enjoy freshly prepared dishes using local, ethically sourced produce alongside stunning views over the donkeys paddocks out to the sea. The Donkey Sanctuary was founded as a charity in 1969, by Dr Elisabeth Svendsen MBE. Open 365 days a year; entry and parking is free. Dogs on a lead are welcome.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Reviewed 6 April 2018

The cafe is large, clean, affordable and the staff are beyond helpful. All profits from the cafe go to helping donkeys here and abroad. The grounds are well laid out and signposted. Large gift shop with a huge range of prices. Free entry so great for families with children. The grounds get very muddy if you want to have a good look around so wear the right footwear!

Thank Nanny P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
The Donkey Sanc... S, Visitor Marketing Officer at The Donkey Sanctuary, responded to this reviewResponded 6 April 2018

Thank you for visiting the sanctuary and for your lovely comments.

We are pleased that you enjoyed your visit and appreciate the recognition of our staff, they all work very hard for the benefit of our donkeys and visitors, so your praise is gratefully received.

After the wettest March on record and being a working farm with a number of grass walkways, some of our scenic walking trails are indeed very muddy and we recommend visitors wear suitable footwear for these conditions, but the heart of the sanctuary remains accessible via concrete/tarmac pathways. We are currently looking at ways in which we can improve access around the sanctuary for all-weather conditions, without spoiling the natural charm.

Thanks again for your feedback and we hope to see you at the sanctuary in the near future.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"free entry"
in 172 reviews
"gift shop"
in 191 reviews
"lovely donkeys"
in 67 reviews
"building work"
in 58 reviews
"lovely place"
in 151 reviews
"free attraction"
in 37 reviews
"love donkeys"
in 49 reviews
"adopted donkey"
in 47 reviews
"all ages"
in 138 reviews
"hayloft restaurant"
in 33 reviews
"poitou donkeys"
in 28 reviews
"few hours"
in 90 reviews
"lovely visit"
in 32 reviews
"the barn"
in 33 reviews
"walk around"
in 38 reviews
"picnic area"
in 27 reviews
"couple of hours"
in 64 reviews
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208 - 212 of 2,724 reviews

Reviewed 4 April 2018 via mobile

Enjoyed a coffee here whilst on our visit to the donkeys. The coffee was good but we seemingly couldn't buy a salad as there was nothing of the sort listed on the menu but they did have 8 vegan options which was very impressive.

1  Thank IReviewedItToo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
The Donkey Sanc... S, Visitor Marketing Officer at The Donkey Sanctuary, responded to this reviewResponded 5 April 2018

Thank you for visiting the sanctuary and your review.

It is pleasing to hear that you enjoyed the sanctuary's own blend coffee, although I am sorry that you were left disappointed by the menu. Our restaurant menu has been carefully created with a focus on freshly-prepared, seasonal dishes using local and ethically sourced produce. We do therefore serve heartier dishes at this time of year, but we will be launching a new menu soon to reflect the season, re-introducing lighter dishes to the menu.

Thank you for taking the time to leave your comments and we hope to see you at the sanctuary in the near future.

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Reviewed 3 April 2018

Beautiful setting with added bonus of the donkeys. There is also a lovely, clean, affordable cafe on site and many toilets. Free parking an no admittance fee.A wonderful way to pass a few hours.

Thank glenperkins
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
The Donkey Sanc... S, Visitor Marketing Officer at The Donkey Sanctuary, responded to this reviewResponded 6 April 2018

Thank you for visiting and for your lovely comments - we hope to see you again at the sanctuary in the near future.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 April 2018 via mobile

Really good seeing all the donkeys. Kids all age very happy and a good introduction to the lives and needs of donkeys.
Something for everyone and their dog.

1  Thank David S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
The Donkey Sanc... S, Visitor Marketing Officer at The Donkey Sanctuary, responded to this reviewResponded 6 April 2018

Thank you for visiting the sanctuary and for taking the time to provide your feedback.

We are pleased to hear that you enjoyed your visit, meeting our friendly donkeys and learning more about them through fun, interactive displays in our new indoor attractions.

We hope to see you again soon.

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Reviewed 31 March 2018

My husband adopted a donkey called Zena a couple of years ago for my birthday and we have renewed each year as I have loved donkey's since I was a child, and this this trip definitely brought the little child out in me.
Site is well laid out and caters really well for disabled people. The donkey's are adorable, and t was lovely to have someone come to the paddock and tell you about the sanctuary and the donkeys, and to meet Zena was the highlight.
The café/restaurant was lovely, clean and good selection of food and drink, and good value. Was sorry to leave especially after seeing the babies. We will be making a return journey asap

Thank cazwill140364
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
The Donkey Sanc... S, Visitor Marketing Officer at The Donkey Sanctuary, responded to this reviewResponded 6 April 2018

Thank you for visiting and for supporting our donkeys.

We are pleased to hear that you enjoyed your visit and were able to join one of our Meet the Groom sessions where you were lucky enough to meet your adoption donkey, Zena.

We look forward to seeing you again soon.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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